End-of-the-Year Selling Tips

December 5, 2018 / Sales / 0 Comments /
Hello December- handwriting in black ink on a sticky note with a cup of coffee and mittens, New Year resolutions concept

Why is the last month of the year the best month of the year? It’s because December, and more precisely the last week of December, is the one time of year when a buyer’s perception meets reality. It truly is the best time to buy.

Consumer perception is that dealers have to turn over inventory before the New Year and are more receptive to doing anything to make a deal. The reality is that manufacturers routinely pull out all the stops to gain market share and achieve sales goals, and according to Edmunds, they really do offer the highest discounts and best incentives at this time of the year.

So, what this convergence of perception and reality gives you is a huge opportunity. This may be the only time of the year when you don’t have to create a reason to buy now. Instead, you can capitalize on reasons that already exist. The last week of December may be the only week of the year when a large portion of the population is off work, on vacation, and has specifically set aside time to shop for a new vehicle.

The most important question you will need to answer for consumers is, “What’s in it for me?” (WIFM). Be prepared for your customer’s frame of mind.

Holiday Bonuses

The hard work that consumers put in all year is being rewarded with holiday bonuses. This year, 63 percent of U.S. human resources professionals or hiring managers say their company plans to give employees a monetary end-of-year bonus, according to a report by Monster. That means a lot of consumers may not even know how much they’ll have to put toward a new vehicle, but they’ll know what they want and will be looking for a deal. This leads us to the next point.

Be Nimble

When year-end comes around, prospects start to continually check new vehicle prices. From Black Friday onward, manufacturers and dealers continuously adjust prices as they compete for shoppers. This isn’t the time to be lazy or put your merchandising on autopilot. Stay sharp on digital and all your other pricing mediums.

Showcase SUVs and Crossovers

The market wants trucks and SUVs. According to USA Today, sales of compact cars fell 18.4 percent in November, and sales of midsize cars declined 15 percent. On the other hand, compact SUVs and crossovers rose 11.6 percent and sales of midsize SUVs and crossover increased 11.7 percent. This year, consumers will be looking to trade out of cars or upgrade to larger, more luxurious SUVs and crossovers. Your job is to build traffic. Hot vehicles build traffic. Don’t lead your advertising with a 2018 compact car.

Use Fear of Winter

Your service lane takes on a whole new opportunity. In a lot of markets, there may be a sense of worry with consumers about whether their older vehicle can make it through another tough winter. As the threat of snow and freezing rain in many areas starts lurking, it is yet another reason for consumers to upgrade to a safe and reliable new vehicle.

Related readingDealer Goal for 2019: Don’t Let Tech Trip You Up

Reinforce December 31

Even though most incentives run through January 2 or so, consumers think that you have to clear vehicles out of your inventory by the end of the year. Year-end tax deadlines, manufacturer deadlines, and business deadlines all reinforce the perception that it’s to your benefit to get rid of vehicles by the end of the year.

Remember that during this time of year you don’t need to create a lot of reason to buy. You do, however, need reasons to buy from you. The best way to do that is to take reasons already in the customer’s mind and capitalize on them.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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