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Thinking Outside the Dealership: Unique Ways for Sales Professionals to Drum Up Their Own Customers

It’s no secret that success in auto sales requires much more effort than simply taking ups on the sales floor. You cannot let your own success be determined by how successful the dealership’s ads are. You must find your own ways to drum up business.

So, what are some ways for you to creatively generate your own sales and find your own loyal customer base? Here are a few creative suggestions for you to try:


Although networking is as old as sales itself, surprisingly few salespeople fully utilize this strategy to create opportunities. Each of us is literally connected to scores of potential buyers through our own connections and the connections of others. Your job is to get out and communicate with your network.

Networking is much more fun when you think outside the box. Trade shows, community events, and volunteer opportunities are a great place to start. Don’t go with the intent to pass out cards and sell cars. Go with the idea that you want to make 5 (or more) new friends while you are there.

Talk to them. Find out what they do and who they know. Connect the dots with potential mutual acquaintances. It makes the world a smaller place. Make sure they know what you do, but don’t try to sell. Get contact info and connect with them through phone, email or social media.

Don’t forget to connect with other businesses in your area. For example, everyone who has a car should have car insurance. Make it your goal to get to know the top insurance agents in your area. You can send them referrals for insurance and they can send you referrals every time someone totals their vehicle and needs a new one. Opportunities like this abound in the world of networking.

Connect with customers

It should be second nature to follow up with your past customers, but I would propose taking it a step further. Make it a goal to call one past customer every week just to chat. This may not work with every customer, but you should definitely have customers in mind that you felt a connection with. Show them that you care about them and want to make sure everything is going well for them.

The idea is to build relationships. They have already bought from you. This means there is already some level of trust. Build on that by staying in touch. When you reach out, ask questions and really listen. Find out what’s important to them and take notes. Don’t focus on selling, but make sure they know you are ready to help them and their family and friends with anything vehicle-related.

Mine the archives

If your dealership is like most, there is probably a constant flow of sales people coming and going. The question you need to ask yourself is: who is following up with customers who bought from former salespeople? Take a look at the archives and reach out to those who have been abandoned.

Brand yourself

Some of the most successful salespeople I have ever met have branded themselves independent of their dealership. Their customer base comes to buy from them, regardless of what dealership they are at because they know the kind of service they will get.

Loyalty like this only comes from taking your chosen profession very seriously.

Take the time to learn your craft. You must study and learn the product and solutions available to you. Work to position yourself as an expert in your field.  Consider building your own website, or social media page where you can share your knowledge and experiences and connect with and grow your following.

If you attain expert status with a big enough following to validate you, it could open doors to be on local radio or television, or other forums requiring the opinion of an expert. This would obviously lead to even more exposure and sales.

These are just a few suggestions. There are many more creative ways to make sales happen. The idea is to open your mind and try new things. So, get out there and get to work! Happy selling!









Ken Strong
Ken Strong
Retail automotive veteran and writer for

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