Six steps to fuel holiday sales at your dealership

Publish Date: 
Oct 26, 2012
By Rod Stuckey

WHAT'S YOUR DEALERSHIP doing to capture the attention of holiday shoppers this season? Did you know your customers expect you to market to them? In fact, if you don’t, they get a feeling of apathy ­— as if you don’t really care about their business.

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When customers get these feelings of indifference they become more receptive to offers from your competitors. And guess who your competitors are between now and the end of the year? They’re not just the other dealers in your market area; they’re every merchant fighting for the almighty holiday shopper. The spending of discretionary income is at an all-time high between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and the big boxers already have come out swinging. But, you can still compete if you play it smart and move fast.

(1) You need to develop and execute an effective marketing campaign. To do this, you’ll have to come up with a compelling message. Legendary copywriter Robert Collier called this, “tapping into the conversation already going on in the head of your prospect.”

Thanksgiving, Black and Chrome Friday, Cyber Monday, The 12 days of Christmas, What Santa Forgot, and Happy New Year are all themes to which you can hitch your wagon and create a relevant and interesting campaign.

(2) Your next assignment is to determine your audience target. Remember, there are only 3.6 motorcycles in use for every 100 people living in the United States. Your window to find these holiday shoppers is slim; don’t waste time going after the 90-plus percent of households that don’t have riders in them.

First, pull your DMS customer list. These are your past customers who’ve given you money and are your most viable prospects for the holidays. Next, go to your CRM and website to harvest as many email addresses, snail mail addresses and phone numbers as you can find. If you need additional records, then acquire a sourced list of those in your market area who ride what you sell but are buying from your competitor. You can scrub this list against your house list and only pay for the records you need.

Once you have your theme and message, and you’ve identified your most viable target audience, it’s time to (3) determine what media you’re going to use. Consider your marketing budget when you begin this exercise. Do you have co-op dollars available between now and the end of the year that need to be used? Also, consider how much time you have to execute your plan. If you haven’t begun implementing, you need to move quickly. What media can you deploy fast and within your budget? Consider direct mail, email, telemarketing, Facebook posts, web updates, web banners, in-store signage, bag stuffers, Google AdWords, and other “guerrilla marketing” tactics. Don’t rely on one single media method. Your goal is to deploy as many channels as possible within your budget.

It takes more than just effective marketing to compete with the big boxers this holiday season. How is (4) your inventory mix? Once you’ve got your customers in the door, make sure you have holiday gift items in stock. Consider impulse items, related and unrelated add-ons, and of course, gift cards. By creating the ideal holiday inventory mix, you’re positioning your dealership with the best opportunity to convert holiday shoppers into buyers. 

Now that you have the right inventory in stock, do you have it (5) professionally merchandised? Do you have exciting products displayed at key focal points? Are you tapping into the emotion of the holiday season with themed displays? Hay bales and pumpkins are great during Thanksgiving, while Christmas music, holiday glitz, and employees dressed as Santa’s helpers create those warm and fuzzy emotions during the December holidays. All of these little details matter and get your customers in the mood to spend. (Continued)