The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and it’s a little chillier outside. Your location in the United States might also change your attitude toward the onset of winter. From a dealership perspective, we’ll offer some advice on improving your winter marketing messages.
While you can certainly follow some OEM messaging here, our best suggestions for the fixed ops department are to follow what people will be relying upon most when the pavement gets cold and the potential for snow and ice becomes high.
We suggest using any method you have, to tell people about services including their vehicle’s heater in addition to brakes and new tires, as the first snowfall is often what teaches people a bit more about tread depth – and why they can’t move well on the road.
Batteries are quite important, too. Email campaigns and mailers about battery offers will get some customers in your dealership.
The body shop can get tricky – mostly because of timing. Depending on where you live, a simple snowfall can cause hundreds of accidents and fender benders.
The trick here is having the right amount of staff ready for a potential sudden influx of battered vehicles. Our general suggestion for the body shop is to advertise the speed at which people can get their vehicles fast and the ability to handle insurance claims. Some car owners don’t trust their insurance and want to make little contact with them, so making the necessary phone calls and emails to their insurance is a big plus.
Car Sales in Winter
Admittedly, I am from the upper Midwest. Car sales slow down right after Labor Day and pick up very briefly toward the end of the year when we advertise tax savings for businesses.
Some of your winter marketing messages will depend on both the manufacturer’s desire to give better discounts and the perception that buying a vehicle in the winter will fix something. We can do plenty of all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive ads for our big trucks and SUVs.
Another suggestion here is giving people a reason to get out of the house. Whether you live in the South where snow is not abundant or somewhere in the North or Northeast where people tend to drive through snow anyway, it’s a good call to plan some of your indoor events in the winter just to get people to at least look at cars and maybe add some energy to your show floor.
To be fair, this might not pay off right away, but the people who show up tend to be loyal and might return around tax time to find a car.
Winter can be a challenging time for car sales and the rest of the dealership industry including service and body shop. Having the right winter marketing messages, and preparing for slow periods and sudden influxes, can help keep winter a bit more lively.