CrossCheck Blog

CrossCheck Blog

Check Processing & Payments Information

Increase Auto Sales with One Payment Tool and Creative Promotions

Posted by Brandon Weaver | Mon, Jun 08, 2015 @ 01:47 PM

How_Can_I_Increase_Sales_at_My_Auto_DealershipMay’s seasonally adjusted annual auto sales rate topped out at 17.8 million vehicles, the highest mark since July 2005, which would have to mean, according to popular misconceptions, that dealerships have been raking it in. Car buyers, in fact, believe auto dealers make upwards of 20% per sale of a $30,000 new car.

In the real world, the average 2014 pretax profit for auto dealerships was only 2.2%. It’s expected to remain the same for 2015. So the real question is this: What can you do to increase volume?

Auto Dealers’ Tiered Ranking System

You know how much that matters. You have sales quotas to meet and competitors to beat. Some auto manufacturers have incentive programs for their family of dealerships with specified sales tiers to attain. And when you reach each specified level, your corporate headquarters may reward you in-kind. As the old idiom goes, to the victor goes the spoils.

Maybe your corporate headquarters incentivizes you with:

  •          Advertising dollars to promote your dealership
  •          All-expenses paid vacation to a destination of your choice
  •          Complimentary, hospitality suite tickets to NASCAR

WOM Advertising

But the most important reward isn’t tangible. Hit your mark and you can boast in your commercials, direct mail and email: “#1 auto dealer!”

That gets people talking, and, according to the Foresight Research 2014 Word of Mouth Immersion Report™, “almost one-third of new auto buyers were moderately or completely influenced by word of mouth.”

As much as your advertising drives website and on-site visits; consumers rely heavily on what friends, family, and other buyers have to say about specific car models and auto dealerships.

The same report suggests that a group of highly influential buyers who account for 15% of the buyer population, generating an astounding 59% of the word of mouth. Taking May’s 17.8 million numbers into account, that 15% equates to 2,670,000 new vehicles bought based on word of mouth! With such high numbers like that, it is easy to see why “WOM is a prominent influencer in new auto purchases.”

Then there is the Facebook factor. According to the marketing research company Digital Air Strike™, 43% of car buyers would use Facebook to search for a local dealership. 59% of car shoppers would “trust” a review from a Facebook friend more than reviews found elsewhere.

Auto dealer word of mouth is not just about the initial sale, either. Vehicle maintenance is just as important. The better care you take of your customers, the higher likelihood they are to spread positive WOM – online or otherwise:

  •          Do you provide free shuttle service?
  •          Do you offer free wifi, coffee, and snacks while they wait?
  •          Are you sending reminder emails?

Never stop asking yourself and your staff: What’s our social media reputation? How’s our online rating? What’s our public perception?

Traffic Ads

People spend a lot of time in their cars looking at other cars. Thus, license plate frames that showcase important dealership contact information can promote your business during the commute.

Many drivers leave the dealer license plate frame intact without replacing it. Case in point: I bought my car in 2008 and to this day, my license plate still has the original “Hayward Toyota” frame highlighting the phone number and website.

With as much time as drivers spend in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or parked, your dealership gets its name out there free of charge.

Lifetime Customer Relationships

These often start with a test drive. But traditional test drives are often not enough to close the deal. Test drives are notoriously short and have pre-determined routes.

Consider taking a cue from Lexus of Lehigh Valley which offers overnight test drives. With this overnight car-sampling technique, drivers get more time with the vehicle, drive it like they would if they owned it, and can park in their own garage. As a result, more than half of car shoppers eventually return to this Lexus dealer to buy the car.

Or you could take an even more dramatic approach, such as the lifetime warranty offered by Mountain View Nissan in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Turn “Denials into Dollars”

But ultimately your customer needs to make the dollars match the deal. A proven method to increase new car down payments – and vehicle service orders – is offering a Multiple Check payment service. Car dealers know this service as “hold check.” It’s a payment method that is flexible for car buyers allowing them to write up to four checks for the down payment, which are guaranteed payments for you. Turn denials into dollars with Multiple Check.

hold check, multiple check

Topics: Auto Dealerships

Written by Brandon Weaver