Move cars off the lot faster than you can drive them
Keep up-to-date on the latest technology trends and watch how your used car dealership business thrives
As a dealership sales manager, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re endlessly searching for ways to help your team become a well-oiled machine, hosting motivational sales meetings, and trying to keep up with the latest automotive trends. It’s a lot to juggle—but you thrive under pressure and love what you do.
As you work tirelessly to improve your used car dealership business, there’s one important thing that you must not forget or stop learning about: technology.
Being a tech-savvy sales manager is no longer an added bonus—every dealership needs a sales manager that understands, appreciates, and makes a concerted effort to research innovations in technology. And no, that digital marketing workshop you took a few years ago is not enough.
Technological advances are moving at the speed of light, and what may have been considered internet marketing best practices five years ago isn’t even part of the equation anymore.
Technology and trends your used car dealership business should have on its radar
It can feel overwhelming to stay in-the-know when it comes to technological trends, but once you make quick research part of your regular work day, you’ll be amazed by the helpful pieces of information you’ll pick up.
Here are some innovations and trends you should be keeping your eye on:
Consumer behaviors and expectations
As technology changes, consumer behaviors and expectations begin to shift. Three years ago it may have been enough to email back and forth with a prospective customer, but now, many folks (especially Millennials) communicate heavily by text message. Does your dealership have the capability to allow your salespeople to send texts?
Facebook is still the biggest social platform, but there are plenty of other up-and-comers that deserve your attention. Don’t just write off Snapchat and Instagram because they seem too complicated. Discover which demographics are using certain forms of social media and adjust your marketing plan to target those individuals.
Managing customer relationships effectively is the lifeblood of your used car dealership. The dealership CRM you purchased seven years ago may not have what you need to succeed in 2017 and beyond if the company isn’t continually upgrading its offerings. Do your homework and get a new CRM if your current one isn’t cutting it.
Tips for bringing more technology into your used car dealership business
1. Think beyond your free Facebook page.
Like most companies, your used car dealership business was initially attracted to Facebook back in the day because it was free. It was enough to make a page, post some car pictures, and occasionally answer customer questions. However, now, you’re really missing out if you’re not experimenting with paid digital ads.
In this last five years, paid advertising on social media has become incredibly streamlined and effective. For example, Instagram ads are excellent for car dealerships because you can use high-quality images and videos as ads, and then target customers you want to attract based on location, interests, behaviors, and demographics. Instead of casting a wide (expensive) net and possibly only catching a couple of fish, you’re strategically targeting a small audience that’s more likely to convert.
2. Bring in the “experts” to help customers.
Technology is changing everywhere—and that includes inside the cars you’re selling. Car owners are usually excited to buy a new vehicle with Bluetooth capabilities and cool features, but they also may be hesitant because they aren’t very technologically savvy.
Take a cue from a dealership in Quincy, Massachusetts that has hired a team of students from local high schools to assist customers with in-vehicle technology. The students are paid $11/hour to help customers at delivery or during service visits by giving tutorials, answering questions, and pairing phones with Bluetooth. Customers leave happier when the tech portion of things is removed from the sales process, so they don’t feel rushed.
3. Build your email list by offering real value.
Email marketing remains one of the best ways to stay in touch with your used car dealership business customers—getting those emails and building the contact list can be a bit harder, though. Instead of constantly asking people to sign up for your email list, try a different approach.
Create content for offers on your website—for example, write and design a five-page e-booklet about tips for purchasing your first car. Share that content for free to web visitors if they submit their name and email address.
Content offers help your dealership establish itself in the community as a leader in the industry, create goodwill because you’re offering something of value for free, and assist you in your quest to build your email list in the process.
Once you start learning, researching, and staying on top of technology trends, you’ll be amazed how your dealership can benefit (and how much fun you can have in the process). The key to successfully leveraging different technologies is to remember that not everything is going to be right for your business. For example, if your used car dealership business is located smack dab in the middle of a community of retirees, Snapchat will likely be a waste of time for you. Use your best judgment and if something isn’t working for your dealership, don’t be afraid to try something new.