How Dealerships Can Sell More Cars and Get More Customers in Their Stores
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How Dealerships Can Sell More Cars and Get More Customers in Their Stores

Here’s an overview of strategies and tools that can be employed in order to get more traffic and sales.

Analytics

Sales-based analytics offers a data-driven perspective that can give your dealership several advantages. Learning more about this technology could make your dealership more profitable by increasing sales and helping you invest money wisely.

Sales-based analytics makes it easier for dealerships to determine whether their marketing worked or they just happened to have a few good weeks.

With sales-based analytics, dealerships can make informed predictions about which vehicles they need to keep in stock. If there has been an increase in convertible sales during the last two summers, then you can make a good guess that those sales will increase this summer, too.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics lets marketers evaluate their campaigns so they know which ones are effective. If a certain keyword phrase brought 100,000 hits to the website, then it’s worth investing in rather than the keyword phrase that only brought in 10,000 hits.

It’s also fairly easy to track conversions (the number of people who actually purchase products after visiting a website). When you compare your site’s activity with purchases made in the showroom, you can see trends pretty quickly.

Without analytics, you’re just guessing about what people want to buy. When you have the data, you’re reasonably certain that you have the vehicles customers want.

Sales People and Analytics

Most dealership managers are savvy enough to know that there are certain times of the week or year when it’s best for people to buy cars. It isn’t a big secret that people who shop for cars during the workweek are likely to get better deals because the sales reps don’t have as many customers as during the weekend.

What’s not often obvious is which salespersons are suitable for specific times. Joe might make great sales during the evening, but his numbers are pitiful when he works mornings. Angela might sell a ton of cars during the week, but it’s nearly impossible for her to make a deal on a Monday.

Sales-based analytics makes it easier to see when you schedule employees to get the most out of their unique talents. More and more dealerships are realizing the benefits of sales-based analytics. If you aren’t using this technology, then there’s a good chance you’re already falling behind.

Standing Out

Car buyers have many dealerships to choose from, which is why it’s important to make yours stand out.

Marketing and advertising aren’t the only tools for bringing in new customers and retaining current customers. Offering incentives, whether they are for purchasing a new vehicle or for returning for maintenance, is a solid way to show customer appreciation and build loyalty.

Encourage Test Drives

Get people to come into your dealership and look at vehicles by giving away something small for every test drive. A free movie ticket or a cup of designer coffee will draw people into your dealership.

You don’t want it to be too expensive because you will pull in some people who are there just for the freebie. However, you’ll also get people who are genuinely interested in the cars you’re selling. Run this special offer for a set period to entice people to act now.

Offer Referral Perks

Word of mouth is still a powerful marketing tool, so encourage your current customers to recommend your business by offering them perks for referrals. Offer a free tank of gas or money off their next service appointment for each new customer they refer.

When you get a referral, make sure you thank the customer who referred the new business, too.

Sending a note or a card in the mail is a wonderful way to let customers know you appreciate them. If a customer consistently sends you referrals, consider sending that customer a gift certificate to a popular restaurant or some free movie tickets.

Add Extras to Purchases

Offer fun extras with car purchases. One week, do new floor mats for anyone who buys a used car. The next week, say the first oil change on a new vehicle is on the house.

These incentives might seem small compared to such a large overall purchase, but sometimes, they can be enough to push people from “maybe” to “yes” on a car. Extras can be a good way to target a certain market of car buyer, too.

Offering mud flaps might bring in people who love to off-road, for example.

Create a Loyalty Program

Almost every business nowadays offers some sort of loyalty program, and for good reason: they work. When customers know they’ll build up points or earn rewards for returning to the same place, they do. Once you’ve sold a car to someone, give them an incentive to return to your shop for maintenance.

Offer a points system for work done, and once they hit a certain threshold reward your customers.

Alternatively, if they come in for five oil changes, the sixth is free. People love to save money, so let customers know that if they keep returning, they will. People can be fiercely loyal to businesses when they’ve had a good experience.

Make sure your incentives target both new and existing customers to continue to build your business and your reputation as a quality Dallas car dealership.

Don’t Neglect Your Website

Auto dealerships often focus on the flashiest forms of advertising, including everything from shouting spokespeople in television advertisements to big blow-up items on their lots. But what many fail to do is make their website an enticement to buyers.

Not every potential customer will see your ad or drive by your dealership. However, most will research your inventory online before bothering to come in, so make sure you update it with your latest offers and incentives.

Be Social

Year-end car sales, month-long promotions, and car shows can double and even triple the number of tweets focused on specific car makes and models. Dealers can hop in on these conversations with a few hashtags.

Showcasing your dealership’s event, tweeting great pictures of the models on the lot, and interacting with people excited about the sale are great starting points.

Tweets Indicate Intent to Buy

You can search for hashtags or specific terms on Twitter. When you use geolocation, these searches can target specific people in your area looking to buy a car. This is a great way to reach out to people who are in the market.

Young buyers may not be willing to head to your contact page to fill out an e-mail form, but they just might tweet at you. Your dealership’s blog is for posting great content; use your Twitter to interact with people about their cars and car questions.

