How to Overcome a Slump in Car Sales

By Canada Drives Newsroom | Dealer Services

You stand next to the front door, watching as the number one salesperson shows yet another vehicle. Of course, they’re going to close the customer on the car, bumping their commission level higher. And you? You haven’t had a customer more than mildly interested in almost a week. You think to yourself, “Have I lost my mojo? Will I ever sell another car?”

Almost every sales professional will experience a slump at some point in their careers. And there are stretches where an entire dealership just doesn’t seem to be making deals and delivering cars. 

Before you can perform a course correction, you need to properly identify the cause. Is it just you that isn’t getting deals signed, or is the entire sales team struggling to pad deals? Whatever the root is, it can be corrected!

Different strategies need to be taken depending on if it’s an individual problem or a store-wide concern. In either case, here are some ideas to break out of your sales funk. 

How to deal with individual slumps

Finding that you’re flying solo on the sales slump journey? It’s easy to become discouraged and think you’re doing something wrong. Here are a couple of strategies to get back in the saddle. 

    1. Create positive routines

    If you’re worried you aren’t selling cars before you get to the dealership in the morning, there’s a good chance you’ll continue the trend. A positive mindset is more than just fluffy thinking; it’s an attitude that’s visible on your face, in your speech, and in your posture. 

    A few things you should do to establish a positive routine include the essentials: get up at the same time every day and dress sharp. When you look good, you feel good. 

    Other routines that can establish positive thinking include reading business-related and thought leadership material like Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, as well as getting physically active at the gym or in organized sports. 

    2. Focus on the customer, not the sale 

    There’s a reason you’ve been trained to follow a sales process. Often, slumps occur when salespeople decide to rush or skip steps in the process. That’s detrimental to the sale, regardless of how small you might think the step is. 

    Skip the walkaround and you fail to build value for the customer. Jump over the needs assessment and you could be showing the wrong model to the wrong person. Rush to the negotiation too early and you’ll discover the buyer doesn’t trust you yet. 

    Slow it down and follow your sales training. Remember, car sales is primarily about helping customers find the right solution for their transportation needs. When you focus more on the customer’s needs and the value you can bring them, you’ll worry less about a signed sales agreement. With a more customer-focused mindset, you’ll find sales just come easier. 

How you can address dealership-wide sales slumps

At times, your store’s salespeople have high closing rates – the customers just aren’t coming in. When the whole dealership is in a slump, there are methods you can employ to drive traffic and close more deals. 

    1. Try new promotions

    Typical car ads in print and on TV get dry sometimes. If you find your advertising and promotions have lost their effect on your target audience, try something new. Have a local car show on your lot or put some money behind a giveaway campaign. Tried and true is good, but keep your eyes open for better ideas – fresh ones like these 12 car sales promotions – to boost your store’s physical traffic.

    2. Know your audience… especially millennials 

    It could be that your client base has morphed, and your sales message and techniques are proving ineffective. Millennials have a dramatically different way of researching vehicles and deciding on a dealership with which to do business. 

    You may need to prove your dealership is socially responsible. It could be that your sales technique is too high-pressure. As a store, understand the type of customer you should expect most often and tailor your presentation to their needs.

    3. Dig into your digital and social channels

    If you’ve dug in your heels with traditional advertising methods, you’re missing out. Print newspaper readership is down for the 28th year in a row, and with commercial-free listening options on the rise, fewer people listen to local radio stations. The future is now, and it’s in digital marketing

    Use social media to thank car buyers for their recent purchases and record video clips showing features and benefits for new and pre-owned vehicles in inventory. Blogging, website SEO, responsive websites – dealers can leverage it all to create a presence and a buzz about their dealership.

    4. Establish a subprime lead connection

    Maybe it’s time to open your doors to non-prime customers? If your dealership can get customers into a car when no one else can, and even help them rebuild credit with a car loan, more car buyers will come through your doors. 

    If it’s time to open the door to the subprime lead market in your dealership, Canada Drives is a partner you can depend on. We leverage state-of-the-art sales and digital marketing methods to deliver consistent, quality-checked lead traffic that converts. 

    With Canada Drives, your dealership’s sales slump will be a thing of the past.




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