There is always hype in retail when it comes to the holidays. That is our mindset as an industry - the idea that our customers are eager, ready to shop for that fantastic deal. And while several studies suggest the holiday weekend can be quite successful, it is essential to keep in mind that your dealer sets realistic goals for a holiday. To do so, it is best to follow the following guidelines!
What did you do last year? Are sales generally up year over year?
One of the things we need to do more - on the dealer level - is to look at year over year reporting. Looking to see what the sales trends are making sure that the reporting you are reviewing is accurate. One of the best ways to get accurate reporting is to use your OEM’s online sales data. Using the sold data with your OEM will ensure it was an actualized deal. As for the pre-owned sales, you can easily review your DMS system, and pull your sold data.
The purpose of reviewing your year over year sales is to set a realistic sales goal. Wherein, if you want to increase your sales by ten or so percent (which sounds excellent), then you need to plan accordingly. Namely, perhaps there is one brand model that you are lacking in sales. Those units might also be aged. That said, you can look and see if there are any additional OEM programs to help absorb the discount. If there are programs available, then it’s the perfect opportunity to offload that inventory.
For you to sell that inventory, however, it’s more than just setting the price. You will also need to make sure you have the right marketing in place to support the campaign. One of the most effective means of campaigning your inventory is to do so via social media. As the cost to run the campaign is still relatively low. You will also want to put together an email blast. One that is directly marketed to the customer. Such as a customer who has not yet otherwise purchased, but expressed interest in the vehicle. That very list, though, should be different than of the email list of customers who expressed interest but did not respond back to the dealership. In doing so, you will have a highly organized call list.
Holiday Hours. How Late to Stay Open?
Every dealer has their own standards as to what the hours are for the holidays. The best way to approach this scenario is to - as mentioned above - review your year over year sales. If you have low sales numbers and did not spend additional money to “market” holiday offers then you can expect for your sales to be light. If that’s the case, it is also best to not have a full staff at the dealership. As fully staffing your dealer - on a slow day - for a holiday can actually wind up costing the dealership money! This is especially true for those who are hourly and (depending on the state) require time and a half.
Bottom Line: this is not to say that your dealer should be closed for the holiday. But what this is offering is that if you are choosing to be open, there are best practices to follow to ensure that your dealer will have a successful sales day. That is making sure to review reporting, strategize an effective marketing campaign, and make sure that you are not overstaffing your dealership. The last thing you ought to check - and make sure is accurate - is your stores hours! You would be surprised to see how many dealers forego updating their hours - leaving their customers unsure as to whether or not your open.
Is Labor Day a successful sales holiday for you? Do you also keep service open?