If I was a new dealer opening up a new car dealership today, I would...............

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I would start by having an excellent pay plan that will get me the very best people for all departments. Everyone will have a job description on what they should do and how to do it. Train ,  train until every sales rep including the managers can tell me the steps of a sale and what to do on the process or no ups.                                        It would be a requirement for the managers to help the sales reps get an appointment a day, have positive meetings and give out small amounts of cash daily to to performers. Have bonuses to be paid to any one who increases gross in any department.                                                                                                                   Get the inventory ready to go 100%.                                                                                                               Then advertise and promote my people along with the dealership.
Not get started down the road of traditional advertising. I would make sure my all of my sales staff focussed on what brings customers in and refine my process to adapt to the way customers shop and buy.
Start with the premise it will be a "Digital Dealership" from top to bottom with a first-class facility and plenty of great product.  Shop the competition and hire staff that are digitally "sold and savvy", ambitious and persistent.  Hire a knowledgeable and aggressive Internet Marketing Manager.  Make customer service the number one priority.  I agree with John Fuhrman that "Realtors, stock brokers, insurance people all have one thing in common.  Their success will never walk through the door." 
Nancy.. This is easy.  First select a great product in an excellent market. Then become a master of the Internet and let go of any prehistoric feelings twords traditional media. Install bullet proof systems excuted by the best managers money can buy. Remember to always keep it simple. This business CAN still be fun and PROFITABLE!!
Alex
dedicate every effort to retain each and every customer I earned in the first place.

....enhance my "new" new car franchise by sending my team of crack used inventory buyers armed with vAuto on their laptops and hand helds around the country and filling my lot which is located near an interstate and an airport. I would price my inventory to market and list 100% of it on the top level of Autotrader and Ebay. I would have 50 photos taken in my studio and a 3 minute walk-around video of each vehicle. My 10 person sales team would be strapped to their computers aiding the consumer with logistic solutions so that my 750 vehicle one price inventory turns in 20 days.

If this sounds like a crazy dream to anyone, visit one of my heroes at http://www.finishlineford.net . They have been growing leaps and bounds in the last 3-4 years doing something similar.

I would...Hire the best people available, train them to Win, train them to Sell, train them to Service and pay them on a Performance Based Plan that rewards them for sustained Performance.

I would have a marketing plan with goals for 6 mos, 12 mos and 18 mos and also get involved with community events.

I would do most of the things mentioned in the comments so far but I have not seen any one say they would set their dealership apart from all the others by offering a product or a service their competition couldn't offer. If I were opening a dealership I'd want to be able to invite everyone in to see the difference between my store and my competition. Then I'd win their business by offering value my competitors couldn't offer.
Love it Fran... Acquiring strong management and giving them an outline of your expectations for them is key...I am a believer in job descriptions and also individual business plans, (game plan, plan of action...whatever you want to call it)... Thanks for your comments...You are Frantastic!

Fran Taylor said:
I would start by having an excellent pay plan that will get me the very best people for all departments. Everyone will have a job description on what they should do and how to do it. Train ,  train until every sales rep including the managers can tell me the steps of a sale and what to do on the process or no ups.                                        It would be a requirement for the managers to help the sales reps get an appointment a day, have positive meetings and give out small amounts of cash daily to to performers. Have bonuses to be paid to any one who increases gross in any department.                                                                                                                   Get the inventory ready to go 100%.                                                                                                               Then advertise and promote my people along with the dealership.
Developing a niche market is also key!  What sets you apart from the cookie cutter stores surrounding you?  Exactly?  What will drive people to your website, your store, your inventory and your people?  Thanks Bernard!  Outstanding contribution as always!

Bernard Boule said:
I would do most of the things mentioned in the comments so far but I have not seen any one say they would set their dealership apart from all the others by offering a product or a service their competition couldn't offer. If I were opening a dealership I'd want to be able to invite everyone in to see the difference between my store and my competition. Then I'd win their business by offering value my competitors couldn't offer.

I would too Thomas!  Wrap your arms around your community and engage your entire staff to do the same...Everyone has to buy in and participate...The rewards reaped would be endless!!!!!  So many dealers sit in their office and write fat check to causes and nobody is involved or even is aware this is taking place... Invite everyone to care about their community and when they benefit, pay it forward!
Thomas Ieracitano said:

I would have a marketing plan with goals for 6 mos, 12 mos and 18 mos and also get involved with community events.

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