Marketing Ideas to Help Auto Dealers Improve Sales

Although the economy is bouncing back from the recession that put auto dealerships in serious trouble over the last several years, it seems buyers are reluctant to spend money on a new vehicle. Many are driving older cars they repair rather than replace. Showrooms display wonderful new automobiles with amazing features of convenience and luxury, but getting buyers in to see them is a challenge. Here are a few ideas for marketing those great cars that will bring people in and get them signing on the dotted line.

Mailing Coupons for Services
Tried and true, this tactic still works. The dealership sends out coupons for a free oil change, lube, and safety check. Free is free, so customers take advantage and make an appointment. While their car is serviced, a salesperson chats with them, offering a cup of coffee and a Danish, and tells them about all the deals and great cars available. Even if the customer isn’t interested at the time of the appointment, it gets him or her thinking about a new vehicle. The customer may come back in the near future.

Word-of-Mouth Brings People In
If you give customers a good deal, chances are they will immediately tell their friends, co-workers, and families. This is where “loss leaders” come in. A loss leader is a product or service a company is willing to take a loss on in order to draw in new customers. In this case, if your dealership was willing to take a slight loss on a vehicle for one customer, that customer will tell everyone what a great deal he got. Those people may come to your showroom to see what kind of great deals they can get as well. It may seem counterproductive to take a loss, but more than likely, you will make up that loss in add-on sales for the car.

Internet Specials
Most people begin their search for a new car online, especially if they don’t already know what they want. For those people, your dealership should offer a “special Internet” deal that’s only available to these people. Designate a car for this special deal and take it out of general inventory for X-number of days. During that time, only people who shop online can buy it at a significant discount. Once the designated number of days is up, the car returns to regular inventory and becomes available to everyone. You’ll be surprised at the number of inquiries you have for this special promotion.

Special Sales Events and Red Tag Specials
These sales promotions are often a ploy to create a sense of urgency in customers. If they feel they may miss out, customers often come flocking in. This tactic could backfire, since often times, there really isn’t a special sales event at all, or the red tag special has already been sold. This type of marketing leaves customers with a bad taste in their mouths.

Instead of “tricking” buyers into thinking there’s a reason to hurry down to your showroom, actually host these events and make a big deal about it. You may end up selling cars at a small loss, but the number of sales will make it all worth while.


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