To preload or not to preload? That is the question. Except that isn’t the only question. There are about a dozen others, including what to preload? Should we just order port-installed options? Does the dealership make any money with port-installed options? Does anyone have an Excedrin?
In a world of shrinking profit margins and more than one way to skin a cat, there’s strategy to be had. Vehicle Personalization, a multi-billion dollar industry, is an obvious solution to increasing front-end gross. But which route do you take? With pressure to hit a target number with PIO, the question of when to preload, and the art of letting the customer choose, it’s tempting to just dive in and hope for the best. Or maybe you find yourself, as a dealership, on the opposite end of the spectrum. With so many options, you might just say forget the whole thing and expend all your energy pushing metal. Truly, there is a right way to do this.
Load up the showroom | The showroom is the place for the spectacular. Order a few port-installed fully loaded dazzlers for your showroom. Draw attention to the plethora of personalization on these beauties to inspire and educate your customer on his or her options. A customer with no prior knowledge of accessories may take notice of an add-on that interests her and open the door to your accessory presentation. Sell personalization inspired by personalization, and your loaded PIO vehicle pays for itself.
Preload with neutral accessories | First preload your inventory with personalization items that don’t foster a decision. Dealers assume less risk of having an accessory thrown in, or a customer request to take something off, when preloading with items that aren’t initially striking. These neutral preloaded items are far from useless or unappealing! Instead, they are simply options that don’t jump off the car at your prospect. Think in terms of splash guards, bedliners, and shift knobs. Rare is the client who finds fault in a splash guard. Track what accessories are in high demand for your brand in general and narrow down to items specific to your top selling vehicle. Begin preloading with one or two items from there.
Present at the point of sale | Just ask. Offer personalization to every customer at the point of sale. Be the expert on the most coveted and most useful accessories for your customer’s new vehicle. Show your customer the ability to roll in a remote start with F&I. Letting the customer choose is an art form, and it takes practice to do it profitably. Decide on a process, build your personalization profit center, and ensure proper training. As work orders increase in the service drive, certified, highly skilled techs will be attracted to your dealership. In this way, personalization kills two birds with one stone:
increasing profit from fixed to variable operations, as well as attracting the talent you need for success. Then watch your dealership become a one-stop shop with repeat business and CSI scores to write home about.
Yes, there’s a formula for Vehicle Personalization and it doesn’t include headaches, lost “we owe” documents, or OE brochures.