Car Sales Strategies
Car dealerships rely heavily on effective sales. Most dealers rely mainly on traditional, in-person sales strategies to walk individuals through the purchasing journey, including generating leads, nurturing leads into customers, and following up after-sales for customer retention.
When it comes to interacting with clients, it can be hard for sales associates to figure out the best way to interact with customers. We’ve all heard of the phrase “the customer is always right”. And naturally, as a sales associate, one of your top priorities is to spark interest in as many customers and sell as many cars as possible.
Therefore, finding the right balance between giving an effective sales pitch and providing real value to the customers can be challenging. While it’s important to successfully deliver a sales pitch that attracts customers to go down the sales funnel, – from the interest to the action stage – it’s also important to make the experience more personalized and intimate. People respond really well when they feel comfortable with your dealership and like they’re talking to a friend rather than simply a business transaction.
As we mentioned, the traditional car dealership business model relies heavily on in-person sales strategies. Car dealerships are mostly analog businesses that push customers down the customer journey with floor walkthroughs and test drives. Customers really need to physically see and experience different cars to determine which one is the best for them. It also helps them decide on factors like after-sales services, cosmetic services, package upgrades, and more.
While that continues to stay an important part of a car dealership’s sales strategy, businesses are becoming more innovative with their sales strategies – particularly how they attract customers and guide them through the sales funnel. The key to success with a car dealership is choosing the right methods to integrate digitalization with the traditional business model. It’s almost impossible to move the entire sales process online, so how can car dealers create a seamless and streamlined customer experience that helps visitors in exactly the way they want?
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the car sales strategies you can implement into your dealership, why online marketing has become more important, and how you can attract certain types of buyers – like millennials.
How to Promote Your Car Dealership Business to Increase Sales?
Promoting the business is a top concern for any company. It’s one of the fundamental ways you generate more leads that can convert into purchasing customers. You can promote your business on search engines, billboards, radio ads, websites, and tv. Word-of-mouth marketing and positive customer reviews are also great promotions strategies. Although not something you can directly control and monitor, word-of-mouth and testimonials are great for helping your dealership build reputation, awareness, and interest.
Below, we dive deeper into some specific car sales strategies that your dealership can use to sell more cars and generate more revenue. Here are a few car sales strategies you can implement into your business.
- Be at the top of search engine rankings
Although most customers want to visit the dealership and see the car before making a purchase, most people start their purchasing journey with an online search. They might research different car brands and models, read articles from car experts, look at financing options, and compare prices. During this process, they’ll also be looking at the different car dealerships they can contact and schedule an appointment with. You want to make sure your dealership is the first one they see because they rarely scroll all the way to the bottom, let alone to the next page.
There are many ways you can boost your search engine rankings and become more discoverable, especially on Google. Your Google Ads strategy plays a huge role in ensuring you’re at the top of listings, so if you don’t already have an account, go make one right away. Google Ads allows you to publish online ads for your business and product listings. You can determine which target audiences see these ads, ensuring the right people see your listings. It’s important to set the right keywords for each ad group (around 15-20 keywords per group), include negative keywords for Google to avoid, and use ad extensions.
- Adjust your ad campaign budgets
Whether you’re running ad campaigns on Google, websites, or in your social media channels, it’s important to manage your budget. You want your precious investment to be spent wisely and focus on quality over quantity. Look at trends in the car industry as well as your sales data. What times of the year do you sell the most cars? Which days of the week are users booking a car appointment or visiting a dealership? Figure out where the slow, steady, and busy periods are and plan your ad campaign budget accordingly.
- Schedule your ads
In addition to managing your campaign budget, you want to set your ad schedules. This means when users see your ads. Look at your sale and visitor data again and to determine the best times for listing your ads. Weekends are usually the busiest for car dealers because customers have time to shop around different stores. Posting your online ads at the right time at the right places helps boost their visibility, which helps you drive sales to your dealership. It also helps you use your ad dollars effectively so you get the most out of the money you spend.
- Consistently update the negative keywords list
It’s important you also have a list of negative keywords. Negative keywords work differently than keywords because you want to avoid showing up in searches with negative keywords. These are typically words that bring search results unrelated to your business or ad listings. Since you still have to pay when people find your business through negative keywords, you’re wasting precious ad dollars that could be used somewhere better.
Look at your search query data to identify which keywords people that view your ads are searching. There are relevant keywords that you want to keep, but keep note of the keywords that don’t relate to your business listing. For example, if you were a dealership that only sold new cars, you might not want your business appearing for searches of used car dealerships. Indicate those works or questions as negative keywords so your ads don’t appear. Otherwise, your dealership could lose credibility and ad spend.
