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Ways For A Car Dealership To Increase Customer Traffic

Attracting customers is one of the biggest barriers to dealership success. When a dealership is marketed using traditional customer-attraction methods, it creates a massive amount of work for the sales team. Some dealerships try to find success through endless phone calls, pushy sales tactics and unreasonable goals. This can eventually lead to employee burnout and give the dealership a bad reputation.

 

With this in mind, there are a few strategies dealerships can implement to market themselves more efficiently and attract new customers without causing undue stresses to their salespeople. It's all about marketing smarter and talking to consumers in a language they want to hear.

 

1. Talk About Your Competitive Advantages

Competitive advantage can be a sticking point in the dealership industry. Consumers just want cars, and they don't necessarily understand why one dealership is better than another. It's up to you to tout your talents so customers understand why they should buy from you. There's something that makes you better than everyone else, so make sure your sales team is prepared to talk about those advantages.

 

Ask your sales team to put themselves in your buyers' shoes:

 

  • Who is your customer? Sometimes, salespeople get so focused on unloading certain cars, they lose focus of consumers' needs. A mom with five kids isn't likely to be interested in a two-door coupe. Diverting sales strategies where they don't belong is just wasted energy.
  • What unique problems can your dealership solve that competitors can't?
  • Where does your dealership stand out from competitors? Talk to people about the products and service you offer that no other dealership provides.
  • Why should someone buy from you, versus the other dealership? The answer may not be clear to consumers; it's up to your sales team to explain it.

 

2. Strengthen Your Community Relations Strategies

Of course, you need to spend money on advertising. However, the best advertising doesn't cost you a dime. Word-of-mouth marketing is an age-old technique that can be extremely effective. It's all about connections. Who can you talk to who might ultimately endorse your brand on a bigger scale?

 

Consider attending chamber of commerce meetings, and make sure your social media strategies are on point — such that you connect with folks who will spread the word about your awesome work. Touch base with well-connected people to ensure your dealership is making a name for itself.

 

3. Forego Silly Marketing Strategies

Talking animals may work well for national brands because they have a bit more cushion behind the kitsch. For local car dealerships, the focus should be on providing value-added items that make customers want to do business with you. Make sure your marketing strategies include the following ingredients, when applicable:

 

  • Warranties. If you're willing to back your cars with a warranty, people will pay attention. Remember, this is an expensive investment for customers, and they want to do business with a dealership that will look out for them.
  • Satisfaction Guarantees. If you offer a satisfaction guarantee, tout this benefit to potential customers. It can help them feel more comfortable with their buying decisions.
  • Maintenance Packages. Do oil changes and tire rotations come free of charge when someone purchases a vehicle from your dealership? Make sure people know about any maintenance package you're offering and be sure your sales team understands how to incorporate the overall cost savings into the final price.

 

4. Accommodate Your Customers' Schedules

On paper, this seems simple, but many dealerships miss a very important step: being available when it's convenient for customers. If you're only open during bankers' hours, you're missing out on a ton of after-work and weekend traffic. This goes for your sales department, as well as your service and maintenance departments.

 

If you're running a big holiday sale, make sure you have more staff available, so your shoppers don't have to fight for your sales team's attention. Remember, people who may not be able to visit your dealership during weekdays might take advantage of a three-day holiday weekend and visit you on a Monday morning. You'll want to staff up for situations like this, too.

 

All car dealerships are not created equal. Some are pushy and over the top, while others are savvy and consumer-friendly. If you want to increase traffic to your organization, it's best to lean toward the latter. Finding ways to embrace the seller/buyer relationship will always bode well for your brand. With a few tweaks to the way you approach your marketing techniques, you could easily drive more traffic right onto your lot.

 

  
Author bio: Joni Stuker-Brown is founder and President of Owner Connect, a leading provider of strategic solutions to the automotive industry. She has three decades of experience in the industry and focuses on the highest standards in client service.