Mark Hadfield, Cadillac Dealer Council member and President of Elco Chevrolet Cadillac just outside St. Louis, keeps track of how competitors are doing. "Look, I don't want to bash the competition," Mark says, "but the competition can get lazy," and Mark works with GMF to do everything he can to stay one step ahead of them.
Automotive retail is a constant battle for a finite number of customers, and Mark knows that anyone who walks into his showroom is a potential GM customer for life. Ever since his dealership floorplanned with GMF in 2015, he’s been able to get a leg up on local competition thanks to strong financing support and increased retention opportunities to not let GM drivers slip through the cracks: “Everyone’s chasing your customer, so if you let them loose, you’re rolling the dice.”
- Evidence-Based Customer Retention
“Our goal is not to sell one car to one customer,” Mark says. “Our goal is to sell cars to people for a lifetime.” Mark has set up his dealership to be a customer retention powerhouse, utilizing every part of his business to keep drivers within the GM family.
But Mark didn’t turn Elco Chevrolet Cadillac into the dealership it is overnight — or alone. Mark and his staff consulted the data to nail down the best path forward for strong, steady growth, and GMF became an integral part of the team. “The data shows that if you finance with a captive, that customer is more predisposed to come back and do business with the dealership.”
- Creating an Automotive Retail 'Domino Effect’
Mark and his staff take a unique look at their dealership, managing what he calls his “four franchises: Cadillac, Chevrolet, used cars and Cadillac CPO.” By creating distinctions between brands and their potential customers, Mark can create specific business plans and explore training opportunities that will best suit the direction of the dealership.
But the real key to Mark’s success is how he weaves together each of his “four franchises” to create a frictionless cycle of consistent growth and customer retention. When Mark sells Cadillac CPO vehicles, he often sees a cascading “domino effect” that feeds into multiple areas of his business, which generates new service customers, gets him high-quality trade-in inventory options and boosts his profitability by financing with Cadillac Financial.
- The Captive Advantage
To Mark, the financing side of his business is quite simple: “If you’re not with GMF, you’re doing business with a competitor.” When Elco Chevrolet Cadillac made the floorplan switch to GMF in 2015, Mark knew that he needed support from a captive that’s “in it for the long haul” just like he is.
And what exactly does “the long haul” look like? Put simply, Mark says that he and his staff can rely on GMF to help grow their business and create a better customer experience while they continue to strengthen ties with their St. Louis community and sell the most cars possible: “I know that we are more profitable because we do business with GMF.”