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Russ Chandler

Russ Chandler Product Marketing Manager

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Don’t Blame Event Sales for Bad Promotions, Blame Yourself

52b7a080e70afaea4248f8f51a03aecc.jpg?t=1There’s a myth running rampant right now in the automotive community: Good, reputable dealers don’t run event sales.

Good dealers don’t host any of these 5-day stints inside a giant tent with an ugly purple gorilla out front.

Honest dealers don’t use bait-and-switch tactics to lure customers onto their lot.

Reputable dealers don’t make their staff wade through hoards of prize grabbers in order to find the one car shopper that came in that day.

You’re right. Good dealers don’t do these things, but what we just described is more of a carnival than it is an event sale, and many dealers don’t realize that just because this is one flavor of event sale doesn’t mean that this is the only kind of event you can have.

Judging event sales from this kind of promotion is like eating Long John Silver’s and deciding you don’t like lobster. You may be right when you say that an event sale isn’t right for your dealership, but if you haven’t done it right, it’s impossible to judge whether it’s right for your dealership or not.

I won’t make this complicated. If you really think an event sale is a bad solution for your dealership, I challenge you to run an event sale with three key focuses: Trust, process, and capturing every opportunity. If it still doesn’t work out, you win. Event sales may not be for you.

Build Trust in Every Incentive

The biggest complaint I hear about event sales is that they bring in the wrong kind of crowd. News flash: That’s not the event’s fault, it’s yours. Think about your ideal customer for a minute. Do you think they’re going to be fooled into some scammy looking event sale? The answer’s no.

By their very nature, the kind of customers you want aren’t going to trust your advertising immediately. People looking to buy tend to be skeptical of your claims, whether you’re giving away a prize or handing out a coupon. To win these customers over, you need to build trust around every incentive. If you’re giving out prizes, show winners from your last promotion. If you’re offering coupons or discounts, don’t hide the fine print or make it look too good to be true.

Bottom line: Be honest and upfront with all of your marketing and you will earn more trust and, in the end, more customers.

Document and Enforce a Strict Process

If you did your advertising right, you drove a ton of traffic to your showroom. Now what the hell are you doing with it? Is your sales staff in business-as-usual mode or have you documented a strict sales process that helps them prioritize each up quickly so they can move more metal?

Don’t blame your sales staff here. If your team can’t sell during an event sale and they don’t have a strict process to follow, it’s your fault as their manager. You’re not giving them the tools they need to be successful. The good news is that this kind of process isn’t difficult to create, and we’ve even made a cheat sheet for you!

Capture and Follow Up On Every Opportunity

Does your dealership generate 100% of its revenue from selling cars? I didn’t think so. So why is that the only thing we focus on during event sales?

If you’re running an event sale well, you’re not just capturing the contact info of everyone who walks in the door, you know when they’ll be in the market to buy, what they’re currently driving, and where they get their service done. You can also ask about refinancing and extended warrantees. An effective event sale doesn’t just sell cars, it creates actionable leads for every department of your dealership. If you’re failing to do this, you’re leaving money on the table with every sale.

Now I want to hear from you. Is your dealership for or against event sales? Why? Have you run an event sale where you’ve successfully implemented these suggestions? What holes do you see in this plan? Drop a comment!

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