When your goal is to bring in more customers to your dealership, there’s no better way to do that than running a sales promotion. While many dealerships rinse and repeat the same promotions throughout the year, we think it’s usually best to mix it up. That’s why we came up with 10 sales promotions for dealerships to use throughout the year.
In the automotive industry, loyalty from repeat customers is not rewarded as much as it should be. Typically, repeat customers haggle far less than new customers and they’re also a great source to get referrals. An example of how you could do a loyalty sale is by doubling up. Say for example Honda is running a loyalty program where they offer a $1000 rebate for repeat customers. As a dealership, you should offer to match that discount so customers can actually get a $2000 rebate. Not only can this get you more immediate sales but it can also help you continue to grow a repeat customer base.
If you’re looking for a creative way to bring in more walk-ins, offering back-to-school packages is a great way to do that. All you need to do is get some basic school supplies and put together a few dozen packages for people to come to pick up at no cost! This is only a promotion you’ll be able to run in August and the beginning of September but it can be an easy way to get some leads. If you want to take this promotion to the next level, consider offering laptops and Ipads as incentives for anyone who purchases a vehicle.
Despite maintenance being a costly expense, most car buyers don’t take the cost of maintenance into consideration when buying a car. The way to take advantage of this is by letting the customers know how much on average maintenance on a car will cost over a 1 to 3 year period. Now that you’ve shown how much maintenance costs on average for customers, you can push your promotion. It could be as simple as, “buy a car from us and get free maintenance for three years” or “buy a car from us to be entered in a draw to win free vehicle maintenance for life.” It’s up to you to decide how you want to do the giveaway, but we’d recommend mixing it up and trying different things. In our experience, we usually recommend that you keep these promotions to a weekend or a week at maximum.
People love personalization, especially on a purchase as big of a vehicle. This promotion works exceptionally well with the millennial generation. All you need to do is offer a customization promotion where the car buyer gets between $250-$1000 in vehicle customization with the purchase of their vehicle. This could allow the customer to throw on some more expensive rims, tint the windows and a whole lot more. If promoting this online, be sure to set your target demographic to the younger generations as they will be the ones most likely to take advantage of this offer!
Customers show a lot of value in businesses that give back to the community and to charitable organizations. While it’s always great to be involved in your community in some shape or form, you can take it to the next level with a donation event. Creating this promotion is simple, offer to make a charitable donation to any part of the community or charity of the customers choice if they purchase a vehicle. At the end of the event, you can tally up the total amount donated and share it on social media for further promotion.
Making your dealership dog-friendly is an incredibly cheap way to bring customers and their dogs into your dealership. All you need to do is set up an area on your lot (preferably a grass area), set out some obstacles, toys, water dishes and treats and you’re ready. Ideally, you pick out a warm month so people will be more likely to come. Once it’s prepped, advertise the heck out of it on social media and through emails. Having this many people coming by to visit for an entire month is sure to get you some leads.
Everyone loves free food so it can be said with certainty that if you advertise your community barbecue well, you’re sure to bring in some people. While most promotions should be done at your dealership, the community barbecue can be held anywhere in town. If you do decide to host the barbecue somewhere other than your dealership, be sure to bring a few nice models to have on display at the barbecue. This allows any potential customers to come to talk to you and ask questions without any pressure. Be sure to share photos from the barbecue on social media, hand out business cards and get contact information from the people who seem interested in buying a car with you. Not only can this get you some valuable leads but it will also lead to more awareness about your dealership to the community.
Having a clean car is a great feeling for anyone, so if you can offer to do a free car wash every Saturday for a month, you’re sure to get some customers. The wash would be done on your lot by the detailers at your dealership. While customers are waiting to get their vehicles washed, have a sales manager ask if they can do a trade-in appraisal. The customer will likely be much easier to speak with as their vehicle is being washed, giving you the opportunity to take a non-pressured approach to sell a vehicle. This is a very cheap way to get advertising as all you need are cleaning supplies and the costs of paying for the detailers to clean for a few hours.
People love cars, so why not take advantage of this by hosting a car show at your dealership. Hosting a car show is simple, clear out a portion of your lot and let anyone with a sports car, hot-rod or classic car register for free to put their vehicle on display. If your dealership has some slick vehicles, put them on display as well. Hosting a car show is just about bringing people to your dealership and spreading awareness about your business. It may not generate any immediate leads, but it will be a good reminder to anyone that is looking for a vehicle in the future that your dealership exists.
As a franchised dealership, you probably know about Ride and Drive events. But don’t think that these events can only be made possible by the manufacturer, any dealership can offer these events so long as they’re insured. Hosting these events allow consumers to get a good look at the vehicle and even test drive the vehicle in an extremely low-pressure environment. The most important part of this event for you is the collection of data. Any person who wants to do a test drive will need to provide their personal information. This is great for you as you can potentially treat the more interested customers as leads and try to work a sale in the days following.
Most automobile enthusiasts are well aware that frigid winter temperatures can adversely affect the total driving range of an electric vehicle (EV). This quirk is often cited by proponents of gasoline-powered cars as a reason why EVs may face challenges in certain regions. However, recent research from Automotive News suggests that extreme heat can have similar, if not more significant, impacts on EV range.
Car dealerships today still have a bad rap for playing games with their customers. Whether it’s dodging questions, using high-pressure techniques to book appointments, or doing bait & switch tricks with sales offers, these all hurt your dealership's reputation. Playing games and being deceitful in your business may let you walk away with a few lucky deals but it will ultimately hurt you in the long run. Today, customers are smart and aware of the stigma associated with car salespeople so you need to be ethical and provide a transparent sales process.
News has emerged that Ford Motor Company is planning to incorporate the necessary hardware for BlueCruise, a semi-autonomous driving system designed to compete with GM's SuperCruise and Tesla's Autopilot, into an extensive number of 2024-model-year vehicles. However, it appears that utilizing this feature may come at an additional cost.