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Jared Hamilton
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Brady Irvine

Brady Irvine Marketing Guy

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Having a Big Sale? What The Hell For?

Does this sound familiar?

Boss: “Okay, so we have to generate some floor traffic, let’s advertise a big sale…”

Lackey: “Good idea boss, but how are we going to make it work?  When we did that last week we didn’t get much traffic.”

 Boss: “That’s because the guys down the street had a big sale last week.”

Lackey: “I think they have one this week too…”

Boss: “But this week we’ll use louder voices in our radio spots, and bigger starbursts in the newspaper…”

Lackey: “What if they put balloons on the cars?”

Boss: “We’ll use MORE balloons, BIGGER balloons!  Nothing says “good place to buy a car” like grown men putting bunches of balloons everywhere…”


Okay, so I may have let my personal hatred of balloons get the better of me there at the end, but you get the idea.  Now I’m guessing that these “Boss” and “Lackey” types aren’t too common in most of your stores.  If you are a member of DrivingSales you are closer to the cutting edge and probably beyond this type of nonsense.  (Although substitute Facebook page for newspaper in the above example and think about it again just to be sure…)

So what can we do to make our big sale a success without yelling louder or dropping the price more?

Have a REASON to have the sale.

Your customers (or potential customers) aren’t stupid.  (Well most of them…)  They know you can’t possibly have the lowest prices in history, every week, on everything, all of the time.  Eventually your vehicles would all have to be free.  They also know that most of the time when they PAY less, you make less, and you aren’t super motivated to make less money.  Because the customer knows this, they will usually just tune out your attempts at advertising, putting up imaginary “air quotes” every time you use the word SALE. 

However, if you can come up with a reason to be having a sale (a real reason, not something made up) or a story behind why you are having a sale, you automatically improve the customer’s ability to believe you are actually having a sale.  And just like when you are face to face with them on the lot, they have to BELIEVE you before they will buy.

For example, have you ever sold out of a few colors of vehicles and ended up with a checkerboard looking lot of black and white?  Instead of getting grumpy about it and trying to make it look like you’ve got some color out there, why not advertise it?  Have a make some room for color sale, special deals on black or white vehicles.  Customers can drive by and see the mess on your lot, so they are more likely to believe it.

Now before you ask, yes the above example may be excluding people looking for a vehicle that isn’t black or white.  But when you try to advertise to everybody, you end up getting nobody.  Wouldn’t it be better to have 10 prospects that want one of those vehicles show up on your lot, rather than have 100 people see or hear your ad and ignore it?

Plus, it gives you the opportunity to tell a story, people like stories so they will pay attention.  What are some other reasons you can think of to have a sale?

Paul Green
You hit the nail on the head. I always chuckle about the dealerships having a different sale every week. If you price your inventory properly and offer outstanding customer service, there's no need to have a sale. If you must have one, Memorial day or 4th of July themed sales are sort of nice.
Brady Irvine
Well I'm all for generating excitement and advertising a reason to get people in the door, but you're right, the generic "sale in a box" type events are over done and silly. If you have a reason to sell vehicles cheaper than you would last week, advertise it. Is it the last week of the month and you're desperate? Have an "It's the last week of the month and we're desperate" sale. Or have a "the boss has a meth problem and we need your money sale" (Maybe not exactly those, but you get the idea...) With practice, you can open up any newspaper (or check out any news source) and find a reason to put together a marketing campaign. The possibilities are endless, and because there are hardly any dealers who think of their marketing this way, you will have almost no competition for your market's attention.
Jim Bell
I think that there has to be a theme wrapped around whatever sale you are doing. It has to be done right and not half-assed and just say that we'll take $1000 off our best deal. Too much of the general public can see through the BS and the gimicks. Give the customer a reason to come in. If you get that message out, they will come through that and good merchandising on all of your websites and 3rd parties.
Brady Irvine
Exactly! Because if you can take an extra $1000 off it wasn't really your best deal to begin with was it? And if there isn't a reason for it, how can you sit across from a customer and tell them the price is $1000 more today because the big streamers and inflatable viking came down?
Ed Brooks
Do not forget the Inflatable Gorilla - the key to any good promotion!

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