Michelle Bickford-December 2011
Who doesn't have a vehicle at the top of their Christmas list? Though it may not be the number one thing wrapped with a bow and it is undeniably a sensitive time for many used car dealerships, it can still be a time to finish the year off strong. Don't let a consumer's tight budget hold you back, try the following strategies to boost the number of vehicles off your lot.
According to JD Power and Associates, "81 percent of Internet shoppers in 2010 indicated they visited a dealership website prior to purchase". 81%?! Imagine the profits, not to mention the 12% they will bring in off word of mouth. With numbers like that it is critical to investigate your website traffic and research the data to effectively understand what your visitors are searching for. The GM will need this to decide what vehicles to purchase, sales consultants will need it to know what to push, telephone sales will need it to be prepared for calls... can you see the benefits unraveling?
Unlike other data that might show marketplace worth on used cars, analyzing your website can give profitable information for used cars in your inventory. Identify what cars are getting the most clicks and go from there. Questions to consider when gathering data:
What cars are we getting emails, calls, appointments and dealership visits for?
What call to action are we signaling for these cars?
Scrutinize the differences between the "popular" vehicles and the least clicked through, and then change the ads accordingly-the proof is in the traffic coming through your dealership's door!
IMPROVE your inventory. Quality and quantity both play an important role. If Jon Doe is exclusively seeking a 2010 Acadia and you have zero, sure you can push them to an Outlook, but chances are he'll buy that sought after Acadia somewhere else. Don't let this happen to you, especially in the holiday season when consumers are shopping for SPECIFIC vehicles.
Take the feedback you are getting and utilize your data to rapidly take action; do not disregard what your customers are revealing to you. Hold daily team meetings to discuss this feedback with your team, and have the sales team share their feedback as well.
Having the right array of cars for your dealership is only half the battle. By marketing and promoting your dealership effectively, you'll be able to pierce your used cars even in an unstable economy.
According to Google Adwords, the tenure "used cars" is searched online an estimated 11 million times a month. And that's only a term! As a result, with this many promising customers probing Google for used cars, you must be appealing to customers to immediately. They have to be drawn to you and not the 10 million other competitors. How do you make that happen??
Ken DellaPorta, a certified SEO expert, believes more online traffic is generated when attaching monthly payments to your definite used car inventory. "Our research shows that click-through rates more than twice on ads that marketplace particular vehicles with representation monthly payments compared to the without," mentioned DellaPorta. For example, a Google looking for used Hyundai cars incited up a ad that has a listing for a Hyundai Sonata that mentioned "buy a currently for as low as $10,995 or financial for $121 per month," whilst other listing for a Hyundai Sonata only mentioned there were lots in stock. Customers who shop online will click on the initial ad roughly twice the time. Of course the point is to not list price so the potential buyer calls in, but if the lack of price immediately strays customer away----time to re-think that strategy.
Also, the pictures do matter! When polled used car shoppers highly noted that a "bad background" of the online photo negatively affected decision to call dealership. Dirty upholstery, fingerprints on glass, leaves, sleet rain, these can all effect buying decisions. Nothing should confuse buyers from the high quality of the used cars you have featured! Take the time to hire a professional, crop the photos, portray their worth this way and positively promote your dealership through pictures. Your online photos could be the first, and last, impression the consumer may ever get of your inventory.
Remember----"Cutting the advertising budget is like stopping the hands on a clock"
Here's to a profitable holiday season!