- Offer loyalty programs
Having a successful loyalty program is a huge part of customer retention for any business. You can offer benefits and rewards to existing customers. For example, every time a customer brings their car in for a routine service, they can get points to be redeemed for future servicing and maintenance. This loyalty program model could also apply to customer referrals and purchasing parts. Offering a loyalty program helps with customer retention by enticing them to come back to your parts and services department or body shop after the sales.
- Implement digital retail
While you can’t digitalize everything, you can definitely leverage digital retail to enhance certain parts of the sales process. Today’s consumers do almost everything online, from researching information and booking appointments to contacting support. This means your website and online experience must match the same level of high quality in-store experience that customers expect. For example, if a customer reaches out to your online support team with their questions and to book a test-drive, the in-store staff should be able to seamlessly continue the conversation. Otherwise, they’ll get frustrated and turn to other dealerships.
Why Online Automotive Marketing Matters
Having an online presence makes your dealership visible to a larger audience. Almost all car buyers start their process with an online search, so if you aren’t online, you’re missing a lot of sales opportunities. Especially during the pandemic, when buyers weren’t able to visit showrooms anymore, online automotive marketing became even more important. There are so many ways online automotive marketing can help your dealership.
There are many ways to make your brand visible when you’re online. On top of watching TV and listening to the car radio, the majority of people spend their time browsing the internet or scrolling through their phones. When you incorporate online marketing, you can leverage the visibility of Google search engines and social media to market your brand and to connect with your audience. Not only do you increase the amount of people you reach, but you can also create online ads targeted towards specific target groups and interact with them faster.
Online marketing also allows information to become more easily accessible and transparent. There are many opportunities to share rich content with your audience, such as, car shopping tips, promotions, business hours, and new stock. Since most people are already browsing online, they can easily access this information as a part of their research process. Dealerships that make information accessible simplify the buyer’s journey and help customers make decisions that they’re confident in. In return, they’ll feel confident in your business.
Online automotive marketing also makes results transparent. A big concern with marketing is analyzing the results to identify whether the efforts are working effectively. The last thing you want is to put a lot of time and resources into sales strategies that aren’t effective for your dealership. There are many tools that can measure data from your sales campaigns. For example, you can view sales budget spent, revenue generated from each sale, number of new leads each month, and the channels that generate the most traffic. This information helps you determine which sales campaigns are going well and the areas for improvement. By continuously auditing your efforts, you can quickly adjust your sales strategies to increase your profits.
taq’s one platform is a great tool for car dealers to manage their leads and portfolios. Whether you’re looking to build leads through different channels (i.e., phone, walk-in, and website), manage the credit application process, track lead history, or something else, taq Automotive Intelligence can help. It’s an innovative platform that unifies the steps in the sales process, so your staff doesn’t have to worry about the administrative tasks that are time-consuming. Instead, they can focus on nurturing and helping every lead that comes into the dealership.
How to Attract Millennial Car Buyers
Millennials spend a lot of time on their phones and computers. So if you want to attract millennial car buyers, you better strengthen your online presence. Online presence starts with your website. Your website should be unique, helpful, easy to navigate, and aligned with your brand. Websites that offer educational resources in a clear and concise way help simplify the buyer process for millennials. This is especially beneficial to the younger millennials who might not have gone through this process before.
Your website should also be easily discoverable on the internet. This is where Google Ads, keywords, and negative keywords come into play. Millennials do a ton of online research to find dealerships and gather information. The more times your dealership comes through during this process, the more likely they’ll reach out and connect.
Your online presence also includes social media channels. This could be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other channel that works best for your business. Social media is a great way to communicate faster and more frequently with your audience. You can share pictures, events, videos, and almost anything else that promotes the dealership. Not only can you interact with users in the comments or direct messages, but you can also add contact information and links. Remember, the more active and insightful your social pages are, the more interest you’ll get.
It’s also important to sell the experience correctly. For example, it might be a younger millennial’s first time buying a car. Talking about the technicalities will only get you so far, unless you’re talking to a car expert. Instead, focus on making the experience less intimidating. They can easily see the features of each car online, so discuss the important considerations they should look out for, like thoroughly test driving each vehicle and looking at financing options. Discuss how your after-sales services will help them professionally maintain their new vehicle and the loyalty programs you offer that save them money.
The older millennials are probably already familiar with the sales process. They might look to upgrade their vehicle as their family expands or want a flashier leisure vehicle. Talk about how your product integrates into their life, such as family road trips, comfortable errands, and reliable daily commutes. By tailoring the message you deliver, you attract your audience by hitting their main pain points and concerns.