Returning to a World Without Endlessly Rising Vehicle Sales

With sales trending down, it’s time to make some noise to help consumers decide to shop at your dealership

Hopefully, everyone who attended this year’s NADA convention traveled home with new ideas for selling more vehicles in 2018.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s report on March 1, vehicle sales in general are down, with the biggest hits coming to large cars. The good news has been for crossovers and small SUVs. Both categories have done well in the first quarter.

Unlike the past couple of years, it might be time to start up the extra advertising machine to generate sales that came much easier a year ago. Everyone knew the steady climb couldn’t last forever, so not many people are surprised.

It can be hard, however, to increase advertising when less money is coming in, but that’s exactly what you should do if you want to take an extra share of your competitor’s sales.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you should pour money into models that aren’t selling, it just means you should make some noise to help consumers decide to shop at your dealership rather than at the other guy’s.

Why make noise? Because consumers have to choose which dealership to visit, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. (Sorry for that ancient quote, but it is true.)

Giving consumers a reason to choose you is simple logic. The important thing is to give them a creative reason, rather than simply using the same old pitch.

The manufacturer will probably give you a price point to sell, but your customer will hear that same offer from everyone that sells the lines that you sell. Boooooring!

Try to stand out from the competition. Offer customers a reason to specifically choose you.

If you have to use the manufacturer’s market-wide price points, add in something unique. Offer that great manufacturer price or payment plus a free bicycle, a first aid kit, or an annual pass to a zoo or amusement park.

You can even shave your sales manager’s head for charity, but do something to stick out.

We are drifting back into a market where you have to fight for car sales. Get creative and win the battle against that guy across town who seems to want to “give them away.”

Brett Stevenson


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