CommentaryDec 13th, 2017

Old-Fashioned Salesmanship Keeps You From Singing the Slow-Mover Blues


So, what does dealership inventory management have to do with advertising? A lot. This is one of the most common triggers for huge amounts of advertising dollars being wasted. Your days’ supply of a particular model is out of whack, and now someone has decided it can be fixed by advertising.

It can’t.

It will take pure old-fashioned salesmanship. It starts with somebody ordering too many of a certain vehicle — or the wrong colors or the wrong equipment. Maybe it’s simply that the model has gone cold in the market or, sadly, your manufacturer pushed them on you. And now there they all are — in your inventory — aging at more than 120 days and counting.

Solution: Advertise them! No, don’t. Well, there’s one exception. If you’re truly willing to lose thousands of dollars per deal, selling way back of net, whereby no other dealer will come close to price matching, then do it. In this one way only, you may be able to create a market where there is none, simply because the price will be so ridiculously low. But remember this: Even steak at half-price isn’t a good deal to a vegetarian.

So price alone won’t always solve your problem. And spending money to lose money is not a great business plan. Don’t fall into the trap. The best place you can put your advertising money is on the hottest-selling models, not the slow movers. Create traffic by promoting the vehicles that already are in good demand. Then align your lot so every best seller is next to a more aggressively priced slow mover.

Next, you must do hours of extra training and walk-arounds with your salespeople to help them be prepared to demonstrate the positive benefits of the slow movers. With salesmanship, enthusiasm sells and confidence closes. Or, do this: Put the “show” in the showroom. Focus your efforts on internal marketing rather than external advertising.

First, take your newest salesperson, one that hasn’t been deterred (yet) from selling a slow mover by the negativity of your “sales pros.”

Second, stage a special area in the showroom for that person to show customers this model (the slow mover). Educate the salesperson about all of the features of the model, and teach them how to do the best vehicle demonstration and test drive ever.

Third, add vehicle clings with the model’s features and benefits all over the car. Aim for at least 15 clings. Also, print a colorful flyer featuring the advantages of the car — include details on safety, performance, and technology. Make the assets tangible for the customer. You can find these accolades by doing some simple online research.

Look for early press releases, enthusiast magazine reviews, and auto show articles from when the model first came out and everyone was truly excited about it. Teach your “green pea” to sell the car as if it was the hottest model on the planet, fresh from the headlines and auto show. That rookie salesperson will sell it. Just don’t let your lot hounds talk them out of it!

Scott Toland has more than 30 years of marketing experience with local dealerships, regional associations, national manufacturers, and media companies. In 2003, Scott established The Marketing Academy — then a four-day marketing workshop, today an online video platform with more than 200 ideas, strategies, and solutions. Visit

Previous articles by Scott Toland:

Is Your Dealership’s Video Marketing Relevant to Its Target Audience?

Service: Now Is the Time for Dealers to Get Serious

The Dealer’s Dilemma: Spend or Invest?

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Scott Toland

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