4 Ways Dealers Can Circumvent Today’s Industry Challenges & Drive Revenue

All | July 29, 2021

Author: Russ Beckenstein, General Manager XRM & TiV

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In a year of back-to-back challenges, the competition between dealerships is now reaching a heightened level of intensity, as predicted. To make matters even more challenging, low inventory levels are being compounded by staffing shortages across the dealership.

To survive this stretch, dealers will need to strategically refocus their marketing, sourcing, and staffing efforts to not only maintain but grow their business. Here are four ways dealers can tactically navigate today’s challenges:

  1. Drive Targeted Traffic Through Social Media  

With increased competition for sourcing and selling comes increased competition in digital advertising spaces, not only driving up the cost of ads but providing many options for consumers to consider. But there’s no time to pull back in this area—according to our most recent Automotive Industry Trends GuideMillennials and Gen-Zers now make up 37% of car buyers, meaning it’s time to dial-up and dial in the digital experience. 

Advertising on social media is not only a cost-effective advertising tactic, but also very powerful when matching highly curated messages to the most appropriate targets. While the sky is the limit, right now it’s important to make sure you’re boosting awareness to any buyback programs, connecting in-market shoppers to available inventory, and promoting job postings for any open positions across the dealership.

With so many ways to slice and dice social advertising, it can be difficult to manage anything beyond localized organic posts at the dealership. It’s important to lean on an advertising provider that can not only help determine the best strategies to match your goals, but ensure performance is driving both quality traffic and supporting sales. 

  1. Level Up Your Sourcing Strategies 

With digital efforts at play, it’s good to align strategies with a medium that creates a different type of impact. Handwritten mail provides a personal touch, making the outreach feel highly curated to the individual recipient. A new marketing solution from Affinitiv, Genuine Pen, takes this one step further by providing direct mail that appears as a highly personalized, genuinely handwritten letter, without any effort from the dealer. This simple solution has helped dealers see 3x the response rate compared to traditional mail, making it an inventory sourcing staple. 

While your competitors are also propelling their own inventory sourcing strategies, it’s crucial to avoid any gaps that let leads slip away. A wildly important but often overlooked feature: implement a trade-in experience that keeps traffic on your site. Many tools redirect to a third-party site—where you may have just unknowingly delivered that lead to the competition. Further elevate the experience with a live-appraisal desk that can deliver a nearly instant and guaranteed trade value. This guarantee not only builds trust with the customer but also helps save the dealer time and frustration—you’ve eliminated any need to generate an appraisal quote live on the spot. 

Something important to note: the average vehicle owner keeps their car for around 6.5 years. But trade-ins peak right around a year and 4 months. That means many of your customers may be ready to trade sooner than you think. With the right equity mining tool, dealers can easily pinpoint these targets and start personalized outreach. Offer your best prospects attention-grabbing, personalized equity offers at your store and through email or direct mail.

  1. Supplement Short Staffing in Your BDC  

Maintaining your business is a top priority right now—and due to a shrinking labor force—you may be finding it harder to hire or keep talent in your Business Development Center (BDC). With the goal of developing sales and service business for the dealership, this is a vital traffic-driving component that you can’t afford to have put on hold.

While it may seem convenient to have a full in-house BDC, you may find the benefits of utilizing the right Call Center outweigh the revolving staff. When it comes to shifting outreach to support recall business or adapting to the latest trends, you’ll eliminate the ongoing training aspect as you adjust your needs, and instead will only need to discuss goals and initiatives with your outsourced Call Center. As live professional agents, they are able to adapt to changing scenarios while seamlessly engaging and interacting with your customers. 

  1. Capture & Convert Lost Leads 

While your website is there to help visitors locate information, search available inventory, and more, it’s likely not resulting in as many leads as it could be. Unfortunately, even with a healthy variety of traffic-driving tactics in motion, dealers typically only capture and convert 2% of their site traffic into leads. That’s a lot of money lost in the shuffle. 

A new solution from Affinitiv Advertising, Anonymous Shopper, was created to tackle this issue head-on. With a unique 30-day, multi-channel approach consisting of digital advertising, personalized emails, and personalized postcards, dealers have been able to increase lead capture and conversion up to an astounding 35% while also seeing up to 8x return on ad spend. And by using first-party data, it effectively bypasses targeting issues stemming from recent digital and data privacy changes.  

As uncovered in our most recent Automotive Industry Trends Guide, shoppers are willing to drive further to find the right vehicle right now, a side effect of rising prices due to the semiconductor chip shortage.  When implementing any new strategies, keep this in mind—you’ll want to extend your reach to help expand your lead database. 

When it comes to adjusting your strategies to meet new demands and power through difficult times, always test, tweak, and rely on the right tools and partners to help support you. Be crystal clear on what your goals are to help determine the path that takes you there. Dealers are resilient and resourceful; it’s just a matter of reserving time and focus to implement the right strategies that will keep you on the track to success.


Take action now! Affinitiv’s experts are ready to help you reach your goals and achieve growth through these difficult times. Contact us today for a consultation.

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