No wonder, then, that most automobile brands aren’t ready to abandon traditional media channels like television and radio. “It’s way too early to do that,” Haynes says. “I think what we’ll see is more of a convergence” of traditional and digital strategies as tried-and-true channels like television and radio “get smarter” and start supporting social media platforms like Facebook.
Shoppers become wary of listings that don’t include prices and photos. The message, “Contact dealer for pricing information,” is not a good marketing strategy. Not listing the price won’t give you a shot at an appointment any more, it will just get you dropped from consideration.
While Tesla is starting with expensive vehicles, they clearly have mainstream ambitions. They are investing to build a big car company. How hard is it to build and sell cars in the USA? Look at it this way: Tesla is the second oldest publicly traded auto company in the United States behind Ford. GM went bankrupt and went public four months after Tesla. Chrysler remains private following its own reorganization.
Be familiar with competitor’s products. Study the cars other dealerships are selling, and learn why it would be more beneficial for your customer to buy from your dealership. Know every model and option your company offers as well as those of your competitors.
Find out the particulars. After you’ve figured out what type of car your customers are looking for, narrow down the search by asking them specifics about their budget, the space they require, any special features they may want.
6. Commissions will vary from one department to the next. Internet salespeople, for example, may not be paid commission at all: they may just earn a flat fee for each delivery. Used car salespeople might earn 35% commission, but be barred from selling new.
A good car salesman can “sell bubble gum at a lockjaw ward in Bellevue” (yes, we quoted that from Boiler Room). So how do you make sure you’re not the one buying the bubble gum? We did some investigating to see if we could learn some of the tricks of the trade that are used to get you to sign on the dotted line when you go looking to buy a car.
Eric Miltsch is a successful automotive marketing strategist. He’s a Co-founder of DealerTeamWork, a digital marketing software solution provider. He’s also a partner in a new independent dealership group with four locations, Auto Outlets USA. Eric’s contributions to Auction Direct USA helped create the #1 independent used car retailer in the U.S. three years running. His love of cars, marketing and technology is the perfect recipe to stay ahead of the curve and continue helping the automotive community improve.
If there is only a single person, try and get to know as much as you can about them. Get them talking for once on a roll, a customer will lay out everything for you that you need to close a deal with them.
It’s not really “innovative” but we use Craigslist. Probably 80-90% of our sales. We use CL AutoPilot, it doesn’t cost a dime and we have about 25 vehicle ads going at once that pretty much stick because of how it works.
I highly recommend sitting down with your entire sales team and having each person come up with objections they might anticipate. Give them your sales pitch and see if there are any objections you and your team may have missed.
Attach a deadline to the deal to help give the client an incentive to commit. Whether it’s a discount or something free, make them feel like they have the upper hand. This does not mean rush the customer; it simply means try to give them a little extra reason why your product or service is the right choice, and the right choice right now.
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Each step of the customer buying process, like watching automotive videos or searching for images are vital “micro-moments” that marketers should take advantage of every step of the way. These moments push a customer to eventually choose a particular vehicle and then visit a dealership to check it out in person – the ultimate goal of the automotive marketer. Imagine what Joe Girard, America’s greatest car salesmen, could have done with this data!
To drive better results, dealers should instead target specific zip codes. Marketers can access public data broken down by zip code that offers insights like average income, age, and sales history about the consumers residing in that specific area.
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Fact: Email is a great way of automobile marketing but engaging requires far more than a one-way message. What is your open rate? What is your click through rate, bounce rate? Sending the same message over and over to the same audience is not engaging. When you segment your list, request interaction and survey your list you will be far better equipped to convert that list into buyers. With today’s technology and the fact that 77% of consumers prefer permission based communication a more effective plan executes, tests, refines and re-executes.
In today’s world, a dealership’s website is its strongest digital tool. Web leads should be arriving at your website in several ways (more on this topic below) and be driven through a well-oiled conversion funnel.
Marketing is of the utmost importance to a car dealership. If a dealership is able to market themselves adequately, they will have a plethora of people in their showroom at any given time. However, if a dealership fails to utilize all of their marketing avenues appropriately, they will find themselves with meager sales. Car dealership marketing ideas need to be creative and robust at all times.
I have sold cars for a long time and it seems that things are getting harder by the day. Customers that you do get in front of you. They are smarter, most have already done their homework and no one lately wants to pay for anything. My past customers are wore out from my calls. Just want to know how can I get more customers and in myy face.
I once sold a car to a man in his early 20s. He came in with a buddy of his and wanted to test drive an older Mustang we had, a Mustang that had been on our lot for quite some time. But he didn’t buy that day. He came back a few days later with the same friend, but I was busy with another customer at the time, so a friend of mine who is my “floor partner” helped him.
You will often see advertised positions for car salesmen, which would seem to indicate that the auto business is booming. This is not necessarily the case. Car dealerships hire many salesmen because they often pay solely on commission. Sell cars, and you make money. Fail to reach a minimum sales quota, and you make nothing. In the latter case, you will also likely be fired.
Trust will play a larger role this year. Dealers are tired of being told they simply need more education. Dealers want to trust the platforms they’re using will deliver the results they’re seeking. And if they can’t, vendors have to be transparent enough to own this fact. Yes, it’s a difficult thing to do, but it’s also the right thing to do for the dealer.
Now that’s starting to become part of other job descriptions too. Many companies are investing in teaching their employees new digital skills. One South American auto products company, for example, has created a custom-education institute that trained 20,000 employees and partner-employees in 2016. In addition to training current staff, many leading digital companies are also hiring new employees and creating new roles, such as a chief robotics officer, to support their digital transformation efforts.
3. The cost of distributing and marketing automobiles will be cut significantly. New formats and channels will discipline the current system to drive out non-value-adding cost. Dealer consolidations may unlock substantial economies of scale in back-office functions and purchasing leverage. Much larger savings are possible, however, by driving out inventory; reducing investment in brick-and-mortar and real estate investments, and optimizing the delivery of services.
That question gets at the crux of the whole matter. If it’s based on brand, then the hurdle of the dealership doesn’t matter. If it’s a type of car (say, you’re looking for a gas-saving sedan), then the dealership poses a larger problem.
Unbundle used-car sales. A large-scale operation designed specifically for used cars can achieve efficiencies relative to the conventional dealer’s used-car format. These include economies of scale in areas such as advertising, management, personnel, facilities and systems. In addition, there is the obvious savings of a lower-cost location. Joint ownership and operation by dealers and manufacturers can make an unbundled used-car operation plausible for existing franchised dealers.
If you’re perceptive and have decent instincts, don’t be afraid to skip the qualification process. In our case, we parked a relatively expensive vehicle in front of a row of 135is, so any salesperson could safely assume we had the means and the interest. (In fact, the car you drive onto a lot probably says more about your means than any of the answers you provide to qualifying questions.)
No.8: Use text and short message service (SMS) marketing carefully. New Federal Trade Commission rules require companies to have explicit opt-in customer permission before texting them for marketing purposes.
Social media marketing clearly offers huge benefits to the automotive industry – brand visibility, more leads, and ultimately, more sales. But you must be 100% committed to maintaining a social media strategy. Once you start building up a fan base of social followers, you must continually engage and interact. If you go several days without posting or responding to comments, you will quickly lose your social credibility. When it comes to your digital presence, you only have a small window of opportunity to engage with online car buyers. If you don’t, you can be sure your competition will do so.
You should also be able to identify with customers’ desires, interests, lifestyles, and financial status. This will enable you to know exactly the kind of cars they would love and be able to effectively sell it to them.