42 replies
Anyone have any good ways to advertise/sell used cars? Working with a local used car dealer, Craigslist, Autotrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com all not really getting the phone to ring. Anyone have any tips? Thought about doing EDDM but didn't know if that would be worth it? Looking for tips/people with experience thanks
#car #dealer #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    are you listing the price or saying "Call for price"?

    I have found that not leaving the price and making them call doesn't work so well.

    Pay attention to the analytics to your site and see when the peak usage is... I am going to bet you get a good amount of traffic after your locations ( clients locations ) "Open" hours. you are not meeting the needs of you clients customers by not having the prices.. they are simply moving on to other sites that DO have prices.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      are you listing the price or saying "Call for price"?

      I have found that not leaving the price and making them call doesn't work so well.
      I've had the opposite happen.

      I make it a point to never include a price on a CL description. At least two images & basic details on a bullet list & mention contact by email, nothing else. One ad a while back with 2 bumps in a month had +50 contacts.

      Obviously the product has to be in demand, I've also seen a few flops.

      OP, do some test.

      Do an online search via Google for the best selling used car model in the US, look for the top 10 selling cars (or whatever number) then get your used car dealer to have one of those top selling cars in stock.

      If that top 10 car doesn't sell on CL, your not going to sell anything. Assumes realistic Kelley Blue Book type pricing on the car being advertised because that's the first thing traffic will check (average price of the car).

      Again, try posting the ad without a price, force traffic to make the first move by contacting you. That way traffic isn't feeling pressured into a sale.
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  • Profile picture of the author ttados
    Do locally targeted google PPC ads.

    Also, I could be wrong but I bet it's not your job to actually sell the car. It's your job to get them leads and their job to sell the car. Also, make sure the website has lead gen forms with a very noticeable CTA on each of the vehicle detail pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author cgkoste
    Car Dealers are a competitive industry. More and more people are going online to look for deals, but for dealers who have good service. I would go at it from a Reputation angle. Customer review videos or rank videos for the particular city.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    Can anyone convince someone not looking to buy a car to become a prospect? Probably not for such a purchase.

    so you need to connect with people already looking to buy , use SM tools to catch people talking about a major problem with their existing car, talking about plans that would involve a vehicle purchase, people going in for their driving tests etc,
    get one thing nailed and working well, then go onto other ways

    How many 'leads' are they expecting from you each week/month?
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  • Profile picture of the author kaurrose66
    Try to advertise on different social media account this will help you to get more clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rollmodl
      Event marketing is what I found to be the best method. Here is why:
      • Face to face customer engagement.
      • Gather emails for email marketing through tickets sales.
      • Revenue from ticket sales.
      • Merchandising and product promotions.
      • Provides content for content marketing.

      Here are results from a show we hosted a few years ago:
      • 1,500 tickets sold.
      • Registered ~200 vehicles.
      • Grew Facebook page to over 2,225 members.
      • Over 5,000 video views.
      • Access to automotive forums with hundreds of thousands of members.
      • The dealership sold 3 cars from the event generating a positive return on their sponsorship investment. From that point on every year they host a large event at the dealership.

      Another example (Vinny Ten):
      • 160K plus views.
      • 3,000 plus shares on Facebook.
      • 200 plus Facebook comments.
      • 64 plus Re-Tweets.
      • Phone calls from all over the world.

      Its about being creative. The same old methods are no longer effective. You also have to deal with ad blockers with PPC and banners. I know because I use it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Underground
        Originally Posted by Rollmodl View Post

        Event marketing is what I found to be the best method. Here is why:
        • Face to face customer engagement.
        • Gather emails for email marketing through tickets sales.
        • Revenue from ticket sales.
        • Merchandising and product promotions.
        • Provides content for content marketing.

