Even though it’s still summer, many dealerships are feeling the chill of frozen vehicles lingering on their lots. Thanks to COVID-19 and the resulting industry shutdowns, unemployment rates, and social distancing recommendations, you’ve got to think outside the box to move some of your unwanted inventory. Combining online strategy and targeted marketing, you can take advantage of fresh subprime leads that are warming up to the idea of an auto loan.
Moving Frozen Inventory
Are you looking for new ways to get the prospects you need to come through your doors? Using these pro tips, and our award-winning lead generation services, you could be facing brighter days ahead when it comes to sales.
Chris Hanna, Performance Manager at vAuto, a Cox Automotive company, said in a recent talk with other industry experts that coming into the last half of the year, it's going to be about taking advantage of the sales you could be making … if you're marketing to the right crowd.
As record incentives spurred a brighter second quarter than many imagined possible for the automotive industry, limited stock is beginning to take its toll. Combine a limited new car inventory with a greater number of used car shoppers, and many dealers are left with a lot full of vehicles that just aren't moving.
These unwanted cars stick around on dealer lots for plenty of reasons, but it doesn't mean these they're not right for someone – you just need to know who, and how to get their attention. When you have frozen inventory, you have to view them as the alternative that a prospect is looking for.
Unwanted vehicles can be offered as alternatives to shoppers who don't quite qualify for the make or model they have their hearts set on. Another avenue could be to offer this inventory as an alternative to some buyers who come in seeking a used car.
"You've got to meet the customer where they are," Hanna said.
Some of the most loyal consumers in the market today are subprime consumers. These prospects come in looking for affordability, reliability, and a dealer who has lenders available to work with many situations. They may be the ideal consumers to help you move that frozen inventory.
When a subprime prospect comes in with loftier car-buying goals than your lender partners can meet, why not see if they're the right fit for some of your unwanted units? Unwanted vehicles may even be eligible for more incentives just to get them to move.
Moving frozen inventory sounds like a good plan, but if your dealership, like many businesses, has been suffering due to the coronavirus, you may not see the light in the dark that you're looking for.
With COVID-19 slowing foot traffic, one way to bring in leads to move your inventory is to showcase what you’ve got online. With so much competition, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.
Standing Out Online
To draw in more leads from the online space, your website(s) and reviews are paramount. If you thought customers did research online pre-coronavirus, you haven't seen anything yet – pre-purchase research and online shopping have exploded this year.
Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have pushed customers to the online shopping market, including subprime leads. Customers aren’t just looking at your inventory, they’re also reading what others have said about you, and seeing how search engines display your information.
To make sure your online space is telling customers you’re ready and open for business, we’ve got a few tips to consider:
1) Your online presence is the first impression. Therefore, treat your website and online services as an extension of your physical location – not a separate being.
This means making sure that everything on your website reflects how your location operates and your brand image. Your inventory’s prices should be the same online and in person. Consistency and transparency are keys to merging your online presence into the physical world.
Also, don't forget to put your consumers at ease by letting them know you're taking precautions for their health and safety. Adding this sentiment to your online space will make consumers more comfortable and eager to visit your store in person.
2) Make sure that your local listings on search engines are updated, correct, and accurately listing your location information. This includes phone numbers, addresses, and hours.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many prospects are likely double-checking to see if your physical location is open, since many businesses have changed their operating hours. Cross-reference the hours listed on search engines with what your website says, and make sure they display correct information, so you can help your prospects avoid confusion.
3) Acknowledge your online reviews. This means thanking the customers that previously shopped with you, and acknowledging the negative reviews.
While getting a 1-star review isn’t the best feeling, replying, and attempting to resolve the issue online is a good way to showcase how your location handles grievances.
Choosing to not reply to a negative review could push the idea that your dealership is ignoring criticism, or not willing to assist customers that had issues with their experience.
4) Consider listing your entire F&I menu on your website with prices, and explain how these services are beneficial through either text or short, informational videos.
It’s been shown that customers who “discover” the benefits of GAP insurance or extended warranties on their own time are more likely to bring it up to your F&I manager first. Not only does this save time and effort in the F&I office, listing your F&I menu lets your customer browse without feeling like they’re being sold something at the last minute.
5) Don't leave leads unanswered. Even if you're not sure you have what a specific prospect is looking for, or aren't sure if they're the right fit for your store, don't let a lead linger. Answering every lead that comes in can be time-consuming, but it can also lead to sales that you might not have made otherwise!
To help this go smoothly, make sure you have a point-person that can be your ambassador to bridge the gap between online information and in-person sales. Who knows, these prospects might even be the right fit for your frozen inventory. Fitting prospects with the vehicles you have instead of the cars they're not qualified for can be a make or break move in the second half of the year.
When it comes to first contact, that first phone call or email is going to be vital to whether or not your location can land a sale. Google can bring you customers, but so can Auto Credit Express. In addition to boosting your online presence, we have a range of services and products that can help you pull in prospects from all over the web.
Our Services, Your Leads
Let us help you connect with consumers that are in the market for both new and used vehicles. These prospects need someone to get the ball rolling for them when it comes to auto financing.
We specialize in bringing the prospects you need through your doors, and we offer a wide range of services to help get them there. With our easy online auto loan request form, we sift through the prospects to find ones that fit your criteria. Additionally, with our automotive BDC call center, we can verify consumer information to make sure that qualified consumers who are ready to buy come through your doors.
If that's not enough to keep the consumers rolling in, you can also draw on a pool of fresh bankruptcy leads with our BK marketing options. We make marketing to your chosen audience a breeze, and our range of services doesn't stop there.
If you're looking to move more than just your frozen unwanted cars, and you want to bring in a variety of customers from the online competition, you can join us and reap the benefits of having your name and inventory listed on our network of over 130 automotive websites nationwide. Plus, you can give your new and used inventory an extra push by featuring it with CarsDirect Connect.
Your next step is finding the right buyers to move your inventory, even amid this strange year. At Auto Credit Express, we’ve been providing quality subprime auto sales leads to dealerships for more than 20 years, and we want to help you be part of that tradition.
In addition to leads that you can tailor to specific areas or credit scores, we also offer a range of additional services that can prepare and follow up on your prospects, freeing up your subprime department to do what it does best – close deals.
To find out how we can serve your store, give us a call at 888-535-2277. Or, you can fill out our online contact form and one of our knowledgeable sales professionals will be in touch.