Inventory is tight right now which means we cannot rely on standard tactics. You are accustomed to being able to promise a wide selection and/or the exact trim level of every vehicle. That’s not what a consumer currently sees on your lot or your website, but that doesn’t mean you should back out of the conversation. The conversation is changing, your dealership needs to move with it. If you haven’t done so already, shift your marketing strategy and messaging to focus on not only what you can offer customers but also what you may be able to get in return. Let me explain further.
What you can offer
You’ve probably heard the phrase “before you sell the car sell yourself” a million times. But there could not be a better time to lean into this saying. Highlight your dealership attributes like online purchase offerings, ease of financing or extended warranty. Customer experience still matters, and the relational aspect of car buying is still strong. Focus on your “why buy from me” and sell the attributes that you have worked so hard to invest and install in your dealership to attract customers beyond the vehicles themselves. Another reason why this messaging is so important is in regard to the conversation around OEMs implementing online selling direct to consumers. Reinforcing your dealership name, reputation and offerings is more than just a short-term band-aid and keeps your dealership top-of-mind with shoppers down the road.
What you can get
Shift your marketing messages immediately to encourage more trade-ins. There are partners out there that take the contention out of the trade-in conversation by allowing validation from a third-party. If you already leverage one of these platforms, then don’t shy away from it in your marketing. Even if you don’t work with a third-party partner, you can still offer “top value for trades!”, “drive-thru appraisals” or “we want your car” messaging. In a seller’s market, this is a prime opportunity to add value to a consumer by extending proactive offers and an invitation to engage with you on their terms.