        Here are results from a show we hosted a few years ago:
        • 1,500 tickets sold.
        • Registered ~200 vehicles.
        • Grew Facebook page to over 2,225 members.
        • Over 5,000 video views.
        • Access to automotive forums with hundreds of thousands of members.
        • The dealership sold 3 cars from the event generating a positive return on their sponsorship investment. From that point on every year they host a large event at the dealership.

        Another example (Vinny Ten):
        • 160K plus views.
        • 3,000 plus shares on Facebook.
        • 200 plus Facebook comments.
        • 64 plus Re-Tweets.
        • Phone calls from all over the world.

        Its about being creative. The same old methods are no longer effective. You also have to deal with ad blockers with PPC and banners. I know because I use it.

        Excellent advice. The same old methods are not effective on a scale needed for proper growth and revenue generation. They are the methods the herd follow and produce the lowest results.

        You have to do something big that can knock down many different pins at once and generate months worth of business in one go, rather than take little pots shots at a marker here and there with a 'single shot musket' approach.

        Was reading the book Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You, about building this kind of big demand. Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do...Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do...
        Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher did the same thing at an exhibition and generated some great revenue fast.

        On a sidenote, love what you've done with your concept and site RollModl. Looks class and is evolving nicely.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I'm looking for a used car right now - almost exclusively on Craig's list. Seem to be the same cars on other sites anyways. I usually go through private parties, not dealers. I don't waste my time on ads that do not have price, maintenance details, and mileage.

    I have bought from these guys in the past and they seem to do a good job on CL:
    denver for sale - craigslist


    I have not purchased from these guys, but they also seem to do a good job on CL.
    I see their ads all the time:
    denver for sale - craigslist


    Rocky's Autos sells the most used cars in Colorado. (At least they did. I'm not current, but I'd bet you 25 cents they still do.) They seem to go for lower price and more volume. You'd have to study their internet presence, but I think they mostly do a lot of TV and radio, more than any other used car dealer in their market. They gained a foot hold in the market by stressing the personal relationship and saying in radio ads (first radio ads, then TV) that they'd stay open for you if you arrive at 5 minutes until closing time...

    https://www.youtube.com/user/RockysAutos
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    Richie has left the office.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    you're hitting everything already.. after that, it's on the dealer to:
    a) actually answer their phone (I used tracking phone numbers, and it's ridiculous how many calls never get answered
    b) actually follow up with their leads (most do a horrible job)
    c) have the right inventory
    d) have the right prices
    e) have realistic expectations. they aren't likely to sell 20 cars off of a $500 investment - 1 sale would be doing good.

    most dealers do a horrible job of even figuring out where their business is coming from. I've watched dealers cancel their best performing marketing and putting the money into their worse.

    oh, and f) not only follow up, but follow up in a timely minute. response times to the initial lead needs to be measured in minutes, not hours or days.
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    • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
      Is there a car buying site for new cars like lending tree is for mortgages? you specify the vehicle and you get multiple offers to compare?
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  • Profile picture of the author SalesGod
    cold call random people and ask if they want to buy a car. works every time
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by SalesGod View Post

      cold call random people and ask if they want to buy a car. works every time

      According to industry demographic and stats.. at best this could only work once in every 10 times.. but still pretty good odds.
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  • Profile picture of the author richie311
    I'm still here, I'm working with about a 35 car inventory uploading to Craigslist, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com and getting only about 3-4 calls per day and maybe 1-2 customers showing up per day. Anyone know any social media secrets I can try? are PPC ads worth a shot at $5 Per click?
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      I'm still here, I'm working with about a 35 car inventory uploading to Craigslist, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com and getting only about 3-4 calls per day and maybe 1-2 customers showing up per day. Anyone know any social media secrets I can try? are PPC ads worth a shot at $5 Per click?

