Summer usually brings tent sales, big manufacturer incentives, and offers, including interest-free financing. But this summer? It’s all out the window. The current new vehicle crisis probably means your pipeline is already sold out and you have a stack of customer orders.
Yet consumers are still eager to buy. It’s time to get creative and launch a summer marketing strategy to acquire quality used vehicles. This approach will help you maintain your turnover and maintain your profits.
Dealerships across the country are struggling to sell used cars, especially older, higher-mileage models that sell quickly for an above-average profit. And there’s a lot of profit to be made; the average price of a used car today exceeds $34,000. That’s almost $10,000 more than in 2021.
Turn to your database, not auctions
Buying at auction is not the way to go. You must outbid everyone else in the lane, then pay the bid, shipping, and delivery charges. Instead, leverage your database and third-party partners to create a marketing strategy that brings vehicles to you.
One idea is to turn your summer tent sale into a buy event. Have all your salespeople ready to provide free vehicle appraisals and offers for every driver that comes along.
Yes, it is very likely that you do not have the necessary inventory to immediately integrate them into a new vehicle. Be prepared to explain the vehicle shortage and your ordering process. Guarantee your offer on the current vehicle is good if they put down a deposit for a new vehicle. Make the exchange upon delivery of the vehicle.
I’ve seen dealerships succeed recently with leasing buyout campaigns. Use the data mining tool in your CRM to create a targeted list of customers with a year or more remaining on the lease term. Offer an early return without penalty and get them into a new vehicle with the same payment.
Another strategy is to send vehicle reviews to customers. Your CRM’s buy-back tool can help you view inventory on the road and account for mileage. Send customers an email or short text telling them the value of their vehicles and offering to upgrade them for the same monthly payment. People like to see equity in their vehicles, and it’s a pressure-free way to keep your dealership top of mind.
Consider private sellers
The trend to shop on the street is also heating up right now, but there are best practices to follow. Don’t take a high-pressure sales approach. Build trust with a low-key offer and emphasize that you’re ready to buy the vehicle even if the owner isn’t buying from you.
Keep in mind that many private sellers may be hesitant to sell to a dealership. Create a list of the benefits of working with your store versus a private buyer. For example, your dealership isn’t going to lower them, or have financing issues, or put them on their feet during a vehicle visit.
Adopt a clear and short message
Pair your marketing tactics with consistent messages across all platforms, including your website, social media, TV and radio. Consider purchasing a banner ad from third-party marketplaces to reach more people. The message can be as simple as “We buy any trade”.
Finally, leverage your partners with recovery tools. Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, for example, can help you create campaigns and acquire vehicles.
Your dealership needs quality cars you can sell to maintain revenue and profitability. A summer marketing strategy to bring in vehicles is a win-win for getting the used vehicles you need to make more sales.
Amanda Acio (picture above) is Vice President of Universal Products at Elead/CDK Global.