Tax season is here, stimulus checks are being issued, and people are itching for an excuse to leave their house as the weather warms up. If you’re like many dealers in America, you’re hoping to see the current circumstances result in a spike in sales. Though overall sales were down slightly in February compared to this time last year (15.7M compared to 16.6M last year), there’s still room for optimism.
A recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) backs this up. It found that 10% percent of Americans plan to put their refund toward a major purchase, such as a vehicle. Overall, more people are planning to put their refund into savings this year (54%), but it’s encouraging to note that the percentage of people who plan to spend it on a major purchase has held steady from last year.
But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait for shoppers to roll onto your lot (or through your virtual showroom). Here are three tips for bringing in more sales this season.
Not only were vehicle sales in May up from April, they were better than expected—a welcome surprise for the automotive sector. The increased sales numbers came after COVID-19 caused dealership closures, a shift to online sales and appointments, declining confidence in job security, and one of the largest stimulus programs in the history of the US. And while many view these sales results as a leading indicator of growth in the sector, the better-than-expected sales numbers were more likely a result of pent-up demand and market tailwinds.
Below, I’ll dive into the five tailwinds propelling sales numbers the most.
How you manage each potential customers’ experience with your dealership is critical to closing the sale
Customers in the market for a car don’t just follow a straight line from wanting to buying. They shift between on and offline resources an estimated four times, but it’s the dealership that almost always closes with an average of 2.4 visits per sale. It’s clear: how you respond to repeat visitors clearly matters.
The car business attracts all types of buyers: some folks buy cars on impulse, like a bag of chips in the checkout line, while others spend days, weeks, or even months searching for the right car, deal, and dealership. Regardless of the type of buyer though, life can get in the way sometimes, causing car shopping to get put on the back burner.
In my former life as a BDC Director at a six-store dealer group, I found that timing was one of the main reasons why even our most effective lead sources converted at only 10%-12%. It wasn’t because the customers weren’t serious or decided to buy elsewhere—it was because they didn’t have time, and my dealership was giving up too soon.
Why does that matter to you? If you want to drive more sales from existing leads, you need to optimize your lead follow-up strategy.