We start getting requests for fall service campaigns in August from some of our more progressive and active dealers on the Bumper marketing platform. They know that it’s important to plan ahead and get on track with one of the busiest automotive seasons for service and start to book up their service bays.
For dealers and service managers who are getting their fall service promotions and tire sales on track, we asked our team for quick tips and strategies they can put into action now.
TIRES, TIRES, TIRES
- Target specific vehicles and matching tire options and avoid spray and pray tactics. Try to target family-based vehicles such as crossovers, mini-vans and SUVs as well as smaller vehicles that people will drive year-round. Those that live in the northern parts of the country typically don’t consider buying seasonal vehicles, or high-end performance models, as they don’t get to enjoy them very long; make sure to consider this when you are launching your campaigns.
- Target customers who don’t have rims on their winter tires. Offer mount and balance deals connected to buying winter rims. This gives you a strong message about winter maintenance and the excessive wear for repeated mountings, but it also lets you connect parts and service into a single offer. Pointing out how much they can save in the long run from not having to remount, will generate more interest in this type of promotion.
- Offer tire hotels. Many dealers are starting to offer seasonal tire storage. A suggestion would be to advertise this as a cost that is included in the cost of changing tires, for returning customers. In your marketing, bring up the benefits such as climate-controlled storage, security and how quick and clean their service can become each year. No longer will your customers have to roll, pick and pack their tires into their vehicle every season.
- Have your service department start tracking tread depths so you can send your campaigns to the customers you know are more likely to buy. This not only shows the level of detail you put into your customers tire care, but also helps you not waste campaigns on people who will never buy tires this year.
- Talk to a manufacturer to have a deal ready for special offers. Many will offer rebates on certain brands like Good Year or Michelin and provide you a handout. These can go unnoticed if they are just sitting with the rest of the towers of tires in your service bay or parts storage. Use these offers as talking points and further ways your customers can save if they come to you. This is already a common practice for big-box tire retailers and smaller independent tire service centers and often, a key deciding factor for who your customer will go to. Remember, you make a better return in the long run from service and parts for a customer than you do in that new shiny car sale. You also lose a lot of money to non-dealer service providers based on a customer’s perception that dealers are more expensive; any way to take service business back needs to be leveraged.
- “Buy three, get one free deal with installation” promotions are also great for anyone with low tread or who has bought a new car over the spring and summer. A tried and true retail value proposition that can help convince your customer that the dealer is the best place to go for getting new tires this season.
FALL AND WINTER SERVICE
As soon as the cold hits, your customers start thinking about winterizing to avoid issues when the snow falls.
- Winter care clinics are a great way to get ahead of the tire rush and get people in early for fall with offers on inspections, fluid top ups, rust proofing, tire tread checks and battery checks.
- Offer a “Know-Your-Car-Night” evening seminar at your store to educate drivers on safe winter driving and the importance of fall service on their vehicle. You can offer a discount service to all who attend to drive them back into your bays.
- Combine tire change over with other offers like alignment checks, battery checks and interior car cleaning services. Many dealers will often bundle in the fall with discount offers on balancing or an alignment with a seasonal tire change. The fact is your customers will be tempted by cheap deals at service vendors who are aiming to drive them away from the dealership on the premise of saving money. Cut off their own competitive advantage and offer a discounted combo service packs to anyone who is not looking for a new set of tires.
- Don’t forget that winter is long. It’s not all about getting them in early before the white stuff hits. Your strategy for service needs to be a year-round effort. Offering discounted mid-winter and end of winter packages to remove salt build up, clean floor mats, clean exteriors and interiors are a great way to get people in before they start thinking about spring tire change over. Preventative maintenance offers like oil guarding, under spraying as wells as winter parts like plastic floor mats are also key up-sells to promote.