Arm-flailing dancing inflatables have lost their appeal if they ever had any. Drawing new leads and car buyers to the dealership is more difficult than it has ever been. And yet, converting lot traffic into actual buyers is happening more frequently, especially on the first visit.
When your mission is to attract people to the dealership, what better way to achieve that objective than with promotions? Along with Wavy-arms Man, gimmicky sales tactics need to be exchanged for fresh, creative auto sale promotion ideas.
Canada Drives has compiled a list of ideas for your dealership’s consideration. With one for every month of the year, you can keep attracting customers all year long.
1. Maintenance Package Giveaways
All cars need maintenance, and it’s an expense most car buyers don’t budget for. Make it part of a customer awareness promotion with maintenance package giveaways.
You can use this strategy as a giveaway with every new or pre-owned vehicle purchase with amazing efficacy. “Other dealers won’t tell you the cost to maintain your vehicle over the first three years. Not only will I let you know that it’s $XXX dollars on average, but it’s also complimentary with your purchase from me this weekend.”
Maintenance giveaways can be as small or large as you want, from a free oil change to lifetime maintenance. It can be a grand prize draw or part of every sale. For maximum effect, limit your use to one week or even a weekend for this promotion.
2. Dog Days of Summer
Advertise your store as a dog-friendly destination with perks for pooches. It’s an incredibly low-cost promotion to run and can be managed easily for an entire month. Provide a section of your lot – a grassy area if you have it – for a doggie playground with a few fun obstacles, water dishes, and free treats. Obviously, you should provide complimentary waste bags.
Pick a month that is sunny and typically a comfortable outdoor temperature. Send it out on social media, an email blast, and push notifications. It isn’t a sale per se but will succeed in driving traffic to your lot. Let the community use it - no strings attached. It’s bound to drive leads, especially if you display a vehicle accessorized for their favourite furry friends.
3. Tech Clinic
TechCrunch’s survey on advanced driver-assistive systems (ADAS) shows that half of the public doesn’t understand the tech in today’s automobiles. Why not make it your dealership’s specialty? Host a technology clinic in-house for your recent car buyers. And for car shoppers, make an event for showcasing technology with no-obligation educational test drives.
Promote the open house and make stations for customers to experience new technologies. You’ll establish your dealership as the authority on the subject; the go-to source for knowledgeable advisors on advanced vehicles.
4. Personalize Your Purchase
Making a vehicle more personalized is attractive to most car buyers, as is the case for nearly half of all millennial car shoppers.
Include a ‘budget’ for accessories that customers can use to customize their car. For example, offer “up to $500 of free accessories with every new vehicle purchase”. Anything beyond the $500 budget can be sold at wholesale pricing during the sale. Or, if the customer prefers, flip the $500 accessory budget to a $300 discount — their choice.
5. Loyalty Sale
It seems that loyalty is never rewarded enough. Not only do repeat buyers haggle less but they are your main source of referrals. Double up any loyalty bonuses that the manufacturer offers. For example, Acura consistently offers $1,000 in finance rebates for repeat Acura buyers. Match the discount and promote it to your current Acura customers with vehicles two to five years of age.
6. Choose Your Donation Event
Corporate social responsibility is an influencing factor for many of today’s purchasers. 55% of consumers are willing to pay more to companies that give back and work to improve their communities and the world. Stand out from the crowd by making a donation to the buyer’s charity of choice in their name.
Keep a running tally that’s highly visible and promote it on social media.
7. Complimentary Back-to-School Packages
Back-to-school is no longer a package of pencil crayons, loose-leaf lined paper, and Hilroy notebooks. It costs a small fortune. Make August your back-to-school month with complimentary packages that people can pick up from your dealership at no cost. That’s your lead generator for walk-ins.
Then, offer iPads, a Staples gift card, or entry-level laptop as the incentive to purchase. While you’re at it, alleviate back-to-school financial stress with a 90-day no-payment promo. Since summer is a sales drag, this could be the boost you need.
8. Auto Detailing Day
Everyone loves driving a clean car. Offer free car washes to anyone and everyone that wants it, completed by your on-site lot attendants and detailers. Run this promotion every Saturday for a month.
While they’re waiting for a free car wash, ask if you can do a trade-in appraisal. Have a sales manager standing by solely for this reason. Offer more in-depth cleaning as the reason to do so. While their car is being detailed, you have a captive audience. The only cost is a small advertising budget and entry-level wages. The rewards should far offset the costs.
9. In-Store Car Show
Car culture is everywhere. Clear your front lot on Sundays for a month for community members to roll out their customs, classics, hot rods, rat rods, and hot new cars. Free registration in advance is all you should require. If your manufacturer has show-worthy models – Ford SVT, Dodge SRT, and such – include them in the show too.
A car show is about driving traffic to your lot. Not only will car show attendees check out the vehicles in the show, but the cars on your lot. Make sure staff are on hand to work any leads and close sales.
10. Feed the Masses
Everyone loves community barbecues. Use hungry stomachs to draw people in, but not just to your dealership. Think about a community street festival-like event for example. Park one or a few of your top models beside a branded tent and offer free hotdogs and burgers. Let kids, doting parents, and anyone else who’s interested sit in the car. Take pics for social media. Hand out cards. Collect email addresses. Talk with people.
Promotions aren’t always about the bricks-and-mortar store. It’s about brand awareness and community involvement. What may not be a sale today could be a hot lead for Monday morning or two months from now.
11. Off-Site Experience
If you’ve been in a franchised dealership for a while, you know about Ride-and-Drive events. But these events don’t have to be an exclusive offer made by the manufacturer. Consumers would love to get behind the wheel of some of your common models in a no-pressure environment.
Promote an off-site Ride-and-Drive from your local mall parking lot or big box store lot, obviously arranged prior with the site and your insurer. Emphasize data collection at the event and have staff on hand to perform walkarounds, answer questions on payments, and write deals.
12. Make Referrals More Valuable
While repeat buyers are the top source for referrals, you should reward every referral equally. And make it worthwhile to the referrer. Promote a referral bonus to ALL previous sales customers for customers that buy in a designated month. Plus, you could enter all referrers into a draw for an additional monetary prize, trip, or in-store service credit!
Canada Drives is the nation’s premier lead generation company. With our sales-savvy methods and digital know-how, we deliver steady lead flow to hundreds of certified dealerships nationwide. And we’re always looking to expand our network!
Reach out and speak with one of our regional sales managers. A consistent stream of high-intent car-buyers is just a phone call away.