Many dealerships in small towns compete with dealerships in big cities not too far away. People assume that by shopping in a larger metro area they’ll have more selection of vehicles and get a better deal.
Convincing auto shoppers to buy from you can be difficult when they tend to lean toward bigger dealerships, assuming they have what they need. So the question is:How does a small town dealership stand out and keep shoppers local, or even better, how do YOU become a destination dealership from the big city?
We broke this down in 4 simple techniques to get auto shoppers to stay local with you:
1. Knowing what to say to bring shoppers in is critical. Before a shopper heads out on a road trip to buy a car, they’ll likely call around first to narrow down their options. Chances are they’ll start with a dealership nearby, hopefully yours. It is critical that whomever speaks with them communicates that you have a lot of inventory available, which is different to the cars that you have in-stock. You have a lot more cars available to you that you can get to a customer, so it’s important that you focus on what’s available, not what’s in-stock.
Your people need to be well trained to know how to open the shopper up to inventory, rather than focusing on one or two cars on your website. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, be sure your website emphasizes that the vehicles listed are only a small representation of the vehicles available.
2. Stay engaged in the local community. People love the idea of supporting local businesses. Not only does it create jobs for the local economy, but the money stays in the community. Don’t be shy to tout your support of the local little league or showcase your volunteer efforts in the soup kitchen. Sponsor community events as a dealership to get your name out there and show you care!
3. Offer exceptional customer service. Your goal should be to impress clients with a unique buying experience where they feel truly valued. Customers appreciate and will seek relationships and experiences, not just end results. They may even be willing to pay more for it. Not only will they refer friends to you, but you will gain a loyal following of repeat clients. To this end, make sure you’re hiring the best people who can deliver on that experience. One bad sales person can taint your reputation.
*If you want a refresher on how to hire the best, read our blog on how to hire and retain salespeople.
- Become a destination dealership. Do you live near any tourist attractions or in a beautiful small town that attracts visitors from across the country? Leverage that to your advantage. Perhaps offer a free ticket to a local amusement park if they test drive a car, or offer to cover a night’s accommodation at a local bed and breakfast if they buy. Next time they look to buy a car they may make a vacation out of it. Now that’s a different car buying experience!
Bottom line is, you need to stand out from the competition and let people know that they’ll not only be taken care of at your dealership, they’ll be getting a unique experience.