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7 to do's when things are slow at the dealership

Whether you are in a seasonal lull or restrictions in your area have caused a decrease in traffic, there are still marketing and sales tactics that you can do to set your business up for success and separate you from the competition. 

  1. Fine tune your digital customer journey
    Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Where would you go to find your products? What would your search for? What would you click on? refining your sales process starts with becoming your own customer and experiencing their journey. Visit your website and classified sites such as Craigslist or eBay. Submit an online lead. Call the store. Are your call tracking numbers routing properly? Are all your social media links working as expected on your website? What is the auto-response you get once you submit the lead? How is it assigned in our CRM? Acting as the customer, do you understand what you should expect next? Document your process on the customer side of the journey and update your internal process to make it even better. Remember, the customer will shop in a manner that is convenient for THEM, not what is best for YOU!
  2. Walk through your in-store sales process
    Next time you drive to the dealership, imagine as if it is your first time coming there and take note of what is good and what could be updated. As a customer, is the outside of your dealership inviting? Is it clear where you should park or where to go for service? How do the vehicles look? Are they clean and ready to go, or have you missed a spot or two? How does your sales team respond and greet a customer when they walk into the store? Once greeted by the sales team, what happens next is important. We need to introduce ourselves and gather the key details but not in a robotic way or without seeming fake. Are we putting every lead into the CRM including the lead source? We can’t measure what we don’t collect and will never be able to understand our ROI of marketing if we don’t complete this for walk ups, just like internet and phone leads.
  3. Review your CRM and how it is used
    Take a look at contact records and make sure that there are fields that you need, not just for the sales team but also for marketing. Then make sure that your sales team is actually filling those fields out. It can be difficult to justify the few extra minutes, but when your customers feel like they are being given the time, both in store and behind the scenes, they are more likely to trust your dealership and ultimately buy with you. Once you have the data that you need you should have an email cadence that is different for each lead type. They may not vary much, but they should be different. Ensure that your emails don’t say "Dear [First Name], thanks for your interest in our [Year] [Make] [Model]" but that they actually pull the proper words from your CRM. And don't forget, if you have salespeople leave the organization, reassign the customers to another salesperson so that no leads are left out in the cold.
  4. Snap some photos and videos
    Before looking at any description or details, a customer looks at photos and videos. Although many dealerships will go directly to stock photos, customers want to see real photos of the vehicle that they may buy. Worried about spending money on a photographer? Thankfully almost every cell phone has a professional grade camera built in! Simply walk around your inventory getting each angle, front, back, left, right, and don't forget the interior. Get up close shots of the upgrades or things that make this vehicle different than others. And don't forget to shoot a video or two! These don't need to be long, 30 seconds to a minute max, and can be as simple as introducing yourself, your dealership, and announcing the inventory that you have available. Did you know that Google will index your videos and give you more SEO results for having them on your website? Every piece of inventory, used and new, needs several photos and at least one video. While it’s slower, take this time to get caught up and make a process to stay on top of it on a regular basis.
  5. Review Your Marketing Spend
    Gather your bills and budget to take a look at all of your spend. Is there something in there that surprises you or that you forgot you were purchasing? Before you cross something off your budget, consider your current customers, leads, and especially lead sources. Does your spending line up with where your customers are coming from? Now may be the time to invest more in certain digital initiatives and cut back on others. Do you have separate initiatives and budgets for new vs. used inventory? If something isn't working, don't throw away more money on it. Put your money towards the mediums, campaigns, and promotions that you know are working. 
  6. Ask Google
    Google your business! If you have not yet claimed your GMB (Google My Business) account this is the time to do it. On the right-hand side, you will see your GMB results. Included will be your business name, photos, map, phone number, address, and more. There you can find a link to claim and manage the listing. This is the first impression that many of your customers will have. Is all this information up to date and correct? Do you reviews have a response? Ask yourself if yourself if you would buy from your own dealership.
  7. Continue Education
    None of these to-do's will be successful if you and your team do not uphold them. Work one-on-one with your sales team to have them learn the best way to use your CRM and learn why it is so important. Have each member of your sales team give a walk around of the inventory, practicing their pitch of the features of each unit and how it stacks against the competition. Find training courses and seminars. Research the latest marketing strategies and tools. While things are slow, its easy to get discouraged easily. Stay positive and improve upon what is done well.

Although we could go on, this was just few ideas that can improve your dealership both now and for the future! Need a little help? Chat with our experts and let our automated tools take some of this off your hands.