Automotive dealerships should maintain customer communication even with low or no inventory. It is important to continue to enhance your dealership marketing strategy, as it is still critical among continuing disruptions to the Automotive Inventory Shortages.
Customer demand has remained steady. Fill the funnel and keep it full.
Sell Your Pre-Orders
This is the new way of buying a new vehicle and customers are starting to understand the process, so continue to educate them and start filling your pre-order sales! Sell to customers for 6-9 months from now.
Dealerships need to think proactively when it comes to engaging with potential customers and educating them with the ‘New Sales Expectations’ of Pre-Order Vehicle Sales. Retrain your customers about the new way of buying. Offering Pre-Orders allows dealerships experiencing inventory shortages the opportunity to continue engaging new vehicle customers.
Instead of trying to convince your customers into purchasing a vehicle that doesn’t fit all their needs, because that’s all you have left on the lot (which decreases dealer survey scores), Pre-Orders enable customers to get the vehicle they want, when they need it.
Since Pre-Order Sales is ‘new’ to customers, it’s important to adjust your marketing strategies to be transparent with the process, speak to the convenience of the New Vehicle Process, and offer your customers peace of mind. Introduce your customers to the idea of ordering and reserving vehicles they want as a new normal option for car shopping, empowering them to stay ahead of the rush when new vehicle deliveries arrive.
Vehicle Demand is Still High
As new vehicle production continues to take a hit with shortages, consumer demand for used vehicles has risen, driving prices even higher than in previous years. There have been historically high auction prices and increased competition for pre-owned vehicles. Dealers need to be strategic on how to acquire pre-owned inventory from various sources in the market – loyalty, service and conquest customers.
Stand out from the competition when looking for these opportunities that are mutually beneficial to your dealership and your customers. Target customers who are in the position to lower their payments with a strategy that is particularly valuable to them, as interest rates have been reaching low levels. Or target your finance and lease customers who are 6 months away from end-of-term, with the same approach.
Or do something completely different from the competition with a marketing strategy to target customers with negative equity or higher interest rates and influence them to look at in-demand models with an incredible trade-in value which will show trust and goodwill.
Increase Retention in your Service Department
With the change of inventory shortages, customers are now more willing to hold onto their vehicles longer than normal. Now is the time to use your Service Department to engage and retain buyers, keeping your dealership and services top-of-mind when it comes time for customers to service (and buy). The Service Department offers countless opportunities to proactively engage customers, build rapport and promote customer loyalty long after the initial vehicle sale. Satisfied customers should be considered as valuable prospects in the sales and service funnel. Outside of regular maintenance visits, look at opportunities to engage with your customers with relevant needs, such as marketing specific maintenance plans, services and accessory specials or complimentary vehicle inspections, especially seasonally.
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford
The rippling effect of ongoing production and inventory shortages are proving why dealers, regardless of supply, cannot afford to pause on marketing efforts. Staying in consistent communication with your customers – even if your dealership has low or no inventory – empowers dealers to secure future success, regardless of what lies ahead.
If dealers go ‘dark’ on marketing, and vehicle supply comes back, why would consumers think about you? You need to keep investing in marketing and it will pay forward down the road. If you’re not out there marketing, you’re invisible and someone else will get that sale when there is inventory.
Do it now before your competition does.