Showroom marketing isn’t just balloons and window decals—get it right and increase your dealership’s business
Congrats—you got a new customer through the door of your dealership! Don’t let your guard down just yet, though. Until they’re driving off the lot in their new vehicle, you don’t have that sale on the books. And there’s one thing that could make or break that sale that you probably haven’t considered.
How much effort have you put into your showroom? Are you of the school of thought that once you get a customer inside the dealership, the cars will just sell themselves? If so, it’s time to work on your showroom marketing game.
Seal the deal with showroom marketing
It’s no secret that most of your customers are researching you online before they visit your dealership. The average U.S. car shopper spends 11 hours researching online, but the vast majority still buy from a brick-and-mortar auto dealership.
There are certain types of showroom marketing that have been popular with auto dealerships for a long time: signage, window decals, and, of course, balloons. There’s no scientific evidence that balloons are effective marketing tools, but countless dealerships swear by them and feel the color and movement catches the attention of prospective buyers.
To appeal to modern-day customers, though, there needs to be a little something more to your showroom marketing. It’s not necessarily about the signs, decals, and balloons — it’s about bridging the gap between online and in-person. Find ways to incorporate technology and consider how to communicate your trustworthiness without wearing a button that says “Hi! I’m trustworthy!” Showroom marketing can be more subtle than blatant advertisements.
Why is good showroom marketing so important to your dealership’s success? Here are four things your showroom can do for your business.
1. Create a cohesive brand in the customer’s mind.
Auto dealership marketing has become an omnichannel experience, which means you need to get really, really clear about your dealership’s brand. When your showroom marketing is consistent with what customers have encountered on your website, in your television commercials, and on Facebook, that cohesion creates a sense of trust, reliability, and proves your dealership’s attention to detail.
2. Enhance the customer experience.
You may have heavily invested in a state-of-the-art website, but when done correctly, showroom marketing is what brings the entire car-buying experience to life for customers. It is one thing to read about how you do business, but it’s another to be there in person and seeing it in action.
Some dealerships offer extra perks on-site — like free food, free manicures, and occasional events — to create a more memorable experience and comfortable environment for customers.
“The bar keeps getting raised,” said Herb Chambers, owner of 55 dealerships in Massachusetts and Connecticut, speaking with the Boston Globe. “The cars are all the same, so everybody tries to have the best people and something extra.”
3. Provide opportunities for free advertising.
What happens in the dealership doesn’t have to stay in the dealership. In your showroom marketing, encourage customers to Instagram their favorite vehicles with a hashtag specific to your dealership. Get creative with ways to make your showroom visitors want to share their visit online.
4. Hook prospective customers who weren’t looking to buy.
Not every person who walks into your dealership is looking for a new car. For example, a buyer may ask a parent, friend, or co-worker to tag along with them for moral support. However, if your showroom marketing is on-point, it may just persuade the buyer’s buddy to return to your dealership when they’re in the market for a new ride.
Your showroom’s design — which can include the way you arrange vehicles, how many you put in the showroom, the lighting, and even the colors of the walls — plays an enormous role your dealership’s marketing. You’re not just selling cars; you’re selling an experience. It’s up to you to decide what you want your brand and marketing to say.
Are you full of hot air like all of those balloons you’re attaching to your inventory? Or are you modern and helpful like the touchscreen tablets you have set up in front of each new model?
Get the right message across with your showroom marketing—and don’t be surprised when you make more sales, start getting increased repeat business, and your online reviews begin closing in on five stars.