Dealership marketing is more complex now than ever before. Many questions must be considered, such as, “Is traditional marketing dead or is digital overcrowded and overpriced?” “Should we use direct mail or not?” “Do customers even need to see a beautiful building and a clean lot packed with desirable inventory anymore?”
The answer to at least the last question is yes. The impression you and your facility make on customers will help them decide if they want to do business with you after the sale.
No matter where a customer first sees your inventory, online or offline, their in-the-dealership experience is paramount to them wanting to return to the dealership for service. With front end margins compressing, service absorption is more important than ever before. How do we protect our customer base and retain them as service customers?
Cars are lasting longer, and finance terms are keeping your customers in their cars longer. It was hard enough maintaining good relationships with customers for 36 months between purchases, but free oil changes and factory-covered maintenance helped to span this gap. However, even with these tools, the independent service shops cut deeply into customer retention. Today with finance terms pushing past 60 months, maintaining a relationship through the time between purchases is becoming more and more difficult.
Keeping a dealership in the forefront of consumers’ minds takes more than just advertising. Dealerships need to be proactive and creative to keep a firm grasp on their most valuable assets: their customers. This creativity can be expressed through involvement in events throughout the dealership’s community.
Portable vehicle spinners are incredibly adept at grabbing people’s attention, and feature customizable graphics to advertise a dealership even away from the lot.
“We try to be visible more than just at the dealership,” an Oregon Honda dealer said. “We have taken our spinner all over town. It is a ramp on a trailer that actually puts the vehicle 25 ft. in the air, so anywhere with a parking lot will work. Movie theatres, farmers markets, shopping malls, car shows anywhere with people is good. We like to stick a big truck or SUV on it. You can’t miss it.”
Today’s consumer wants to be a part of something. They want to
support businesses that support the things they believe in. Is an
ad in the high school basketball program enough? Of course not. You need to take an active and more visible role. You need to be involved and make a difference. Your participation should help the community group while making your involvement apparent.
Community involvement is a great way for dealerships to meet new customers and show their existing customers that they care. Dealerships have massive marketing machines at their disposal that they can lend to high schools, charities and churches. Many dealerships have spinners with billboards larger than those on the interstate. When a local group is raffling a vehicle, let them borrow your spinner for their festival and help them with balloons to merchandise their vehicle raffle the same way you merchandise your vehicles at the store. You can have your banners, their banners or both displayed on your spinner. Smart dealers will even have a couple of salespeople on site to answer any questions and prospect. Not only do you get the exposure of the event, but you also make relationships with those involved in putting on the events. These are often community influencers who will be incredible sources of referrals.
“We invite local choirs and children’s dance performers to put on a show during the holidays at the dealership. We put a 25-ft. tree on top of our 25-ft. spinner and turn our dealership into a holiday party,” a Texas multipoint group owner said. “The local news covers the event, and the families that come out to watch often leave with new vehicles or appointments to return.”
Many dealerships are Friday night regulars at high school football games, but this is just the beginning. Charity golf outings, festivals, farmer’s markets, church events and more are available to you. Many of these events are already reaching out to you for your support. Imagine their delight when you offer your support in a big way that is a big win for both of you.
“We support our local high school sports teams,” a Texas Chevy dealer said. “We take our spinner to a high school football game every Friday, and other sports too. Our salespeople compete to be the ones who go and talk to all the people who are drawn in by a truck spinning up above everything. Sometimes we’ll have a give-away and our salespeople always get leads.”
“Our dealership is surrounded by other stores on both sides and across the street,” said an Oklahoma Ford dealer. “We tell customers to come to the store with the truck spinning 25 ft. in the air.”
Your dealership likely already has all the tools to execute a large-scale community marketing program on a small budget. For less than the cost of a single billboard or television spot you can reach your community in a meaningful way that will deliver more customers to your door and vehicles over the curb. If you don’t have the tools, what are you waiting for?
For more information, visit autospinusa.com or call 210-269-8380.