Today Carsnip spoke with Umesh Samini, owner of Specialist Cars Stoke – and co-founder of one of our partners the IMDA – about the impact that Covid-19 has had on his business; what actions he has taken to protect his business, and what his advice would be for dealerships.
Umesh spoke with Carsnip’s Dealer Representative, Paul Cannon, at great length around his advice on the actions he has taken to protect his business.
I like to kick things off by asking how people are, and it sounds like Umesh is fit and well. He has things under control as much as possible, and the key thing that stood out was his mindset of staying positive. We will make it out the other side of this thing, and like Jim Reid said a couple of weeks ago we must not focus too much on the negatives.
When we spoke about furloughing and the offerings from the government, Umesh said that he has furloughed all of his staff; and found the process “easy enough to use as long as you have all the correct figures”. He took the decision to furlough his staff as a big step towards protecting cash flow for his business.
Umesh and I spoke about tips to protect business’ moving forward, and said “I am still trying to sell cars and have sold 4 so far”. All of these sales are through the website and will be collected after lockdown has ended. First and foremost the safety of his customers and staff is paramount, but it’s also great to have a pipeline when the doors open.
We spoke about Umesh’s thoughts around digital marketing vs cash flow; and on this point Umesh said “(I) personally I have pretty much continued with most of my marketing and advertising” as he doesn’t feel that to start slashing this area of the business is the right thing to do – it is crucial to remain visible to his customers (now more than ever) and the only way to do this at the moment is through digital channels.
“If you cut the advertising all the stock is in visible, you just disappear, and nobody knows you are there”
Further on the topic of advice for dealerships to protect their business’, Umesh said that the importance of marketing can’t be underestimated – but the message needs to be different. It shouldn’t be a ‘sell sell sell’ message, but instead one that shouts about the business and shows off what you have. Market now to keep your brand and your name in front of people, so when we a greater level of autonomy returns to our lives you and your business will be at the forefront of your customers minds.
We touched on the IMDA and what they have done for their members; and the body is doing some great things for their members by pulling together all the information that they can, and advising their members which links and information they need. They are also looking at what the ‘new normal’ might look like, and supporting dealers to get ready for their grand re-openings.
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Carsnip is the UK’s largest used car search engine, with over 500,000 dealer sold used cars across the UK. We operate a natural language search engine, to help you find your perfect used car, and narrow down the choice by what’s most important to you.