      Harsh but truthful.. if you are asking? then no. the ads would probably eat your lunch
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    • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      I'm still here, I'm working with about a 35 car inventory uploading to Craigslist, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com and getting only about 3-4 calls per day and maybe 1-2 customers showing up per day. Anyone know any social media secrets I can try? are PPC ads worth a shot at $5 Per click?
      not really secrets, just put some relevant terms into your Hootsuite type of software and develop a relationship between the prospect and you (on your clients behalf)
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    • Profile picture of the author AlexTee
      There are no secrets...just solid techniques that actually work.

      The level of targeting in Facebook is amazing!

      I posted in the travel agency ideas that would apply to you as well.

      The difference would be your target audience.

      For example,

      You can target people that are:
      Interested in buying a used car now
      Interested in buying a used car in 6 months
      Interested in certain models of cars...and much more!

      Click on the travel agency thread for more details.

      Hope this helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      I'm still here, I'm working with about a 35 car inventory uploading to Craigslist, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com and getting only about 3-4 calls per day and maybe 1-2 customers showing up per day. Anyone know any social media secrets I can try? are PPC ads worth a shot at $5 Per click?
      what size town?
      what is ave price of car?
      is the lot and office nice?
      sales people clean cut?
      are the cars priced competitively?

      if the place has a poor reputation people will ignore the ads.

      people hate negotiating.
      people hate calling for price.
      people hate slimy sales people.

      remove these obstacles if they exist. many of the big dealers have gone to one low price, no haggle, salaried sales people.

      do they do service? most make money on service and much less on cars.

      any good selling info on the vehicles for after hours? is the lot lit up nice? print up sell sheets for each car and leave them in a weatherproof plastic box used for real estate literature. people like to look after hours and not be hassled their first time around.
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      I'm still here, I'm working with about a 35 car inventory uploading to Craigslist, AutoTrader, Cars.com, Carsforsale.com and getting only about 3-4 calls per day and maybe 1-2 customers showing up per day. Anyone know any social media secrets I can try? are PPC ads worth a shot at $5 Per click?
      If the dealership got to be the kind of place a lot of people would send their daughter, then it would kill on Social Media. For free.
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      • Profile picture of the author richie311
        I've been trying FB, not doing too well. I think to really have an impact we would need 10,000 likes or more. We're at 400 so its slowly building, I think eventually it will help especially with the boosted posts, but with 400 likes it's not making a huge impact

        Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

        If the dealership got to be the kind of place a lot of people would send their daughter, then it would kill on Social Media. For free.
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        • Profile picture of the author AlexTee
          Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

          I've been trying FB, not doing too well. I think to really have an impact we would need 10,000 likes or more. We're at 400 so its slowly building, I think eventually it will help especially with the boosted posts, but with 400 likes it's not making a huge impact
          Are you running PPC ads with a call to action that target an audience in your city and nearby cities?
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          • Profile picture of the author DABK
            Know somebody who buys cars at auctions, fixes them up a little, sells them on Craigslist.

            If the price range is 5-15k, he sells them fast. Over 15k, it takes him a while, unless it's really under-priced.

            He used to have a much harder time, till he decided to put lots of photos... he went from having 6-8 photos to having 25-30 photos per car(of everything you'd be checking for yourself if you were looking at the car). Good photos. You get a great idea of the condition of the car before you go see it.

            He puts up ads for a particular car only, i.e., each car he's trying to sell gets its own ad.

            When people come, they often end up buying something else... he is small, 10-15 cars on his lot at once, though.

            He only advertises on Craigslist, so all of the above is about Craigslist.
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        • Profile picture of the author digichik
          Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

          I've been trying FB, not doing too well. I think to really have an impact we would need 10,000 likes or more. We're at 400 so its slowly building, I think eventually it will help especially with the boosted posts, but with 400 likes it's not making a huge impact

          GM lost million$$$ of dollars on Facebook ads and then pulled out. They found that FB is not a great place to sell cars.
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  • Profile picture of the author richie311
    I'm also thinking about doing an EDDM campaign it would be a full size 8.5x11 Postcard mailed to every address in our vicinity. It would be like a magazine ad with a bunch of cars but just a single post card mailed to all the addresses. What do you guys think?
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      I'm also thinking about doing an EDDM campaign it would be a full size 8.5x11 Postcard mailed to every address in our vicinity. It would be like a magazine ad with a bunch of cars but just a single post card mailed to all the addresses. What do you guys think?
      A card that says "Hey we have cars.. come and see us!" is not going to do the trick. Look up at @Rollmodl's comment and expand on that a bit. Think ahead... put together a Spooktacular 3 day sale over the Halloween weekend. "Scarry Deals" or the like.. run with the idea.

