Being a successful car dealership is much more than attracting customers, efficiency among your departments, and selling cars. Those are all the basics any dealer can tell you are necessary to run a dealership business. We’re talking about knowing your market, which means understanding who you are marketing to instead of assuming everyone is a customer. That won’t do you any good if you aren’t able to meet their wants and needs.
Here are five tips on how any dealership can conquer their market:
1. Leverage Your Geography: A car dealership based in southern California is going to have a different market than one in northern Vermont. That’s why you want to make sure your inventory accurately reflects the area you are located in. From there, you can create promotional events and sales specifically for that region. For example, a Winter Clearance event on all 4-wheel drive pickups and SUVs would do well in Vermont, but may not make sense in sunny California.
2. Make Sure Sales Knows Your Inventory Inside And Out: In the 1950s, car makers did a great job educating their salesmen on how to sell against the competition. They developed training materials, crib sheets, and other sales aids. This is a lost art these days and is nonexistent with used cars. If your sales team took the time to look up the models in your inventory and study the safety features, performance, and options, they will come across as experts in the models they are selling, build buyer confidence and close more deals. You’ll have a better idea of what your customers want, and as a result, it’ll affect what cars you choose to have on your lot.
3. Study Customer Demographics: By having a better understanding of who the majority of your customers are, you can also determine the right cars to sell. What is the average age of your customers? Are they single professionals or families? By knowing who your customer is, you’re able to make the car buying process less of a transaction and more of an enjoyable experience by perfectly matching a car to your customers based on who they are and what their wants and needs are.
4. Have the Right Cars Ready: Knowing what your customers want will help inform your acquisition decisions, but even acquiring the right vehicle won’t help if you don’t have ready and available when the customer arrives. Your make-ready process needs to be in sync with your sales operation, to ensure the cars you need are ready and available. Keep your reconditioning operation efficient to ensure your cars are frontline-ready when you need them. Management software from companies such as AutoMobile Technologies can help keep your recon employees and vendors focused and fast.
5. Create Customer Loyalty: Dealerships can create customer loyalty in several different ways. Where a lot of dealerships fail in this department is by letting customers go as soon as they drive away in their new car. As a result, there’s a negative stigma surrounding car dealerships assuming a dealer only cares about a customer to get the sale. If you want to conquer your market, show how much you appreciate your customers (including previous ones) by sending emails, service coupons, follow up calls, and more. If a dealership goes out of its way to make a former customer feel valued, they’ll remember and let people know.
Conquering your market as a dealership is not as simple as target advertising and selling an SUV to a couple who are expanding their family. It’s about connecting with the area you serve and creating a relationship with your customers that is far more valuable than any sale. After all, customer loyalty is one of the most useful things any business can have. Although you can’t buy customer loyalty, you can conquer your market and establish a name for yourself in the area you serve. Follow the above tips and stay consistent, and you’ll become the dealership to beat.