How to Grow When Everyone Else Is Slow (Part 1)

Every year, as the winter months approach dealerships cut back. It’s a major problem in the automotive industry—dealerships winterize their businesses by hibernating, by giving up at the end of the year. They seem to think that the best approach to the slow months is just to withdraw—to cut back. But “winterize” means to prepare for cold months, not just give up in the face of the freeze.

The best way to winterize your dealership is to use the time when everyone else is slow to grow your business.

Growth key #1: Leveraging the open airwaves

The first step to growing your business when everyone else is slow is to continue to promote your dealership. Frankly, there is no better time than the winter months to gain market share. Because most dealerships cut back in the winter, the market isn’t as cluttered. When people are disappearing and backing away, you can advertise for less, more often, and with more clarity of message, because the clutter is reduced. That means that you can really get a foothold and capture market share and mind-share, which you can’t get when the airwaves are cluttered.

Several years ago we released a tele-seminar series about how to market during recessions. We did a massive amount of research to prepare for this series with a specific focus on how to market your business during a recession. And every single bit of research we found showed that companies who consistently market through recessionary periods come out on the other side of the recession with a springboard effect.

So in the winter months, when things slow down in the car business, it’s almost like a mini-recession, meaning that this is your opportunity to walk away with the goods. The first step to winterizing your dealership is to avoid the herd mentality that says, “back away…cut back.” Instead you have to be strong, be aggressive, and be confident. Market now to gain market share, so you are in a better position in February and March, when things naturally start to pick up in your area.

Growth key #2: Marketing to your list

Leveraging your past customers is a powerful way to grow your business during slower months. First, ask yourself how you can remarket to your existing lists of past customers and unconverted leads. This doesn’t have to be difficult—send an email to your list, explaining that you are winterizing your dealership, so you are offering a private sale to your past customers in order to thin out inventory.

But there’s another component to reaching past customers. The truth of the matter is that the dealership is going to do what the dealership is going to do, but what are your salesmen going to do to help themselves. Remember, this could be a time for them to grow as well. They have to decide if they are going to put in the leg-work and reach out to their own past customers, or if they are going to sit around the dealership waiting for the next sale to fall into their laps.

These ideas are extremely simple. They tie into the season, and they tie into the time of year, so you’ll have believability to draw repeat customers in. The question you need to be pondering is how can you integrate some or all of these strategies into your business plan.

Next month, we’ll cover three more methods to grow your business when everyone else is slow, so stay tuned—same bat-article, same bat-magazine.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers, and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1411.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller


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