Dealer News Today is committed to curating the most helpful content to support dealers in troubleshooting and planning for what is next, even if what’s next isn’t clear to anyone right now.

I’m John Hoyos, Editor-In-Chief of Dealer News Today. I normally don’t contribute content, but the current situation is so unprecedented, I can’t imagine adding our normal planned content this week. We have videos from NADA ready to go, articles reacting to other industry business, and a host of other content that needs to be put on hold for the time being. Saying nothing really doesn’t seem appropriate either, so we’ll post a reduced schedule of content now and add to it when we get a better sense of the breadth and depth of this, specifically as it relates to the dealership industry. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on how this strange situation can be played to your advantage.

I sincerely hope that you and everyone you consider family are safe and healthy. 

By John Hoyos

The timing of this really stinks.

Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to in the past week to ten days has talked about how terrible the timing is of this pandemic hitting the US. There are few businesses and industries immune to the traditional downswing of February and the post-holiday blues. The reward for surviving this each year is the coming of spring, a return to better weather, and a promise of increased sales as the year progresses. Now that has come to a screeching halt.

For the people that need to be busy – those that thrive on the day-to-day chaos of the normal world – this is downright torture. But I’ll tell you what you can do. Prepare. Prepare well because once the floodgates re-open, it’s going to be like hoarders buying hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

I think about my own situation and know that when we actually get some normalcy back, the first thing I’m doing is going out in public to spend money. I have no idea how much or on what, but I’m not sitting inside anymore. I don’t care if it’s a monsoon outside. I’m going for a drive.

Now multiply that feeling by 150 million people.

Smart businesspeople do not panic in adverse times. They figure out how they can use the new status quo to their advantage. What can you do in your dealership when the customers aren’t around? Capital improvements? Hard to invest when there’s no money coming in, but interest rates just moved as close to absolute zero as possible. If you’re going to do it in the next few years, this might be the best opportunity from a minimizing business disruption standpoint.

It’s also an opportunity to continue building your local community reputation and relationships. Many of your regular local employees are unable to earn their normal paycheck. Finances at home are going to get tight if they aren’t already. Perhaps some of them can project manage for the work done in their departments. You’ll need to hire all different trades people, extending your reach further into the local community of workers. Those few extra people you employ now will return exponential goodwill later.

Maybe capital improvements aren’t in the cards right now. There are always ways to help businesses improve. Have your department heads use this time to make their areas more efficient and profitable.

What Goes Down Must Come Up
This is a situation that clearly will get worse before it gets better. At the end of it, this will be the worst economic retail situation anyone alive has ever seen. There is hope though. For as bad as this gets, what a rebound it will be. The desire for everyone to get back to normal will be swift.

Yes, the timing stinks now. Create ways for this disruption to smell that much sweeter in the end. Be patient. Be watchful. Be ready for the tide of resurgence that will surely come.

It’s time to prepare.