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Inside the Dealership: Honda of Cleveland

March 19, 2020

Honda of Cleveland is coming off a 20-unit weekend with hope and a plan to keep leads flowing and the service drive humming during these uncertain times. DealerSocket gets the scoop from BDC Manager Stephen Hailey.

By Gregory Arroyo

Pictured is the DealerFire-created landing page housing Honda of Cleveland’s message to its customers.

It’s March 17 and Honda of Cleveland has only had one Coronavirus-related cancelation since Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency on March 12. Fear of the virus wasn’t the reason, however.

Stephen Hailey, BDC director for Honda of Cleveland, says the customer canceled because of last week’s steep slide in the stock market. Overall, he adds, cancelations are about the same as the two first months of the year. Leads are still flowing in, online scheduling is keeping the service drive humming, and the 190-unit-per-month dealership is coming off a 20-car weekend.

“That’s pretty strong for the middle of the month,” Hailey says, noting that eight of those sales were the result of the dealership’s March Mania Event. “We walked in here on Monday to 16 leads. We also got seven calls.

“One BDC agent had three appointments, and all three showed,” he adds. “I think what we’re going to see is less showroom traffic and more internet and phone.”

Prevention Marketing

The dealership implemented several preventative measures to ease employee and customer fears and is using several channels to communicate its response to the market. There are the Facebook videos showing gloved employees wiping down entranceways and other contact points. There’s also the landing page DealerFire, the dealership’s website provider, created to house a message from the Honda outlet’s general manager.

Honda of Cleveland posted photos like this to its DealerFire website and Facebook page.

The landing page, which also lists several convenience services the dealership offers, recorded 14,000 views as of Tuesday, March 17. Hailey credits the email blast the dealership sent to a customer list of 52,000 people for much of those hits. He says the dealership will soon email another list of 13,000 Honda owners registered with the DMV.

The BDC manager is quick to credit DealerFire for its swift response. “When I called [DealerFire], they told me not to hang up — ‘Don’t go anywhere. Let me get the answer,'” he says. “It wasn’t, ‘I’ll call you back.’ It was, ‘Stay right there until we get this answered.’ And they came up with a solution.”

As for the build time, DealerFire promised a 24-hour turn but got it done in less time. “All of sudden, it was up,” Hailey says. “Whenever I contact DealerFire with something I need, it’s always extremely easy. And I never have to worry. It always gets done.”

Honda of Cleveland finished the week 11 units short of where it was last year through the middle of March, which Hailey took as a good sign heading into the weekend. “I think the biggest key to this is we have good leadership at the corporate level. They did a tremendous job of leading the general managers.”