Auto News reported that people who tweet about car buying are very likely to actually make a vehicle purchase within three days. So, you can actually use Twitter to find potential customers, and to send them messages that will get them interested in your dealership.

If tweets mention specific features, ask questions about those features or about the cars they’re considering. If they aren’t specific, tweet them back and ask what they’re looking for. Don’t make it sound like a sales pitch, though.

Instead, asking questions and giving honest information is the better way to connect with these potential customers.

Find out what people in your area are saying about the makes you sell, and don’t be afraid to interact with what they’re saying. If someone is having car trouble, point them to a resource on your blog (rather than suggesting a service appointment).

You’re trying to create relationships that are more than just transactions. When using Twitter for marketing, remember not to make your interactions sound like sales pitches.

Twitter is a place for conversation, not for doggedly pushing the new models on your lot.

Don’t let this valuable way to connect with your customers and market your dealership bypass your notice.

Reviews

In any business, success relies heavily on customer satisfaction, and expanding your business can come largely from how customers express that satisfaction.

Customer reviews can have a significant impact on how others view your business and whether or not they’re drawn to you or pushed away. Your customer perception of your employees also carries a significant weight on the perception of your business.

Paying careful attention to employee reviews may just be what drives your Dallas dealership to the top. Here’s why.

Drawing Customers

For starters, employee reviews will impact how likely potential customers are to consider visiting your dealership. Seventy percent of car buyers admit that online dealership reviews impact where they choose to purchase a vehicle.

It’s intimidating enough to buy a car. Customers have plenty of things to worry about other than having to deal with a bad salesperson. Good employee reviews can alleviate that stress and help customers feel more comfortable.

At the end of a customer’s visit to your dealership, consider asking them to complete an employee review online. Doing so will give potential customers the opportunity to see other customers’ experience and give them an idea of what they’re in for at your dealership. Now that we’ve considered how employee reviews can boost your potential for customers, let’s consider how you can go about getting this process going.

Dealer Rater

Dealerrater.com is a great resource for any dealership looking to provide customers with a simple and convenient place to leave reviews. The website allows customers to leave reviews for specific dealerships and their employees all across the nation.

In a world revolving around the internet, it’s vital to have your name out there on the web, and these reviews will make your name a good, reliable name. Consider inviting customers to visit Dealer Rater and leave a review of their experience at your dealership.

Application

These reviews will mean little if you and your employees do little else than invite your customers to leave one. Make sure that both you and your employees are aware of their reviews and look for new ones regularly.

Reviews can act as a measurement by which employees can view and measure their improvement, skills, and skills they may need to further develop. Customers are looking for honest, personable salesmen that they can trust.

Consider having your employees invite potential customers to look up their specific name either in Google or in an online review. This will cause potential customers to see the transparency and honesty of your employees and motivate them to trust and rely on their salesman.

When making as big a decision as buying a car, customers want to feel that they can not only rely on whoever may be working with them, but they want to feel connected to them as well. They want to work with someone who is personable and relatable. Customers who viewed online reviews could already start to feel some amount of connection to your employees before they even come to the dealership.

…And Mistakes

Car buyers have many options and much to think about, and you want to make sure yours is the dealership they choose.

The right marketing will bring more customers your way, but the wrong marketing will leave some great models sitting unsold in your lot. Don’t make these four mistakes.

Having No Strategy

You have a certain budget for marketing, and the best way to waste it is to spend it on random ads and content schemes without a clear strategy in mind. Consider whether you’ll be doing the marketing yourself or hiring a company. Think about the sales goals you’re trying to achieve and make sure you communicate well with everyone working on the marketing. It doesn’t have to be a large operation. Even if you’re a small dealership, the right plan will give your marketing purpose and drive results.

Lacking a Target Audience

Your marketing depends on your audience. Don’t make the mistake of marketing with such broad brush strokes that you don’t take into account your customers’ lifestyles and desires. Got a great new SUV on the lot? Think about who buys your SUVs, and find creative ways to highlight that SUV’s features that will appeal to them. Narrow your net a little so you grab more attention from the people most likely to buy.

Failing to See the Customer Point of View

You have many points you want to hammer home about your dealership, and you want your product lineup to be front-and-center on your website and blog. But customers aren’t only visiting you to find out how much it is to lease their next car. They have questions and concerns, and part of how they trust you is your way of answering those questions and concerns. Do you have some feedback forum in which they can reach out and receive an answer? Customers don’t have the industry knowledge you do, and buying a car can be an overwhelming process. Being there when they have a question is a great way to gain trust and keep someone coming back.

Releasing Uninformative Content

Your content has a lot to do with whether your customers are finding what they’re looking for when they visit your website and social media. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t advertise your sales and the newest models on your lot. But intersperse that advertising with content marketing. Make sure your blog, newsletter, and Facebook are all updated regularly with content the customer will find valuable. Give tips about DIY car maintenance, make lists of common car concerns and when cars need maintenance, or create videos answering common customer questions. You might even want to make a video or an infographic about how to do simple maintenance tasks like changing windshield wiper blades. Reach your target audience with the right marketing to make them confident that their questions will be answered. A small marketing budget used the right way is better than a big one focusing on the wrong stuff.

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