You Deserve a Promotion

Break your late-winter sales slump by offering customers a new incentive to buy from your dealership today.

March 2017, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Pav Sangha

Sales targets are a reality in every month of the year. If the usual approaches to marketing and advertising aren’t building exposure and driving traffic, a new incentive could be the answer you’re looking for.

Properly promoted, incentives will bring people through the door and, more importantly, secure more sales. Whether you take the do-it-yourself approach or run a promotion through your marketing agency, proper planning is the key to success. Let’s take a closer look at how they work and how to get the word out.

Buy and Fly

An incentive is an appealing bonus that is awarded when someone buys a car from during the timeframe of the promotion. They can offer you a unique edge over the dealer down the street, and they come in many flavors.

Airline or cruise tickets are a popular choice in the winter months. We have seen great success among dealers who have utilized travel incentives such as a “buy and fly” deal that helped boost car sales in December — a notoriously slow month for most dealerships. After all, who doesn’t like the sound of a guaranteed bonus holiday with a car purchase?

The effectiveness of your incentive program comes down to how well it is promoted in the first place. There are plenty of options at your disposal, such as proper promo branding in your dealership — think banners, photos of the holiday destination, brochures, and so on. To maximize exposure, consider using billboard, bus shelter, radio and TV ads as well.

If you are running an incentive promotion for the first time, you may wish to test the waters with a digital campaign. More than half the U.S. population is on Facebook, and most of us browse online every day, so Facebook Ads are a great start. Paying for social and search ads can help bring a lot of immediate awareness to an offer that’s running for a limited time.

Eyes on the Prize

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how to best promote an offer. You need to factor in your target market, your location, your competitors, and more. The great thing about cars, though, is that almost everyone needs one. And just like cars, everyone needs a holiday. So why not let them know you can provide both at the same time?

A word of warning: Customers will be turned off if they are drawn in by an incentive only to find the salesperson who greets them has no idea what they’re talking about. Ensure your front-end staff knows the fundamentals and the details of the promotion so they can make it part of their pitch.

Every staff member should be able to answer questions on the fly or at least provide customers with an information sheet. Take time to train all staff about the promotion, when and how to relay it to customers, and the steps necessary to validate it at the point of sale.

A new incentive can be a great way to boost sales. Plan your next promotion carefully and execute it with confidence. Your sales team — and your customers — will thank you.

Pav Sangha is vice president of marketing at Odenza Marketing Group. He has more than 20 years of experience in his field. Contact him at

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