Summer Car Sales Guide for Dealerships 2022

June 6, 2022 automotiveMastermind

Summer car sales are always important for auto dealerships’ annual results. Over the years, dealers have traditionally relied on summer car sales events to meet their sales goals.

Grappling with ongoing inventory challenges and few OEM incentives, dealers in 2022 are challenged to discover new ways to engage customers without the attractive offers of summer sales events in the past. 

But there is still plenty of opportunity for dealers to maximize their profitability during this key sales season – if they can take a targeted approach to sales and marketing efforts.

In this blog post, we’ll share how dealers can reimagine their 2022 sales events by: 

●  Proactively engaging auto sales leads

●  Prioritizing pre-owned sales and acquisitions

●  Offering a customer-first dealership experience

Proactively Engaging Prospective Customers

Despite ongoing inventory challenges, consumer demand has remained relatively consistent throughout 2022. In fact, in a 2022 industry survey, more than 60% of consumers stated the inventory shortage and price increases hadn’t changed their purchase timelines. However, dealers may need to change theirs, proactively engaging prospective customers before they return to market.

How Can Contacting Leads Early Help Sales?

As production delays and disruptions continue to extend buyers’ paths to purchasing and prices continue to rise, it’s critical dealers engage automotive sales leads earlier than they would in the past. This allows you to build trust with buyers and set realistic expectations with customers.

Instead of mass marketing summer sales events, look for opportunities to engage prospects up to 12 months before they return to market, leveraging personalized messaging to set the stage for an excellent buying experience tailored to each buyer’s unique needs.

Knowing these leads are likely not yet ready to purchase, use this opportunity to simply touch base with previous and future customers to gauge their satisfaction with their current vehicles and address any immediate concerns. This is a great time to discuss summer service specials – as well as pre-orders and reserved sales.

Remember: The goal at this stage is to build trust, keeping customers engaged and your dealership top-of-mind when buyers return to market.


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Prioritizing Pre-Owned

Limited inventory and built-up customer demand has resulted in historic new vehicle prices in 2022. In May 2022, industry analysts forecasted the average new-vehicle transaction price to reach $44,832, an annual increase of $6,577 compared to May 2021.

While customers may expect deep discounts at summer sales events, fewer OEM incentives, rising interest rates and high ticket prices are challenging dealers trying to appeal to price-sensitive shoppers.

Pre-Owned Vehicle Recommendations

In addition to ensuring your sales and F&I teams are up to date on OEM(s) in terms of production delays, lenders’ programs, captive finance options and other relevant updates, this is when maintaining a high-quality, homegrown pre-owned inventory becomes especially valuable.

Vehicles in a dealership’s homegrown inventory are sold as a new vehicle sale, returned to the dealership for service and eventually traded in, reconditioned and sold again as a pre-owned vehicle. This approach empowers dealers to stock their inventory with in-demand makes, models and trim packages while minimizing unpredictable reconditioning costs. 

This approach also requires dealership-wide buy-in from sales, service, F&I and marketing to be successful and maximize profitability. Dealership marketing tools like Mastermind empower dealers to largely automate the process from the first new vehicle sale to identifying and engaging the best pre-owned prospect for that vehicle later down the line. Our dealer partners report an average cost-per-sale of $115, significantly lower than the industry average of $624.

Offering a Customer-First Dealership Experience Across Every Channel

As inventory shortages linger on, consumer buying habits are changing. In recent reports, S&P Global Mobility found a strong correlation between days’ supply and make loyalty, demonstrating consumers’ eagerness to switch dealerships – or even brands – to find the vehicle they want.

This both challenges dealers to proactively protect their loyalty audience while offering the opportunity to conquest customers who may not have previously considered their dealership. To successfully achieve either, dealers need to meet and exceed buyers’ expectations.


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Customer Experience Recommendations

While in the past dealers may have relied on major sales-style strategies and spray-and-pray marketing to attract and convert customers, in today’s competitive market, it’s important to pay close attention to how you connect with your customers across channels. Now is the time to assess how well you know your audience and their buying preferences to personalize your outreach to leads.

This includes offering digital retailing and other convenient purchasing options like pre-orders and reserved sales. Ensure your dealership’s messaging is consistent across channels – both online and in-person – including providing easily accessible and actionable customer insights to your sales and service teams so they can build upon any previous touchpoints.

Offering this sort of personalized, white-glove customer experience is invaluable to engaging and retaining customers, especially in the absence of attractive summer sales events.

Conclusion

While this summer sales season will likely look different than the past, there is still plenty of opportunity for dealers to maximize their profitability in 2022. By taking a data-driven approach to truly understanding their audience, dealers are empowered to proactively engage automotive leads, profitably acquire and sell pre-owned vehicles and efficiently offer an excellent customer experience.

Interested in learning how Mastermind can help your dealership maximize its sales and marketing efforts in 2022? Contact us for a free demo.

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