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How Dealerships Can Maximize Their Holiday Sales

As we approach the end of the year, holiday car sales are upon us, with Black Friday and Christmas being the tentpoles of many dealerships’ end-of-year sales strategies. With so many dealers competing to land price-conscious car buyers , how can your dealership leverage the holidays to finish the year strong?

In this blog, Mastermind shares 3 ways dealerships can maximize their holiday sales and sell more cars:

  • - Get a head start on identifying and targeting the best prospects for your holiday sales offers 
  • - Use your service drive as a conquest and upsell tool
  • - Tweak your holiday sales standard practices for today’s customer


Get a Head Start on Holiday Dealership Deals 

Getting a head start on your holiday dealership marketing is key to staying ahead of the competition. Don’t wait until Black Friday – the right time to begin your holiday auto sales process is as soon as you know what offers will be on the table. That’s when you should turn your analytics tools loose on your potential customer base to identify and rank the prospects who will be most likely to buy the vehicles you’re selling.

It’s an especially powerful time to use Market EyeQ’s automotive equity mining tools and capabilities to identify existing customers who have positive equity in their vehicle and could profitably be traded into a new car during the sale. These deals offer big payoffs for dealers in addition to the new car sale by frequently triggering service, F&I, used car sales and other revenues, especially if the trade-in qualifies for factory certified pre-owned status. Market EyeQ factors in household demographic data from IHS Markit, consumer financial information from TransUnion and vehicle-specific insights from Carfax to highlight the customers who will be most likely to jump at the opportunity to trade in and trade up.

Once you have your prospects identified and ranked by likelihood of purchase during the sale with their individualized Behavior Prediction Score™, the next step is to engage them with effective and personalized marketing communications designed to maximize their likelihood of connecting to your dealership and entering the process of buying a car

This is where the science of data meets the art of automotive sales, and it’s never more important than during a crowded holiday sales season. Predictive dealership marketing is much more than printing someone’s name on the mailer. Rather, it’s an integrated and data-driven process of delivering the right message, in the right format, at the right time, to the right person. 

Once you have the prospect in the showroom, make sure your sales and F&I team are armed with data-driven customer insights, including deal parameters and personalized talk tracks, to help close the deal. 

Service Drive Shines During Holiday Sales

We’ve written more than once about best practices for turning service drive customers into sales prospects, and holiday sales are a great time to lean heavily on vehicle service conquest and relationship marketing to generate prospects and fill the sales pipeline one last time before the year is done.

In the run-up to holiday sales, make a special effort to get customers in the door with vehicle winterization offers and other service specials. Service is a local business with most people getting their vehicle serviced within a 10-mile radius of their home. Consider supporting a hyper-local charity such as a neighborhood senior center or school program in connection to service visits, emphasizing both your community support, as well as your proximity to potential service customers and the convenience your dealership offer as a result.

The run-up to the holidays is a good time to look at the communication structure between your service and sales teams. Do you have people whose responsibility it is to ensure that the handoff between service and sales is seamless from the customer’s perspective? Are your service personnel incentivized to help unearth sales prospects, and does turning a large-ticket service customer into a sales prospect penalize your service department’s numbers, creating a disincentive for them to make that handoff to sales? Dealerships who have those questions answered, using data-driven processes and tools such as Service Conquest feature are the best at converting service customers into new car sales.

Switch Up Your Dealership’s Holiday Sales Tactics 

Your customers don’t want to be stuck at the dealership for hours, working through paperwork while the season’s hot gifts and best deals fly off the shelves at toy stores and other retailers. Today’s popular video games are often available to be downloaded ahead of their launch date to avoid long download queues, you too can invite your prospects to “Pre-Load Black Friday” by handling F&I and other paperwork remotely ahead of time, minimizing the time they will spend in the dealership that day. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to get them in, out and on their way in their new car as quickly as possible, and make sure they know it.

With affordability being such a huge concern for consumers and contract lengths extending further into the future than ever before, it’s a rare customer who can pull off the traditional “red bow in the driveway.” This creates not only challenges but also opportunities for creative dealers to find ways to work with customers who want to surprise their significant other with a new car – but need their signature on the F&I paperwork to make it happen. Big red bow aside, consider the other ways you can help the gift-giver create that special moment they’ve seen in advertisements for years. 

The tightening auto sales market hasn’t made 2019 a year of good cheer for many dealers. But by combining cutting-edge data analytics with sales and marketing best practices (and a bit of creativity), dealers can close more deals and ring in the new year on a high note. If you’re not confident in your dealership’s ability to turn holiday sales into strong sales numbers, contact us to set up a demo.  

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