COVID-19 Restrictions: Business Tips For Car Dealers

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COVID-19 - Business Tips For Car Dealers - Cheki Nigeria

To take care of its customers and employees, car dealers in Nigeria will need to make a few adjustments and adopt a new business approach to comply with social distancing as the Coronavirus pandemic rages on. Below are some safety and business tips for car dealers in Nigeria

Online Selling/Buying Experience

As a car dealer, we know you have a car lot, where you have all your cars parked and displayed for sale. Before now, customers could walk in and inspect vehicles they are interested in. However, with the growing compliance on social distancing, this is the best time to optimise your online selling experience.

You need to make your cars available online. When listing your cars online, you should ensure that you include high-quality images that show all the parts of the car that car buyers look out for. Your selling price also needs to be competitive for potential buyers to find them attractive. Back to images, you can’t upload a picture of a car looking like the one below and expect any serious-minded buyer to contact you.

Dirty car

You need to thoroughly clean the car and this includes the windows (inside and out), seats, the body, tyres, and all the mirrored surfaces. Wipe down the dashboard and empty the ashtrays.

Clean car picture

You also need to have all your maintenance records ready to show prospective buyers. If the car needs any kind of servicing or a routine oil change, this should be taken care of before you put the car up online for sale on a trusted car selling-buying platform like Cheki.com.ng.

Show Buyers That You Care

You need to show potential car buyers as well as existing customers (those who have bought cars from you in the past) that you care about their well-being. One way to do this is to remind them to observe safety protocols in their daily routines, especially as it relates to social distancing and the COVID-19 Pandemic

At such a sensitive time, it cannot just be business as usual for you. You need to make a few adjustments in your approach to selling cars and this has to be communicated to your potential and existing customers.

You can send an email to your database of customers and explicitly state that you are adopting a new business approach to selling cars. In this message, you must include details of the changes you are making and remember to keep your message brief and straight to the point.

Within that message, you need to include either an image or a short video educating them on how to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Below is a sample of a visual aid you can use:

Alternatively, you could design an e-card to educate your customers about the Coronavirus, personalise it and include it in the email you intend to send. Below is a sample of what the card could look like: 

5 things to stop the spread of the Corona Virus

Consider Delivery Service

Now is a great time to introduce a car delivery offering into your car selling process. Rather than wait for car buyers to struggle with the thought of leaving the safety of their home to come to your car lot to buy cars from you, you can take this responsibility off them by offering to have the vehicle delivered to them.

However, it isn’t enough to just drive a car to the home of a potential buyer. What you need to do is to add that before you deliver the car to them, you will ensure that the car is completely sanitised. Of course, this means you will need to include the sanitisation of cars into your car-selling process.

You might need to record the actual sanitisation of one of your cars and share it with your new, existing and potential customers. You could even check the car’s hygiene status before your sanitise it and check it again after the sanitisation as you will see in the video below:

If you deal with new cars, delivering cars to customers should be relatively easier. Right now, a growing numbers of car brands offer an online car-buying experience. Cars can be delivered to buyers without having them leave their homes. This was happening before the coronavirus outbreak, which is why you should consider it, especially if the isolation of individuals continues over an extended period.

Brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Hyundai, Volvo, Dacia, Peugeot, Mercedes, and Kia currently offer this service.

Tesla has announced what it calls a ‘touchless delivery’ program, where customers can access their newly delivered vehicles using the Tesla app on their smartphones. They can then sign the paperwork left in the car, and drop the documents off before they leave.

Prioritise the Safety of Your Employees

If you are a car dealer with employees, you need to protect your employees by ensuring that they observe safety protocols and one way to do this is by ensuring that they avoid social gatherings as much as possible. The importance of social distancing cannot be overemphasized. 

Consider allowing them to work from home as this is bound to foster employee engagement.

Be Prepared For Questions

This is a time when you should expect more questions from your car buyers, especially as it concerns their safety. What this means is that you must have honest and convincing responses when such questions are asked.

For instance, car buyers will ask you (car dealer) what you are doing to protect them (customers) from the virus. If they aren’t satisfied with your response, they will most likely take their business to a dealer with a more acceptable response to their questions.

We should point out clearly here that car buyers have a right to ask you questions relating to the car as well as their safety. So, be prepared. 

Tell Car Buyers What You Are Doing Differently

According to Automotive News, an employee of a Toyota dealership in Kirkland, Wash recently tested positive for the Coronavirus. The store eventually closed for deep cleaning and disinfecting.

In case you didn’t know, a rising number of car dealers all over the world are reaching out directly to customers by sending them emails. These emails describe the steps they are taking to keep their car lots and facilities clean to protect both customers and employees.

According to a Toyota spokesperson, “according to a Toyota spokesperson. “Our 1,500 Toyota and Lexus dealerships across the U.S. are taking extra steps to ensure the safety and security of our customers and their employees.” You can replicate this as a Nigerian car dealer.

No Handshakes on Deals

As a car dealer, it is customary to shake hands shortly after a price negotiation; especially when you have reached a deal. For now, you will have to kill this tradition. If the car buyer stretches out a hand to you for a handshake, you can decline it politely whilst making small jokes about COVID-19.

Have You Own Pen

As a car dealer, you are most likely going to have to append your signature on a sales document upon selling a car. You don’t want to find yourself in an awkward situation where you will need to use the same pen the buyer used. This is why you need to have your own pen at all times in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.

These are some of the tips we have for you as a car dealer looking to adopt a different business approach in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. We will leave you with two questions that you might get from one or more car buyers…

Can the Coronavirus Survive on Car Parts/Cars Imported from China and Other Countries?

According to the Centre for Disease Control, “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely shallow risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”

What this means is that imported cars and car parts need weeks or even months to get to Nigeria, and the virus will most likely not survive the long trip. As such, there should be no fear of getting the coronavirus from cars or car parts imported from impacted countries.

Is It Safe to Buy a Car During This Coronavirus Pandemic?

This is a valid question that potential car buyers can ask you. If asked, you should inform the buyer that experts recommend that they don’t let the fear of getting infected keep them away from buying a car, especially when they can afford it.

States and authorities around the world have called for social distancing to reduce person-to-person interaction in order to flatten the curve of coronavirus spread. With this in mind, health administrators strongly discourage public transit. As a result, many non-car owners who still go to work might need to buy cars.

Additional Precautions to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

As a car dealer, you need to be proactive in taking action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Nigeria. Some of these precautions include:

  • Sanitize all vehicles inside-and-out
  • Sanitize and wipe common touched spaces like car doors, office doors, showroom doors, steering wheels, etc
  • Add additional hand sanitizers in multiple office areas
  • Add instruction materials to encourage hand washing and keeping hands away from the face
  • Limit person-to-person contact by expanding online services
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch, Pulse.ng, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.