With the rise in used vehicle sales and the lack of new models due to second-quarter manufacturer shutdowns, it's possible that your car dealership's lot could seem like a ghost town right about now.
As we head into what has historically been one of the busiest seasons for car sales, it's time to dust the cobwebs off your lot and find new ways to bring both customers and vehicles to your store.
We have some tips on conducting safe test driving, boosting your online presence, and moving inventory that’s at risk of freezing on your lot. You can also consider bringing in subprime leads that are ready to buy to bolster sales.
Is Your Car Lot a Ghost Town?
Now in the fourth quarter of the year, some dealership car lots are looking like ghost towns. It's not the people that are lacking, though, it's the product. Many dealer lots across the country are showing relatively low numbers of new 2021 models in stock.
This is partly due to the Q2 shutdown of manufacturer production facilities, and partly due to a growing demand for personal transportation. Many consumers that were previously content taking public transportation or rideshare commuting to work seem to be rethinking their strategies as the year wears on and the threat of COVID-19 isn't going away.
Not only are more prospects flooding in to scoop up vehicles, but lower interest rates are also making it easier for a wider range of shoppers to become buyers.
If your customers are sucking the lifeblood out of your inventory, why not try to raise some from the dead by hosting push/pull/drag events that could help you replenish your dying stock? If one of these events isn't feasible for your dealership, you can still take advantage of prospects that need an upgrade by encouraging them to bring a trade-in.
This could be one way in which you can pull in some very loyal prospects on a few different levels. Subprime consumers are some of the most loyal around, and they remember who was there for them as the sun set on their options.
Right now, many subprime consumers are looking to get into something newer to get them through, and their used cars could be the perfect thing to get a new borrower going.
Keeping Your Staff and Prospects Safe
New borrowers who may not have previously felt the need to purchase are now hitting dealers in full force. However, with less inventory, more and more people are going to be test driving the same vehicles. And, many customers still have concern when it comes to the important test drive aspect of the car buying experience.
Since most borrowers do research online before they ever set foot in a dealership, it could be worth it to post test drive videos of some of your most desired vehicles on your website. Many car dealers have interactive online listings that give a prospect a closer look at vehicles they’re interested in.
If a customer wants a traditional test drive, there are better ways to clean besides wiping down just the high contact points with sanitizing wipes (which can be time-consuming, too). If your location hasn’t invested in an electrostatic sprayer, it’s worth looking into. These machines can cover 18,000 square feet per hour, and they can be used to sanitize the inside of cars quickly and effectively.
Many dealerships are setting up appointments for their test drives, as well. If you haven’t adopted this practice yet, consider the benefits. Scheduling ahead gives you time to clean and sanitize the vehicle, without asking the prospect to sit and wait until it’s ready. Another bonus is you can request a picture of the prospect's license to be emailed/texted beforehand, so you can be sure that they’re able to drive the car before you fill an appointment slot.
After the vehicle is sanitized, consider letting the prospect test drive alone. Close quarters in a small space isn’t recommended, as we’re sure you’re well aware by now, so let the prospects enjoy the car alone and keep everyone that much safer.
Bringing In Subprime Auto Leads
Having safe and sanitary practices is great, but what if your foot traffic is slowing down? In this very spooky year, that's par for the course, but it's not a path dealers want to keep going down.
Even with foot traffic slowing, one thing is certain this year: the ongoing global pandemic has pushed the digital retailing issue to the forefront for many businesses, including dealerships.
The push to go all-digital isn't new to the auto industry – consumers have been asking for it for years. The added nudge from the pandemic just affirms that if you're not on board with the digital dealer revolution, you better hop on if you want to stay relevant in today's online shopping world.
With that in mind, are you doing all you can to turn up your dealership's online presence? Auto Credit Express can help with that! We've got a 20-plus-year history of delivering the prospects dealers need.
We do so much more than bring consumers to your door. We make sure that well-qualified subprime borrowers who are ready to purchase are pre-screened and put in contact with you.
With our BDC call center, we even verify leads, get them prepared to visit you, and can set their appointments for you, so that dealerships can focus on what they do best – selling vehicles. And that's just one way we can serve you.
Subprime customers are loyal and eager to work with a dealer that gives them a second chance at financing. If your used car inventory is running a little too low, bringing in subprime leads with qualified trade-ins can also help alleviate that problem. Used vehicles are a common choice for subprime buyers, and if you can get a steady stream of them, you can turn units that much easier.
Auto Credit Express has been an award-winning lead generator for over 20 years. We find motivated subprime customers that are ready for financing and send them right to you. Don’t let your inventory get rigor mortis – start the conversation with us and get those bones moving! Contact us at 888-535-2277 or complete our online contact form, and one of our reps will reach out to you.