      Another thing.. I have a used car place around the corner from where I live. All the guy sells is trucks. I know for a fact the guy spends a good amount of money between the time he gets them to the time they go on his lot. I do a good amount of his interior type work vinyl wrapping the dash and the like. He puts big ol knobby on the bigger trucks ( we all know that aint cheap ) and they are detailed out the caboose.

      Recently did a flat black body wrap for a truck that had some body issues... They sprayed the rims in flat black and threw on some new rubber... that truck wasn't there 2 days.

      why not look for that something that separates you from the rest like: 2Din 6 2" Car DVD CD MP3 Player HD Touch in Dash Stereo Bluetooth iPod FM Radio | eBay Drop one of these in a number of vehicles.. you will quickly be known as the car place that has nice stereos.

      If you look at the car industry as a whole right now.. its stuff like that, that is being used to draw in the younger crowd to buy cars SCION as an example.. They sneeked in and hit on that tuners market, everyone else is still to this day trying to play catch up.

      If you step beyond the fact that you are "Selling Cars" and look more towards the idea of HOW you are selling cars.. you can be like everyone else.. or you can find a way to be different.
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  • Profile picture of the author richie311
    Anyone have anymore tips on marketing used cars for a dealership? Struggling to get leads, Cragslist, Autotrader, Cars.com, Facebook is not enough! Thinking of something to do with print maybe
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    • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      Thinking of something to do with print maybe
      Instead of thinking about it, why don't you just test it and see if it works?

      You had a lot of suggestions above, how many did you test?
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    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      Richie311,

      take the time to answer the questions in Post 20, New Paradigm asked.

      BECAUSE, as it still stands, you have not provided us with enough information.

      Marketing used cars for a dealership. Means nothing.

      There are different types of used car dealers. You have only told us you have about 35 cars currently on the lot. Is this a stand alone lot, only used cars?

      Does he finance (buy here/pay here)?
      Have a garage? Repair?

      Is he a transportation guy (under 5k)?
      Does he sell nicer cars, over 5k?

      By giving us a little more information to work with, we might be able to give you something other than generic answers, even those responses that have worked for other dealers, may not work for your guy because his lot may be different.

      Are you being paid...or on a commission?

      Where have his last 10 buyers come from? How did he do it before you decided to share your "expertise" with him?

      There are different solutions for different circumstances. The guy down the street from me has about the same size lot and moves a ton of cars, mainly selling to KSU and U of Akron students, by advertising on their campuses.

      His cars are clean, tend to be sporty looking (without being real sporty), and he usually makes sure they have a new or good stereo (easy and low cost for him to do). But, another guy down the street, sells soccer mom vans, morning noon and night and his "hook" is safety and economy. He also finances, which is where many small lots make their money, on the financing...

      NOT on the sale of the car. See? They are all different.

      What type of lot are you working on?

      gjabiz



      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      Anyone have anymore tips on marketing used cars for a dealership? Struggling to get leads, Cragslist, Autotrader, Cars.com, Facebook is not enough! Thinking of something to do with print maybe
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I think we. and perhaps OP, need to know more about the dealership.

    Do they have a crappy reputation and need to be turned around?
    Ready, willing and able to do so?

    Have they just been a so so dealership not offering the best cars for their market?

