The number one thing on my mind this week for our dealers is trades. It seems the dealers who stocked up on used cars in November and December are still in good shape with used inventory, but the ones who were cautious about how the market was shifting are not flush with used cars at the moment. I always like to plan in cycles, so in thinking about the next big sales cycle.
Here is what I see.
Steps to a Successful Spring Selling Season
The remainder of March and all of April has to be a time of severe stocking of used car inventory if you want to have a big May. As auction prices are rising and vehicles are scarce at the auctions, the single greatest way to grow your inventory is through trades and off-the-street purchases. Here are a couple of things we see working for dealers in this arena:
- Mail to Owners – Your number one source of business is your owner base. If you haven’t mailed them much over the last couple of years due to a lack of new inventory, now is the time. Also, target older cars than you typically would, as those people are ready to trade. If you are a heavy lease dealer, target all of the people who bought out their lease, as most of them had no other option at the time. Mail can be simple and direct for communicating how badly you need trades.
- Easy Forms – Make your trade-in form as easy as possible for a seller to navigate. Check your form to make sure that it doesn’t take someone off your site and that it flows with as much ease as possible. Also, make sure the lead is getting into the hands of the best person to quickly communicate back to the seller.
- Landing Pages – To grow your acquisitions, you need a very well-built landing page. This page needs to tell your story in as few words as possible, articulating why you are the best place for someone to sell their car. People want fast and simple when it comes to selling a vehicle, so make sure you communicate it.
- Driving Traffic – Be ready to rachet up your Google, Performance Max, and Facebook spending to as much as you can bear. People are searching for valuations to see what their vehicle is worth, so you want to be there when they are looking. Count your leads and measure your ROI, but spending in these areas will deliver traffic and sellers.
- Service Drive – Yes, we all know it is the best place to purchase but many still have a hard time securing personnel to handle it. There are cars and trucks rolling through there every day. And after customers pay their bill, a percentage of them leave wondering, “Why do I keep sinking money into this old thing?”. Be there to make them a proposal and be ready to follow up after the fact.
None of this is rocket science, it just requires a plan. All signs indicate the market will continue to be on fire, so I see no signs of used prices slowing down going into the summer.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.