Dealers urged to think outside the showroom box…..

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Dealer bosses have been urged to ensure they do not restrict their business activities to the showroom if they are to win and retain customers.

This was among the recommendations of a panel of industry professionals, including Joe Doyle, CEO of HR Owen and Charles Peugeot, sales director of Citroën UK, at this week’s SMMT International Automotive Summit.

Doyle, who took over as the HR Owen boss earlier this year, stressed, the opinions of potential customers are increasingly being formed by third parties.

He said it is crucial for dealers to get out of their showrooms to reach customers; not just by taking product to where their customer-base works and relaxes but by putting in place structured online engagement and monitoring system and using cloud-based CRM tools to consolidate customer databases.

Speakers also highlighted the importance of having a structured social media strategy in place.

The panel acknowledged that with consumers, of all demographics, researching product online before visiting a dealership to make a purchase, it is increasingly difficult for dealers to differentiate themselves from their competitors.