It’s the start of a new year, with the promise of a stable auto sales market in 2018, according to recent NADA forecasts. But the one constant in our industry is change. We live in a volatile world, and a competitive one at that — arguably more competitive than it’s ever been.
So how do you capture additional market share while keeping your local customers loyal in the process? How do you stand apart from the clutter to hit a home run in sales this year? It starts with covering your B.A.S.E.S. Here are simple steps to help you do that.
(B)uying is better than selling.
Today, the path to purchase is no longer linear. It is now a dynamic process whereby consumers add and eliminate brands along the path to purchase — often up to the very week they buy. Your job is to make consumers more interested in purchasing than you are in selling, and to convince them they are done researching.
Optimize your process by stating the reasons why someone should buy your brand and the benefits of buying from you. Offer the price of the vehicle they’re interested in buying and be sure to include a couple of other optional vehicles they might find interesting, as well (always lower-priced options). Finally, offer all comparable used car options, including any off-brands in your inventory.
(A)cquisition tools are key.
Your Website is one of your best customer acquisition tools if you truly make engagement a focus. For example, texting is a preferred method of communication among today’s consumers. Do you offer texting capabilities at your Website for sales and service? Have you implemented a text lead management system that assists with legal compliance? What about virtual showroom technology that enables you to see, in real-time, the areas of your Website with which consumers are most engaged or to co-browse with your site visitors? And do you offer a shop-by-payment tool that uses a preferred soft credit pull? What type of information do you provide, such as the difference between buying versus leasing or the benefits of CPO?
The most successful Websites transcend mere storefronts to offer the tools, services and helpful information consumers want and need.
(S)ite traffic is critical.
Let’s face it — while your Website is a great customer acquisition tool, the key to increased sales is to carve out market share among larger pools of buyers from the millions of consumers who turn to third party automotive research sites each month for their next vehicle purchase. That’s where they’re shopping and that’s who you need to reach. But how do you do that? Solicit the help of a Website traffic provider who can drive these serious consumers directly to your dealership website with targeted offers, at the right place and time, for maximum conversion. There are really great traffic resources available beyond traditional search engines that engage in-market consumers and drive them directly to you — affordably and effectively — so be sure to explore your options.
(E)xceptional experiences win.
Probably the most important thing you can do is ask your customers the right questions, such as who the primary driver is going to be, how the vehicle will be used and what features the primary driver finds most important — and really listen to their responses. Your job is to guide consumers to the car that best meets their wants and needs ahead of meeting your own goals. Let’s face it. When you act as a consultant to help people find the perfect vehicle, you create an exceptional experience that attracts new customers while keeping existing customers coming back.
(S)ales start with quality price quote requests.
Sure, you’ve done a good job of generating your own sales leads, but why not expand your opportunities by adding other sources of quality new and used price quote requests to your lead mix? Third-party price quote requests continue to represent a substantial portion of a dealer’s business today because of the reach among much larger volumes of in-market car buyers and at a cost that is roughly half of a dealer’s normal marketing expense.