    There is one in my area who has a lot of cars, trucks, and SUV's of all types in inventory
    and they don't seem to turnover a lot (no pun intended). They also don't seem to be
    cleaned or otherwise improved after he takes them in. And, he never answers his phone,
    or returns voice mails.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author richie311
    Yea, the price thing didn't work, it's a big difference between listing prices and not listing prices. I've been posting inventory on Cragsilist but $5/ad everyday for every car is steep. It is selling about 2 cars a week so on an ROI perspective it is worth it, but we need to push 5-6 cars a week. I know it is off season, but I think we can do better.

    It is a new used car dealership with cars priced from $5k-$15k, Trucks, Cars, SUVs just a variety of used cars. Always answer the phone, and we even forward the phone to a cell phone for late night calls and early morning calls.

    There's about 40 cars on the lot now, and should be selling 20/month, but doing about 13-15. I'm trying to push this number passed the 20 mark.

    The popular cars have been selling while the average cars aren't really pushing, but can't buy all popular cars it is impossible to just fill inventory with the top selling car, plus gross is much less because everyone wants to buy them to sell.


    Just looking for new unique ideas on marketing and if anyone has experience in marketing a used car dealership. Or maybe a good CL add to get calls
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      Yea, the price thing didn't work, it's a big difference between listing prices and not listing prices. I've been posting inventory on Cragsilist but $5/ad everyday for every car is steep. It is selling about 2 cars a week so on an ROI perspective it is worth it, but we need to push 5-6 cars a week. I know it is off season, but I think we can do better.

      It is a new used car dealership with cars priced from $5k-$15k, Trucks, Cars, SUVs just a variety of used cars. Always answer the phone, and we even forward the phone to a cell phone for late night calls and early morning calls.

      There's about 40 cars on the lot now, and should be selling 20/month, but doing about 13-15. I'm trying to push this number passed the 20 mark.

      The popular cars have been selling while the average cars aren't really pushing, but can't buy all popular cars it is impossible to just fill inventory with the top selling car, plus gross is much less because everyone wants to buy them to sell.


      Just looking for new unique ideas on marketing and if anyone has experience in marketing a used car dealership. Or maybe a good CL add to get calls
      Listing the price did not work, or not listing the price did not work?
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
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      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      Yea, the price thing didn't work, it's a big difference between listing prices and not listing prices. I've been posting inventory on Cragsilist but $5/ad everyday for every car is steep. It is selling about 2 cars a week so on an ROI perspective it is worth it, but we need to push 5-6 cars a week. I know it is off season, but I think we can do better.

      It is a new used car dealership with cars priced from $5k-$15k, Trucks, Cars, SUVs just a variety of used cars. Always answer the phone, and we even forward the phone to a cell phone for late night calls and early morning calls.

      There's about 40 cars on the lot now, and should be selling 20/month, but doing about 13-15. I'm trying to push this number passed the 20 mark.

      The popular cars have been selling while the average cars aren't really pushing, but can't buy all popular cars it is impossible to just fill inventory with the top selling car, plus gross is much less because everyone wants to buy them to sell.


      Just looking for new unique ideas on marketing and if anyone has experience in marketing a used car dealership. Or maybe a good CL add to get calls

      That's a really good price range ($5k-$15k) as long as the vehicles are decent & the quality matches the price. From what I've read here, the 80% drop looks like sticker shock.

      You might have already said but have you tested an online lead capture form instead of calls? I have a good example of an online form for you If I can find it (buried on my PC). I found the form source from a guy selling cars on Craigslist (I think from New Jersey).
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        richie311, why should anyone buy a vehicle from
        your client?

        Best,
        Doctor E. Vile
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      • Profile picture of the author richie311
        If you can find it that would be great would be interested in taking a look

        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        That's a really good price range ($5k-$15k) as long as the vehicles are decent & the quality matches the price. From what I've read here, the 80% drop looks like sticker shock.

