How to Improve Your Car Sales Service
Used car sales is a tough market, and with fierce competition and new kids on the block, it can be hard to stand out. If you are a car dealer who wants to improve the service that you offer and attract more customers, read our article for hints and tips on how to do just that, as well as practical advice that you can take away and implement.
In this article, we will cover:
- Digital marketing
- Action points to take away
The used car market is more competitive than ever, and there is a chunk of business that has shifted online, given the last 18 months and the need to change and adapt. The good news is that it opens a whole new audience to your business, but it also means that there is more competition and it can be even harder to stand yourself apart from the rest of the crowd and be memorable. Here are some ways you can improve your car sales service to attract more customers into your car dealership.
Review your pricing
There are a few different things that fall into your pricing, and there is a whole audit you can do in order to review where you sit in the market. There will be car dealers who are more expensive than you, and car dealers who are cheaper than you, but it is all about working out where you sit amongst them.
Pricing doesn’t mean reducing your margins so much that you barely make a profit, in order to be the cheapest out there. It means looking at your competitors, analysing how much they are selling similar models for, and working out whether you are in line with that number, or not.
There are other factors that need to be considered when you’re looking at pricing, such as the service that you offer, and the marketing you are doing. You might want to position yourself as more of a prestige car dealer, or you might be looking for more volume at a lower price point. We will come onto this a little more in the marketing section, but it is something to consider when looking at pricing your vehicles.
Review your current prices, your margins, and what your competitors are doing to see whether or not your pricing is in line with the market, and the demand for used cars as well. Correct pricing will make sure you are attracting the right kind of customer and the right kind of buyer for your business.
Incentives are popular in the used car industry, but creating incentives that stand out from the rest and aren’t seen as a constant sale can be tricky. Think about the key events throughout the year, such as plate changes, Black Friday, and other events that might matter to your audience. Plan your incentives and your sales around these dates, so you have clear cut off points and clear deals available as well.
You don’t want to be the car dealership that always has an offer running, but incentives throughout the years when planned properly can help customers convert and to get to know your business as well.
You may also want to think about some loyalty incentives for previous customers who might like to buy another car from you, either for themselves or a family member. This shows that you care about your customers and that you are there for them throughout their journey.
Improve your communication
Communication is key, and it is even more true in the used car sales industry. It is a business that has a stigma attached to it of distrust and quick sales, so improving your communication strategy can go a long way to making sure your business isn’t tarred with the same brush.
Make sure you have clear communication in place. From the words on your website to the emails that you send, the way your staff speak to customers and a unified approach to selling. Communication is in everything you do, so review how you currently talk to your customers across all the different touch points and see how you can pull it into line, and improve on what you are currently saying and doing.
This goes for after the sale as well, reaching out to those that have purchased from you, speaking to them about their experience and asking them to share a review on your chosen platform, so more people can learn about the service that you offer. This after-sales service is key and there is nothing like word of mouth, and a review is exactly that, in digital form.
Develop your website
Your website is your digital showroom, and a lot of people will check out your website before they visit you, and that is if they visit you at all nowadays.
There is more competition and plenty of businesses taking used car buying online, so making sure your digital showroom is showcasing you to the best of its ability, is paramount.
Websites are things that should be updated regularly, tweaking and changing to make sure everything is relevant and that it communicates what you do and what you stand for. Little things like having an ‘about’ page that represents your values as a business, can go a long way to helping to build that trust with the customer.
Review the written content on your website and see what can be changed or updated. It is something that you need to spend time on to work on and develop, as well as checking for irrelevant or out of date information throughout.
Look at the images on your website too and ask yourself if they truly reflect where you are at and the business you have today. You can take good photos with a smartphone these days, or hire a photographer if you would prefer, and make sure your visual presence is up to date as well.
If you want to be found online easier, you can look into SEO for your website as well, but we will talk more about this in the digital marketing section.
Look into your marketing
How you market your used car dealership is going to make a huge difference to the customers you attract, or don’t attract.
First off, review the things you are currently doing to market your business. This could be advertisements, promotions, anything that tells people what you do and how you do it.
Next, look at what your competitors are doing. There are two reasons for this. One, you can see what is working well for them, and you can also make sure that you stand yourself apart from what they are doing.
You need to think about how you want to be seen as well and the kind of customers you want to be dealing with. If you sell cars for £1,000 your customer will be very different to the dealers selling cars for £50,000 and vice versa. Once you have established this, you can look at how you market yourself and the business going forward, and how you want to be seen by your ideal customers.
This will be important for the type of advertising that you do, the promotions that you offer, the way you word things on your website, how you are seen on social media, and everything else that goes with that.
A marketing strategy will help you stay consistent across all these different channels and also help you decide which different avenues to add into the mix.
Explore avenues of digital marketing
Marketing is one thing but Digital marketing is a little different. As the world has changed, the way that customers shop has changed as well. You need to make sure you are reaching them in these new ways and making it as easy as possible for them to find you. There are a tonne of different ways you can do this and different avenues you can explore as well. Here are some of them.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it is a way of making sure your website appears on Google for certain search terms. Things like ‘used cars near me’ or making sure you appear for the location you are based in, is a really helpful way to allow customers to find you with ease. SEO is made up of the content on your website, the technical SEO on your website and the links coming back into your website. Creating a strategy for this allows room for organic growth and traffic, as well as helping to answer search queries your customers may have.
A blog is a great addition for SEO, as well as helping answer queries that may come up for your customers, and showing that you have more to often than just selling cars and letting people drive away, think content around road trips, car servicing, and other related subjects that will help customers get to know you and to trust in your business.
PPC is pay per click and it is essentially ads on Google to make you appear in certain places and for certain search terms. You pay in order to do this and there is some element of trial and error in finding what works for you, but you can be clever with your strategy and make sure you appear when people are searching for competitors and suchlike.
Social media falls into two categories, and we will start with organic social media here. Organic social is the posts you put out on your chosen channels and it is a great way to build trust with potential customers. An active social media profile helps customers to build a relationship with you before they even visit your website or your showroom in person. You want a mixture of content in there and again, a strategy will help here, as well as knowing the kind of person you are talking to. Think content that helps, informs and entertains, as well as keeping followers and fans up to date with what you have going on in the business.
Paid social means ads on social media. Sponsored posts and ads that come up to potential customers, telling them about your business. Again, there is some trial and error in finding out what works here and you need to have a strategy in place. There are plenty of free online courses if you want to explore this area yourself, or there are specialist automotive professionals that will be able to help you with this. If you are running ads, make sure you test them and monitor them daily to make sure they are performing as they should be, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new ads as well so that the old ones don’t get stale.
Automotive digital marketing is a hugely valuable tool that you can use to increase sales within your business and to develop your strategy.
Action points to takeaway
So, we have given you the tips and now it’s time for you to take it all away and put it into practice. For ease, we have distilled the information into bullet points for you to use, and assess the areas you can improve on.
- Review your pricing and see whether it is in line with your competitors and your values
- Create incentives that add value to your customers, and reward previous customers for their loyalty
- Improve your communication and make sure you ask for a review after the sale has taken place
- Review your website regularly and update the written content and imagery
- Assess your current marketing and identify room for improvement
- Explore new avenues of digital marketing and look into the benefit they could have on your business
Use these pointers to look at your current activity and make a plan to improve on each area throughout the next few months. All of these are building blocks in improving the service that you offer and attracting new clients into the business as well.