How to double sales when times are tough

Despite a tough 4 years, one Mazda dealer has managed to double sales and turnover

The last four years have been tough for the motor trade – but one Mazda dealer has managed to double sales and turnover in that time and says that profits are “well on the way to doubling” too.

That dealer is Floyd Timms, a former National Sales Manager for Mazda, who now owns Lodge Garage in Buckinghamshire.

Was it a case of liking the business so much he bought into the franchise? “Something like that,” says Timms who bought the 30-year-old dealership in Kingswood, between Aylesbury and Bicester, in 2009.

“Being a car dealer is something I was always minded to do and working with Mazda for 13 years gave me the background knowledge and opportunity. It had to be the right fit, I was looking for an owner driver type of business that required some attention, and, very important, had potential.”

Despite a very rural location Floyd has pulled the business up and it is now regularly among Mazda’s top performing dealerships. He added: “We are now approaching our fourth year and we have seen sales and turnover double and our profits are well on the way to doubling as well.”

There have been challenges particularly in my early days in ownership while we were waiting for new product to come through. That is now happening and particularly with the arrival of the new CX‑5 last year and Mazda6 this year we are in a good position to push on.”

Having seen the dealer business from both sides of the fence, Timms said he has a high level of understanding as to “how the whole machine ticks”. He continued: “I suppose I have an inside track to a degree on how things work from the manufacturing end. Things such as the ordering process, where the cars have to come from and when they land in the UK.”

“That said, I don’t think this has given me a huge advantage over other dealers but it has allowed me to educate the rest of the team in how things work.”

Being “in the middle of nowhere” as he puts it, how has Lodge Garage been able to double its sales and attract new customers? Floyd said: The internet plays a big part and we have a very strong presence on the web. This has been particularly important in terms of used car sales and we attract customers from Land’s End to John O’Groats.”

“We also have strong affiliations with local sports clubs and that helps get the garage and Mazda’s name out there. Support from Mazda in terms of TV and national advertising also helps drive footfall.”

While support from Mazda UK has generally been first class, Timms believes that the increasing level of technology on cars is going to make training for dealership staff even more important.

“Customers are aware of SKYACTIV technology but it is still up to our sales people to get the message across and that’s where Mazda’s Academy training can play an increasing role. There is already a robust level of training but one area to look at for the future would be to instruct sales people better in demonstrating and articulating better the ever increasing technologies on the cars.”