Running events at car dealerships is old news but coming up with new dealership event ideas can be tricky. The idea of dealership events is to get a select audience into your dealership who have a mutual interest in what you’re doing. You’re likely to sell off the back of it.
The trick is to cover all the bases with your events. It’s all very well presenting the flagship model launch. However the likelihood is that the majority of your business comes from a far wider spread of customers with varying vehicle needs.
Dealership event ideas – Launch Event
The new model has just launched. There’s been tons of coverage by the manufacturer on TV and in the press. The vehicle’s been placed well in media, TV and film. You’ve already achieved the ‘awareness’ stage of the sales cycle. So all you need to do is let people know it’s arrived. Make sure there’s something that’s going to make this event memorable.
Launching any new product is an exciting time. Getting it right so that you’re remembered for the correct reasons is the real challenge. First you must decide whether you’re going to have an ‘unveil’. Is the event going to be invite only or a public event. Consider what you’re going to do to make people want to take part. It’s all very well creating a brilliant event but if no one shows, it can be an incredibly expensive exercise.
Think very carefully about your target audience. Who does this vehicle fit? How many people in your database fit the right criteria? How easily can you extract that information and put it to use? What’s their preferred method of communication? How much time have you got to play with?
There’s a raft of questions that need to be asked and worked through in order to get your launch event right. Do you use a personalised approach and select the right audience for whom the vehicle is relevant. With this in mind it’s more than likely that when you run a launch day, you’re going to sell vehicles.
Dealership event ideas – Demo day
One of the best ways to sell vehicles is to get your potential customer to drive the car in question. The problem is that many customers are also aware of this. Many will only normally arrange a test drive if they’re in the market for a new car. The same applies for walking into a showroom. Consumers are aware of the message they’re giving out and that they’re likely to get pounced on when the enter the showroom.
A demo day is a fantastic way to give customers a sense of security. By being among others, they may get away with test driving a car without getting the sales pitch. There’s also a high likelihood that you’ll attract other potential customers to a demo day who aren’t consciously in the market for a new car.
The administration of setting up a demo day can be quite daunting if you set about it in the traditional method. You know how you want it to work but organising that may seem like an intense uphill challenge. With the technology of today it’s actually quite straightforward to communicate with all your potential invitees. Get their demos booked in and simply make sure you and your team are there to sell on the day, without lifting a finger or a telephone hand set in advance.
Dealership event ideas – Owners club events
Most makes and marques have a strong club and historic following. So what? Why does this make any difference to you? The thing is that owner clubs demonstrate heritage and enthusiasm. Owner clubs are brimming with people who already love your brand and want to help protect the heritage and values it stands for.
These people can actually be used to extend your sales team at your dealership. How you may ask?
No matter what the brand or marque, there are people who advocate it. If you can get a group of them to your dealership site, they not only feel a link between them and the official brand but it also generates public interest. Some of the most successful luxury car brands use this kind of technique in their marketing. People like heritage and nostalgia, it gives them a sense of security. (This is actually the same reason you see re-runs of old ads in tough times and why fashion goes full circle)
Organise an owner’s club event at your dealership. Not only will you have 2 organisations promoting it, you’ll also have potential customers within the owner club members. As such you’ll also have fantastic leverage to bring potential customers on site without them feeling like it is a sales event.
Dealership event ideas – Discount days
Discounting is a technique used in sales and marketing every minute of every day. Sales and special offers are a standard part of every shopping experience. The reason it works is that it is human nature to want to ‘get a deal’. Therefore using time limited offers can create a sense of urgency that may have otherwise been absent.
How this can work for automotive dealerships is multi-faceted. Not only do manufacturers regularly run offers but dealerships can also introduce value for customers by creating deals. Examples of the types of deals that are used include fixed price servicing, bundled servicing and value upsells.
The real trick to making discounts and offers work is how and when they’re communicated. In any leading dealership you tend to find a collection of these types of deals and offers that can be rolled out at any time. The reason they do this is to keep the cost of promotion down and to enable tactical response to business performance. How often do you think a fixed price servicing offer is rolled out at a time when the workshop doesn’t look too busy in the forthcoming weeks?
Dealership event ideas – Open / Motorsport day
Open days can take all forms but some of the best are those that highlight the brand’s sporting heritage or links to charities. A charity car wash for example can do a huge amount for footfall. Technology and sustainability improve constantly. As a result it’s worth considering links with local colleges and enterprises to make your event more attractive to your potential customers.
There are a number of key dates throughout the year that can be used to greater advantage than others. The better your organisation and advance planning, the more likely it is that you can capitalise on these pre-determined events to make them more rewarding for your dealership. If, for example, your brand is sponsoring a major sporting event such as a golf tournament, why not invite the local pro in, arrange some ‘free lessons’ and broadcast footage around the dealership? You can use the opportunity to open conversations with your potential customers around subjects they’re comfortable with. This makes the sales process easier to begin.
Need help making your dealership events more lucrative?
Your first port of call should be speaking with a marketing company that has direct experience of what you’re trying to achieve. Direct experience of organising successful events at motor dealerships will help you to avoid costly mistakes and improve the performance of the whole event.
As specialists in marketing and automation, we not only put all the creative together for our customers. This includes writing text messages and producing event materials such as banners and email templates. We also handle the whole promotion process and attendee administration with our rmcom system. rmcom is a marketing automation software system already used by many motor groups in the UK and further afield..
By Ryan Mullins