Customer loyalty is a huge reason that dealerships stay profitable. In fact, according to an Access Development survey, 83% of shoppers say that customer loyalty is driven by a trusting relationship. But to begin developing that trust and the resulting loyalty requires that a customer chooses your dealership in the first place.
One of the top challenges a dealership faces is earning the customer’s initial purchase. A small sample size of customers will buy, no matter if you have a strategy or not. But most car shoppers are a discerning lot who aren’t simply looking for a product. They’re searching for a dealership that’s able to serve their automotive needs both today and in the future.
These six compelling strategies can aid your dealership in drawing customers in and converting them into loyal, profitable clients.
1. Provide vehicle options
59% of car shoppers research online, according to Freckle IoT’s US Automotive Footfall Report 2018, and six out of ten haven’t decided on a vehicle when they visit the showroom. Customers are finding your inventory online and coming to your dealerships, but their mind hasn’t been made up yet.
Converting that shopper into a buyer often takes more than an easy vehicle walkaround, test drive, and a sales contract. It involves a needs and wants assessment and professional guidance to ensure they’re matched with the right model for their needs.
As a dealership, your role isn’t just the sales process, but having a diverse inventory on hand in advance. Whether by trade-ins, dealer auctions, or both, sales management should be constantly on the lookout for prime used cars, SUVs, and trucks for the lot. And for new inventory, you should ensure that you can offer every trim level and option package a customer may want.
There’s a burden to bear with excess inventory, but it converts into sales when the shopper’s needs are met.
2. Develop a strong online presence
In today’s connected age, being online is no longer optional. And, you must do it well. Your dealership needs to be visible where your clientele is looking, which happens to be social media and video at the moment. Statista data shows that of Canada’s Facebook users, more than 76% are 18 years of age and up. In other words, your shoppers are on Facebook. Canadian YouTube users, of which there are more than 17 million, are diverse and the majority are adults. Your shoppers are also video consumers.
Your online presence needs to be strong. Weak posts of car sales ads aren’t where people connect. They want to see video clips that show a car model’s unique features or the special services your dealership provides, or the community connections and events your store participates in.
Become a household name in your community with engaging social media campaigns and videos. It’s the fledgling stage to building trust with your shoppers—simply through recognition.
3. The CTA is everything in advertising
When a salesperson shows a car to a customer, it would NEVER be okay to let the customer leave without asking for the sale. The same premise applies to your promotions and advertising. You may feel like it’s pushy or ill-timed, but you can never predict the stage of the sales funnel your customer is at.
The CTA, or call to action, allows a customer to act on the information in an ad, post, email, or another type of promotion. It’s the difference between a Facebook ad saying, “We have the all-new Toyota GR Supra in stock,” and “The all-new Toyota GR Supra has landed at XYZ Toyota. Click here to schedule your test drive!”
It’s also a great way to create a sense of urgency, compelling the fence-sitter to take action. “Only one Toyota GR Supra left at XYZ Toyota. See me today before it’s gone!” Or, “For one weekend only, take advantage of 90 days no payments on any new model at ABC Motors.”
4. Show rebates
With new car sales sliding back from all-time highs, strong incentives and rebates are either here or coming very soon. These rebates are wildly successful in motivating the budget-conscious buyer to take action.
Use your social media campaigns to draw attention to manufacturer rebates and be specific by model. Generalizations are ineffective, and you must drive home the point that YOUR dealership is the one they should visit for a new car deal. If you leave it broad and general, your efforts will result in other dealers making sales you could’ve had.
5. Offer top dollar for the trade-in vehicle
Your salespeople should know how to sell the benefits of trading in a car – the tax savings, time savings, and the ability to roll negative equity into a new car. These benefits are real, and customers need to be reminded that they get more than just the dollar amount written on the appraisal sheet.
But your store should also make a name as one that offers top dollar for trades. It’s impossible to keep statistics on how many deals are lost as a result of low trade-in values, but you know it happens regularly. If you meet or exceed a customer’s expectation of a low-ball trade offer, you take away an obstacle to their purchase.
Bolster your trade offers with true data. Show comparable units at ADESA as well as other listings and Canadian Black Book information. Be transparent about how you’ve come up with the trade-in value and you’re much more likely to make deals.
6. Welcome ALL credit situations
In Canada, between 20-25% of car-shoppers struggle to get approved for auto finance due to less-than-perfect credit. While some dealerships and lenders aren’t equipped to work with these customers, you can set your dealership up to work with all credit situations.
Canada Drives is the springboard you need to kickstart your subprime venture. One of Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies, our class-leading service delivers premium, hand-filtered subprime leads to help you sell more cars ASAP.
Take the first step towards growing your business by partnering with Canada Drives today!