No matter what vehicle brand you are trying to sell, starting a sticks and bricks auto dealership can be a serious challenge. You need to be able to offer promotions and seasonal sales by sharing your information on the cheapest platform available while offering one of a kind service to your current customer base and bringing in new.
In addition to offering financing for the vehicles you sell, make sure you also offer repairs for the vehicles you’ve sold. You may want to set up a rewards program for your clients; if your client refers a friend to your dealership and you sell a car, your client gets a free oil change or a credit against their next repair or purchase.
It’s also a good idea to offer loyalty points and free maintenance after a series of visits. If your client comes in for an oil change twice, offer the next one for free. Consider also a “buy two, get one free” for such basic maintenance during the spring when tax returns come through. This way, a client who likes to plan ahead can lock in a price on their next oil change; all they need to do is bring in their car.
Because you have a quality repair team in place, it’s a good idea to offer vehicle inspections for private buyers. While you won’t earn anything off the sale of the vehicle, these types of inspections will keep your repair technicians busy and build up the credibility of your business.
There are many tales of used car dealerships who don’t deal fairly with their clients. With a high quality repair team on your payroll, you can offer folks at all economic levels a wonderful way to develop trust in your dealership and hopefully your offerings.
Serve As a Transport Hub
Let clients bring you their dreams. Yes, they need a minivan for kid’s gear or they need a pickup for their business. However, if they really want a custom car that fascinated them in childhood, make sure you have a good relationship with car shipping companies in Georgia or other states where your dealership may reside. Developing a good relationship with a shipping company will allow you to have custom vehicles quickly shipped to your dealership once that custom vehicle is located.
In addition to importing custom vehicles to your dealership, consider offering a concierge service for your repair clients. For folks who need to drop off their car and go to work, the ability to get a ride to the office can impact the decision of where repairs get made. Loaner cars and concierge services both build customer loyalty.
When you’re first starting out, consider hiring a freelancer to help you manage your social media marketing. A Facebook marketing page is a good way to let your happy customers leave you a good review. A freelance social media marketing manager can:
- protect your page from trolls
- help you track down any unhappy clients
- promote special sale days and repair deals
Consider also hiring a freelance photographer to help you get terrific photos of your newest vehicles. Once you have good luck bringing in custom vehicles for a particular buyer, get their permission to share a photo of the vehicle. If possible, get a photo of that very happy client behind the wheel of their dream vehicle that you and they can share.
Market Through Your Customer Base
Always ask for a Google review before a customer leaves your dealership with their new car. Make sure they have your name and your contact information so they can share the name of your business accurately. If you have an employee who goes the extra mile, such as a salesman who stays late to help a client or a repair tech who comes in early to help a family get on the road for vacation, share a photo of them and celebrate that extra mile!
A small business owner can’t always offer the best pay or the very cheapest deal and stay in business. However, it’s repeat business and quality experience that will keep your business going for the long term. Loyalty, both in your employee pool, your freelancing team and your customer base, is critical to long-term growth.