Celebrations are one easy way to draw customers into your dealership, and between anniversaries, holidays and other special occasions, there is almost always a reason to throw a big bash.
However, you may have found that parties and advertising can get pricey, especially if you’re looking to make a mark every time you throw a celebration. It doesn’t have to be, though, as one dealership in Birmingham, Alabama discovered this year.
The Adamson Ford dealership in Birmingham celebrated their centennial anniversary this year. At first, they looked to event planning and ad companies to come up with ways to capitalize on the special occasion, but quickly realized they’d be unable to afford the cost of professional services.
They, therefore, decided to look inward and challenged each of their six departments to come up with two events. The teams received a budget, and when they were through brainstorming, they’d outlined twelve unique events to cover the twelve months of the special year. The kickoff event was a partnership with Operation Kidsafe, a program that promotes fingerprinting and child safety. The idea is to collect information on children that can be utilized by law enforcement in the case of a tragedy. The dealership made the occasion child-friendly by creating a carnival atmosphere, complete with a bounce house and hotdogs.
Other events included a free crawfish boil where raffle tickets were sold to raise funds for a young man at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama who’s awaiting a heart transplant. The dealership also hosted a motorcycle poker run in conjunction with Lyme Disease Awareness Month. So far, all of their events have been a success. They’ve created a buzz for themselves in Birmingham, and have attracted a broader customer base than they’ve ever had before. Not bad for one hundred.
Dealerships can harness that same success. Looking at Adamson Ford’s example, there are two key components to emulate.
#1. Look Inward
When they couldn’t afford outside help, Adamson focused internally and asked their staff to generate ideas. Our teams are an often underutilized superpower. While hired for their job skills, your staff are much more than their nine-to-five description. They can offer you unique insights and solutions, but usually need to be asked. Cultivate a company culture where staff feels comfortable coming forward with ideas, and you’ll be surprised how quickly they generate them.
#2. Community Participation
Another significant move Adamson Ford made was that they did not restrict their celebratory events to car-related ones. Instead, they looked for ways to participate in their community. Whether it was welcoming in families or partnering with programs their area cares about, they understood that community interaction comes with a considerable advantage when applied to sales. People want to feel like their dealership sees them as more than a bottom line. They appreciate seeing you do something for them or giving back. You too can tap into this resource by noting what causes or activities your neighborhood enjoys and cater to the crowd. Forget about cars for a day and open yourselves up to providing a good time. Don’t worry: your visitors will still see the cars on their way in and out, and what’s more is that they’ll see you as someone they can befriend and trust when the time arrives to make their next purchase.
Put these two practices in place, and you can expect to see big results with little down.