        You might have already said but have you tested an online lead capture form instead of calls? I have a good example of an online form for you If I can find it (buried on my PC). I found the form source from a guy selling cars on Craigslist (I think from New Jersey).
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  • Profile picture of the author richie311
    Listing the price cut calls by like 80% or more
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by richie311 View Post

      Listing the price cut calls by like 80% or more
      Did it harm sales, or just eliminate tire kickers?

      We all want to get to our ideal customers faster, and get more of them.

      Rocky's Autos, the dealership in Colorado that consistently sells the most used cars,
      does a lot of TV ads with price. They are educating their market with examples of the
      cars they sell at what price. They are in what I would call the good value, daily driver market.

      Sooo much more can be looked at, such as conversion of prospects to buyers.

      Again, what is their reputation?

      Is their sales process a real turn off?
      Can their sales process be improved to meet goals from existing prospects?

      Are they earning and asking for repeat and referral business?

      Are their cars of good quality and actually handled enough to earn their dealer and handling fees?
      (Colorado now has a law that says dealer and handling fees have to be included in the asking price,
      not separate and above the asking price.)

      I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately for my hotel. It may change if the
      economy softens, but out of the ten hotels in my county, I'm the only one who is
      not concerned with the steady long term business of the construction worker business.
      There are a lot of long term highway and hydroelectric power plant projects, but I'd have
      to cut prices by a third to one half.

      And, the fact is that the majority of the guys on these crews live like they would at home,
      or worse. They get drunk and rowdy and leave a mess or damages. Some who used to
      work in those other hotels tell me that repairs and cleaning needed after long term stays
      is not worth the cash flow from the construction crews.

      Instead, by providing a clean, safe, quiet, comfortable environment, I'm getting record
      revenues and increasing the business value by a lot. Catering to nice, quiet vacationers
      is working well. I'm also taking advantage of the fact that we are a little away from the highway,
      so it is naturally quieter and naturally brings in less riff raff.

      Hopefully you and the dealership can draw their own conclusions about reaching their target market,
      and adjusting policies and procedures so they get more sales from their prospect flow.


      Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Iannotti
    I thought car dealer marketing was simple.. Advertise vehicles you don't have at crazy low prices to get people in the door, than when a customer shows up, say sorry that vehicle was just sold, but here's what else we have...At least that's how the dealers around me do it..
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  • Profile picture of the author thesadshow
    I personally love working in high value highly competitive markets like this because you know for a fact that these big car dealerships have sunk a lot of money into finding out what works. Everything from the proper colors, calls to action, sales punch lines..everything. Just look at what they're doing and copy it because they aren't doing anything by accident.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    People aren't going to buy a car unless theyre already considering buying a car, you wont attract them to buy a car by spouting crap on Facebook or getting likes etc .

    your job is to discover people already considering buying a car and get them through your customers doors.

    Listen on SM channels for people talking about buying a car and if they are near to fitting your clients market (price range, location, real money or credit etc) then connect with them and get them into a relationship , yes we can source that motor for you at a price youll be happy with , come on down ........
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    Mike

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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    Have you consider doing follow up and lead generation with text marketing?

    More dealerships are now looking at tools such as:

    Landline Texting: Enable the landline phone number for your sales reps so they can send and receive text messages from their direct office line. This is highly effective as they tend to see a better response from prospective buyers.

    Mobile Keywords: Add mobile keywords to your direct mail advertisement so you can capture buyer contact information at their highest point of interest - when they come across your ad.
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    www.Trumpia.com

    Trumpia: The Most Completed SMS Text Messaging Software & API Solution.
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    • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
      Originally Posted by TrumpiaTim View Post

      Landline Texting: Enable the landline phone number for your sales reps so they can send and receive text messages from their direct office line. This is highly effective as they tend to see a better response from prospective buyers.
      Why would they do that instead of using a desktop app that allows them to use their keyboard?

      I do all of my texting using Google Hangouts, which ties to my landline number and mobile.

      Or are you suggesting it is integrated to their desktop?
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