New car marketNewsCV ShownewsUsed car analysisNewsRecruitmentdigestDealer profileNew carnews100,000 miles on the clock qualify for TG2A."The difficulty this year is finding good quality stock. We're now suffering from the downturn in new car sales since 2008."The other thing we strive for is 100% used car absorp-tion. We try and get our sales departments to generate enough income in our used cars to cover the overheads of the entire sales side of the group."We have to put in a consistent used car performance and the profit from the new car side of things is the cream on top."Continuesbut we'll only make a small amount of money on that purchase and then we won't see them again. We want people driving our products in our territory where we can look after them."Snows has seen retail customers come back to the group in the first quarter, with business slightly up year-on-year.He said: "We are seeing green shoots of recovery. Enquiries were up approximately 10% in March and that goes for the same with our unit sales too."Snows has established a wide network of loyal customers around its business and that longevity in the local area has allowed the group to build trust.Snow said: "We don't do anything particularly unique, it's doing the simple things well. "A customer wants to be able to book their car in, know how much it's going to cost and when they come in later to collect it or if we deliver it back it has to be what they were quoted in the morning."If they need extra work during the day, they want to contacted and be told what it's going to cost. "All the flowery stuff around the sides is great, but do they really want a tin of sweets in the car after they've had a disagreement in the service reception because it's cost them £40 more than they were originally told?"What does the tin of sweets mean to them then?"Used carsUsed cars are a consistent strength for Snows Group with the business selling 3,984 units last year. The used car market has been relatively consistent over the past 10 years and the group holds strict stocking policies.Stock turn is very important and its policies have got tougher in recent times. The group has a system in place which can remind managers if stock is approach-ing overage. Snow said: "We used to operate a 90 day policy in 2007. We now operate a 60 day policy.The group operates four specialist used car retail sites branded Too Good To Auction (TG2A) which offer high quality used vehicles taken in part-exchange against new retail models. The cars are supplied with attractive prices and service histories.Previously, Snows sold all its part-exchange vehicles at auction. Cars under 10 years old and with under Snows is heavily involved with charities and supporting local sporting heroes. The business has sponsored more than 13 local charities, 25 teams and groups in its history and has also sponsored 12 sportsmen and women, including Olympians, that live and have come from the local area.Stephen Snow and fellow director Neil McCue undertook a massive challenge on behalf of the group to climb Kilimanjaro, raising more than £22,000 for a local children's charity.Snow said: "It's something we've always done in the community. We'll always prefer to support charity locally rather than nationally."Local sporting heroes
Dealer profile Snows GroupThe group has been seeing good growth from fixed price service campaigns that manufacturers are getting behind. This is bringing four-year plus customers back into the business based on price.Snow said: "We don't just focus the sales team on service plans, but our aftersales receptionists are trained to offer them too."This focus has led to the company selling 94,612 service hours in 2011.Finance and insuranceFinance and insurance has always been important to the group, but Snow believes it is now more important to be even better at it. He said: "You need to be successful in that area. You might have been able to get away with it before, but now it has to be a major focus area and you need to be good at it if you're going to be successful with your sales profitability."Training, systems, daily reporting and consistency with sales process have been the key ingredients in getting to grips with F&I.RecruitmentThe group doesn't have a massive churn, with new staff members working with 16 employees who have been at the company for more than 25 years. An assessment ContinuesStephen Snow is aware how influential the internet is on the motor trade and is moving its website to a new platform with GForces.He said: "The internet is our new showroom. Our old site did a job, but we need to take it to a new level. The new website has to be our new showroom because we will get as many enquiries from that as from people walking through doors."The group will be phasing in live chat and Snows knows the internet is only ever going to become a bigger influence on the way dealers do business.The group is also looking to allow customers to book themselves in for servicing online, selecting a date and a time for servicing. Snow said: "We'll have a part-exchange valuation on the website, but it's not a completed deal until we've seen the car. We'll have a finance tool too to give them an estimate."Capturing internet's growing influencecentre for recruiting managers is key. All potential managers have to demonstrate competency with pres-entations, team management and accounts.Once appointed to the business, management is benchmarked across four sets of criteria. That process has evolved over the last several years. The business has moved its bonus structure through those phases to reflect key performance indicators for the business. Bonuses are paid for delivering success as a depart-ment, adhering to administrative procedures and maintaining a healthy database. It's not just bottom line.There's also the flexibility for managers to take teams out for a meal or bowling if they've had a good month. Creating and building team spirit is important.Snow said: "We're quite simple people really, we pay the going rate allowing productive staff the ability to earn a bonus from their good performance."We're still here as a result of those changes. If you stand still you're actually moving backwards, so we keep moving and evolving what we do."The futureSnows will stay privately owned and there's no desire to change that. Ideally, the group will look to grow further with the eight brands it already represents. "If you stand still you are actually moving backwards"