Overall US automotive sales slipped ever so slightly year-over-year in 2017. The clientele is out there, ready to buy up vehicle inventory with a fairly stable economy and a job market that’s improving. While there certainly are car buyers ready with cash in hand, getting them to buy a vehicle at your store instead of the competition is the tough part.

Sales processes have evolved, and the traditional way of selling cars is losing its effectiveness. Dealers an salespeople who resist change and continue to do things the way they’ve always been done can expect their sales numbers in 2018 to slip. If you don’t want to sell as many cars in 2018, keep doing these five things.

Advertise in Print

According to a Journalism.com report, newspaper readership in print declined 8 percent in 2016 from the previous year. That stat is accelerating as more people read news online and papers are left on the stand. Spending money on print ads was effective in the past but that tide is turning.

Instead of purchasing traditional newspaper or publication print ads, target your desired readers online. A digital marketing agency will help you create campaigns that are efficient and command responses.

Target Male Car Shoppers

Nearly 80 percent of automotive industry personnel are male. Vehicle ads are often highly masculine and dealerships center around the male-dominated industry. But in contrast, 65 percent of new car buyers are women sand 80 percent of car purchases are influenced by women.

It used to be the male ‘head of the household’ that was targeted for major decisions like vehicle purchases, but that’s no longer as effective. Create appeal for female car shoppers to choose your store, whether it’s hiring more female staff, changing how you advertise, or the processes you implement in the showroom.  

Skip the Walkaround

Once customers have entered your showroom, you need to keep them there. Certain parts of the sales process are prone to be rushed or skipped altogether, and that’s where you lose car sales.

Build a relationship with the shopper and nurture interest in the car itself with a thorough, knowledgeable walkaround. And no walkaround is complete without a test drive. According to the Center for Performance Improvement, most car buyers still want to enjoy the driving experience.

Negotiate Based on Price

Car buyers spend more than eight hours, on average, researching a car before setting foot in the dealership. They know the list price, and it’s going to come up at some point in the sales process. But as soon as price is the focus of the shopping experience, you’ve either lost the sale or all the gross profit.

Instead, negotiate based on terms whenever possible. The price isn’t a major objection; the customer has already seen that number. It just needs to fit into their lifestyle. While being transparent on price, present financing or lease terms to base the conversation on, not the total sale price.

Sell the Car, Not the Dealership

Very few urban areas have just one dealership of any car brand within driving distance. Car shoppers have an option aside from your dealership – one that has the same product you have. When the car is the focus of the sale, you aren’t setting yourself apart and the customer has no reason to stay and buy from you.

Make the shopping experience about just that: an experience in the dealership. If the car is right for the client, it will sell itself. Rather, show the customer what makes you different, both personally and as a company.


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