How to Sell Cars During an Outbreak

In addition to our shared personal concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, car dealers, understandably, are also worried about the potential impact on sales in the coming weeks and months.

When foot traffic slows, how are we supposed to keep in-market car shoppers engaged, interested, and fill our sales pipeline for the inevitable rush after the threat has passed?  The simple answer is COMMUNICATION & ENGAGEMENT.

Is your showroom as empty as the toilet paper shelves? We got you.

While Americans are scrambling to buy up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer, car dealers must also begin TODAY implementing process adjustments. Your internet sales team, eCommerce managers, and BDC staff are about to seriously earn their keep. The up bus is not only broken down, but it drove off a cliff and exploded on impact. Phone calls, emails, text messages, Facebook messages, and website chats are now more vital than they have ever been. But is your team equipped with the right tool to give USEFUL information to your customers?

Here’s why you should NOT freak out: The economy is filled with money, rates are low, tax returns are coming back, and demand is going to explode when the virus scare is over.

What you do between now and then will determine whether you sell out of cars in April or watch the customers drive right past you to the guys doing it better down the street. The car dealers who are strongest at providing price, payment, and vehicle info and options digitally are the most likely to keep quarantined shoppers engaged.

People like to push buttons.

Dealers using illumiQUOTE are uniquely prepared to dominate quarantined car sales because.  We provide instant, personalized, accurate, and interactive price and payment options with all taxes and fees included. illumiQUOTEs can be sent by email, text, chat, messenger, and everywhere else you can type to talk with someone interested in buying a car. Our payment presentations include everything you and your customer need to move forward without a showroom visit:

– Vehicle images & information
– Manufacturer rebates and incentives
– Lease & finance programs from your actual lenders
– Interactive term options
– Money-down & monthly payment options
– Trade value
– New and used car options PENCILED automatically…and more

For an industry raised on “just get them in the door,” this pandemic presents a unique opportunity to see which dealers will be adaptive and QUICK to make the necessary adjustments. The reward will be a flood of sales once we’re out of the woods with the virus scare. 

You’re still coming to work, right?

Here’s how illumiQUOTE dealers can dominate the competition with our solution:

Place iQ payment presentations directly on your website. Shopping online is going to be necessary so make it VERY easy for customers to find and interact with your illumiQUOTE payment presentations on your website.

Send every new lead (from every lead source) an iQ.Whether your customer reached out from your website, a third party lead provider, social media, or a personal referral, they all want to know the same things: Is the car available and how much can I buy it for (for most, this is a lease or loan payment with money down, they need all the info, not just a sale price.)

Email or text iQ to all prospects who haven’t purchased in the last 90 days. People have money in the bank and a lot of free time on their hands. Get in front of them and STAY in front of them while they wait it out. With a personalized quote, you will stand out from others who are still telling them their “presence is their best leverage.”  Even if your lead is cold, they will revisit their car shopping activity when they realize you make it EASY and achievable from home. 

Hit everyone who leased a car from you 1.5 years ago with iQ. Yep, there is a magic number for lease prospecting, it’s 18 months. This is the moment when lessees begin to plan their next new vehicle. Make sure their envisioning one of YOUR cars by sending a personalized, interactive illumiQUOTE presentation on something similar to what they’re driving now, and ALSO a collection of other vehicles you’d like them to consider. 

Advertise HEAVILY that you have a “shop-from-home” solution for car buying. People can’t take advantage of your innovative new way to buy a car if they don’t know you have it. Traditional advertising is an option – give your illumiQUOTE process a slick name like, “Car-owna-virus Express”… or something less terrible, and get the message out. Shout it from a mountain top. For quick, inexpensive exposure, you can’t beat Facebook ads (if you need help setting this up, just let us know.)

Follow up with iQ presentations on the initial vehicle of interest as well as similar models. If a customer ignores or does not respond to your first quality response, send them a broadened collection of vehicles to consider including both new and used cars penciled with interactive finance options and all taxes and fees included. 

Above all, the message here is to STAY ENGAGED with your leads, customers, and community about how you make it easy to buy a car, whatever the situation may be. Being flexible and open with customers about their purchase options BEFORE they come to the showroom is the ultimate demonstration of trustworthiness and transparency. Customers crave info, all the time, not just during a pandemic. 

Please reach out to our FRIKIN team if you’re ready to position your dealership for massive success navigating this odd situation and in the future.

Written on March 13, 2020

Written by Christine Plunkett

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