Giant inflatable gorillas. Wavy arm men. Giant letters sandwiched between car hoods and engines shouting “SALE” at everyone driving by. These are the telltale signs that a dealership is having some sort of special sale or tent event. The question is, do these type automotive event sales still work? Or, have consumers started to believe that these signs imply a pushy, high pressure atmosphere that will lead to them buying a car that doesn’t fit their needs for more money than they want to spend?
NO MORE INFLATABLE GORILLAS: THE REBIRTH OF AUTO EVENT PROMOTIONS
To figure out the answers to these questions, we need to look at where automotive event sales started and why they were successful, what happened to reduce their effectiveness, and finally, what are our options to bring them back to their previous glory?
The automotive industry started running events and generating real interest in our stores and products years ago. These were the glory days of automotive event sales, when customers believed the ads and were enticed in to get that deal. Then something changed. Many dealers started viewing their customers as adversaries, attempting to “get what they could get” from every customer that came through the door.
“Customers aren’t loyal, after all. They only buy a car every few years. Why not make as much as we can off of them since they wouldn’t be coming back any ways?”
Thanks to this thinking and some dicey tactics the automotive industry has become widely known as untrustworthy, but given the number of honest dealers we see running good, trustworthy event sales, we think this reputation is unfounded.
So how do we fix automotive event sales for good?
Frankly, the automotive industry has a choice to make. Do we continue down the path of deceiving customers to get them on the lot or do we work to build lasting relationships?
Today, there are dealerships all across the nation entertaining both of these tactics, and the progressive dealerships that embrace the idea of trust building will win out in the long run. Here are three important ways you can help build trust in your dealership as you run your next event sale:
Is your marketing professional and trustworthy in appearance? Does your direct mail or e-mail look like it could be from the OEM or does it look like it was made in Microsoft Paint? Also, make sure it’s not too busy or complicated. People will form an opinion about your marketing before they even read the message behind it.
2. Word of Mouth
This is important both online and offline. Is the event exciting enough that your employees will talk about it and share it on their social media pages? If not, maybe you should rethink the event. If your employees are excited then your customers will be too. Take advantage of this event on your social media by posting pictures of all the winners. Put a recap in your newsletter and video if possible.
3. Remember the Objective of the Event is to Generate Revenue
Selling cars isn’t the only way to create new revenue. Make sure your staff and marketing materials focus on everything your dealership has to offer from service, to refinancing assistance, to service contracts, add-ons and more.
We need to think about making changes if we want to continue to thrive in the age of information. What questions or concerns do you have about running an event sale that generates trust in your dealership?
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