Since 2009, the gap between list price and transaction price has steadily declined. To overcome profit margin compression, you must reduce overhead, free up dealership resources to focus on profit centers, and sell more cars at a faster rate. Here’s how to do it.
Ring in the Spring by Bringing in More Business
The spring selling season is a great time to drive business to your dealership. The winter is rough on vehicles, and customers will need some maintenance done. Spring is also a time to learn about new vehicles and new products at auto shows, and to promote your own vehicles and products. Yes, spring presents a wealth of opportunities to interact with new customers and bring in repeat business. Automated marketing can help you make the most of these opportunities by creating a simple process that is effective for your dealership and convenient for your customers.
A good automated marketing solution should allow you to contact your customers in multiple ways, such as email and text messaging, and should include basic marketing tools like online signup forms, surveys and contact management. An all-in-one solution is the best way to go, because it is simple and you don't have to rely on multiple providers (and pay multiple monthly bills) for your marketing and communication needs.
Make the Most of Increased Traffic by Creating Connections
Your dealership, if it follows the usual annual industry trend, will enjoy increased traffic in the spring as everyone starts to come out of their winter haze. Now is the time to really engage each of these customers and form a connection that will last throughout the year. First, you have to get started by collecting a bit of basic information. How do you do this in a way that is quick and doesn't distract the customer?
One efficient way of gathering contact information from each customer is to create a brief online signup form and provide a few tablets for your dealership staff to use while talking to customers. Tablets can be used in your dealership or on the road at trade shows and other automotive events. This way, your staff can quickly bring up the signup form and ask customers for their name and how they prefer to be contacted. Using the tablet, they can even show the customer a sample of your regular email newsletter.
After Creating an Initial Connection, Personalize
Emails that are targeted to appeal to a customer's unique needs are much more likely to be opened than mass emails that are sent to every customer who has subscribed. In order to target customers effectively, you need an automated marketing solution that will collect and organize customer data, history and behaviour. By reviewing this data, and by creating triggers that cause relevant messages to be sent to each customer, you can boost your email open rates, increase sales and encourage in-depth customer interaction.
Once each customer signs up to receive your email newsletter, you can learn more about their preferences through your automated marketing solution. A good solution will keep track of how each customer is interacting with your messages and can send other relevant messages based on this data. If a customer frequently opens emails advertising your used vehicles but has never opened an email promoting your new vehicles, that customer is probably more interested in buying a previously owned vehicle. You can use this information to better target emails to this customer in the future and provide the information that they need to make a decision.
Spring is a Great Time to Focus on Maintenance
Winter is extremely rough on vehicles, and most of your customers will be looking for maintenance by the time spring rolls around. Getting customers in for maintenance and general service will boost your revenue and drive business back to your dealership. Focus on customers who have not been in over the winter. Let customers know you are thinking about their safety by sending out maintenance reminders and promotional discounts: “It's the time of year to show your vehicle some love for driving you through the long winter. The first 20 customers to respond to this email will receive a 20% discount on their spring maintenance appointment!”
Many customers will be thinking about maintenance but may not have decided where to get it done. Seasonal promotions encourage customers to choose your dealership over the competition. And timely reminders jog the memory of customers who have forgotten to book their appointments. With an automated marketing solution, you can schedule reminders in advance and messages are automatically sent out to customers who have not visited the shop in a while.
Simplify the Busy Spring Selling Season
Automated marketing helps you make the most of your time and budget. You don't have time, especially during the busy season, to connect with each and every customer. Let an automated solution assist you by sending out reminders and email newsletters, collecting and organizing customer data, and sending relevant messages that will actually have an impact on your customers' automotive choices. Automation lets you carry out the spring selling season without a hitch, and helps you build customer connections that are active all year long.