Like most sectors, the automotive industry has its cycles. Generally, those selling cars can expect slumps in the winter and summer, with things picking back up in spring and fall.
We’re currently in the midst of one of those natural peaks, which takes place from September through November and drops off when the holidays approach. This wave may be due to manufacturers releasing new models at this time. Cars can typically go for higher prices during this peak, and if a dealership is proactive they can leverage this period for even larger benefits and carry the successes of the season to the rest of the year.
With that in mind, here are four ideas for maximizing this year’s peak season.
1. Membership Offers
If you are not already offering memberships, now is the perfect time to break them out. While foot traffic may be high now, lean times are coming from December through February. Memberships can go a long way to increasing both repeat visits and revenue during the typically dry months, as they encourage consumers to come to you for services they may have otherwise taken elsewhere. Even if they never show up for an oil change, though, you will still have benefited, as with a membership the dues are paid no matter what.
2. Reward Loyalty
On the subject of membership, the peak season is a great time to offer loyalty programs and rewards. A customer may balk at spending money upfront on a membership package. However, if you punch a card each time they come, and offer a small reward for completion, they’re likely to return for more services. Unroll a loyalty program now while business is quick.
3. Take to the Internet
Knowing that this is a high time when many are considering buying, you may be tempted to pump the breaks a bit on your advertising. After all, people are coming to you. Specifically, you may think of easing up on social media and internet marketing, as those are areas that really take a lot of energy and time if you want them to pay off.
However, now is when you should get even more aggressive online. Use this time to really connect with customers and build your base and brand further. Make videos, chat with customers via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and make sure your website is up-to-date. The buyer pool is vast right now; make sure you are the one customers are coming to when they Google dealerships in their area.
4. Take Notes
The 21st Century is a data-driven era. Data helps us understand our customers more than ever. If you’re experiencing an uptick in foot traffic right now, take the time to compile some notes on who comes, what they look at, and other shopping patterns. If possible, make an easy checklist or form for your sales team to fill out after each customer encounter. At the same time, offer a quick survey for customers to take when they leave or after they buy. Once peak season’s over, sit down and have a look at all the data you’ve gathered. It’s likely you’ll learn something new about your customer demographics and needs. This information can inform future marketing strategies, making you more competitive year-round.