Winter is coming… Make sure that you as a salesperson are not left out in the cold! As a car dealer, you can better surf the waves of the seasons to keep up sales during the dark winter months. These 5 simple tips will possibly do your business figures a great service over the months to come.
We don’t know whether it’s due to the gloomy weather or the empty wallets after the expensive end-of-year period: in any case, statistics show that the cold winter months come with a drop in car sales. Historically speaking, this drop is explained by the fact that motorists prefer to wait until after the depths of winter (due to the higher risks of rust and accidents) before replacing their car. Even so, here at OPENLANE, we believe that even during winter it’s possible to have your business running at full steam. Certainly when you abide by these five rules of thumb.
1. Search for clients where they are to be found: online.
The days are cold and short, and that means that the average client does not feel the urge to freeze their toes off wandering around the snow-decked car yard of a second-hand dealer. As a loyal OPENLANE client, you probably know very well that the sale of a second-hand car begins more and more on the internet and social media. Consider perhaps placing a few special winter deals on your own Facebook page, or start an end-of-year campaign: this way your stock comes to the attention of the widest possible audience, and with a relatively limited budget.
2. Adjust your range
No matter how good your marketing strategy is, everything stands or falls with the cars that you have to offer. In the winter, the demand for small city cars with limited driving assistance and other safety systems falls markedly, while 4-wheel-drive models naturally change owners much more easily when driving conditions demand it. Contrary to what many think, it’s by no means just Fins, Austrians and Icelanders that buy 4x4s: the market penetration of four-wheel drive cars in all of Europe rose from 2.6 to 14.8% between 1990 and 2017. The frontrunners are Switzerland (45.8%), Norway (39.3%) and Sweden (3.42 %). Another tip: when buying, try to pay attention to typical ‘wintry’ options, such as seat or steering wheel heating, heated side mirrors, or remote-controlled parking heating.
3. Focus on SUVs, SUVs and SUVs
Perhaps you’re more active in southern Europe, or you doubt that your clients are looking for a winter-proof 4×4. In that case, you can resort – in so far as you haven’t already done so – to the automobile cash cow of the past decade: the SUV. While they sell like hot cakes 365 days a year, apparently their popularity climbs even more as temperatures fall.
4. Give ‘winter’ extras rather than discounts.
The law of supply and demand could make you decide to lower your pricing in order to boost your year’s sales volume. Yet you don’t have to start hefty discounting at the last minute to pull in your clients. For instance, it can pay to treat potential buyers to some winter extras, such as a free winter check, an extra set of winter tyres, or a voucher for some free car washes. Your margins will thank you!
5. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Finally, it’s important to be aware that it’s a buyers’ market in the winter, where the prices are largely determined by the more limited demand. However, it does you no service to pressure your clients because you want to score that one extra deal, no matter what. So go easy with your negotiations and accept a margin on the low side now and again: it will only benefit your relationship with the buyer. Want to know what cars are available at OPENLANE right now? Discover them here!
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author only and not those of OPENLANE Europe.