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Ben Garside: Ditch the doom and gloom – here’s how to jump-start the marketplace!

Time 9:13 am, July 2, 2019

TO look outside at the moment, it finally seems as though summer is here!

People are starting to jet off to warmer climates abroad or pack up and go to the seaside or maybe a campsite in the UK.

Either way, many consumers aren’t thinking of buying vehicles and the usual seasonal dip is just around the corner.


I’ve noticed the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that used car sales seem to be staying steady at around a 0.6 per cent fall in their year-on-year figures (looking at Q1), while new car registrations have dipped slightly by 2.4 per cent.

Unfortunately, I can’t get access to more up-to-date numbers from the SMMT for the used car market.

However, the new car market figures for May show them down by 4.6 per cent on May 2018. The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) has also just released figures for April, which reveal financed used cars are up by four per cent and new cars down by two per cent.

This shows there is an already diminishing market for new cars.


However, the market is probably holding steady overall. With consumer confidence low and uncertainty in the UK over Brexit and now the next Conservative Party leader, etc, it’s no wonder we don’t have a booming marketplace.

Extra freebies

Let’s not be all doom and gloom, though. We’ve all been here before and we know how to sell.

Things I would advise you to do are:

1. Get your offers in order. Over this period, you will need some good hooks to secure customers when they’re not actively looking. Things such as getting your prices right you’ll know, but what about some extra freebies that you have available, that are cheap for you but you usually charge as an extra for the customer? Everyone loves a freebie. One of the best giveaways I have seen is free labour on the car that you’ve bought, with the customer just having to pay for the parts.

2. Get your finance companies on board and involved in any marketing/offers and bring more companies in if you need to. At First Response, I know that we are always here to help where we can. What I mean by this is speak to your account manager and ask them if they have any ideas or available products to help you gain or capture more business. Finance is always a way to sell more cars.

3. Don’t stop advertising – in fact, do more. You can look at previous advertising media that you may have dropped. Maybe look at some additional on-site advertising and messages. And get in touch with your previous customers; they may be ready for a new vehicle.

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4. Open or family days are always good fun and a great way of sourcing local community leads. While they can be costly, if you make the most of them they can be very successful. When you have people on site, get them to check in on social media for a raffle ticket or to get a free drink/snack. This way, people are also spreading your name all over social media to like-minded people.

If you have any questions or want some further advice on finance or marketing tactics to gain you more customers, leads and visitors, I’d be happy to assist. Just drop me an email via the address below.

Ben Garside is marketing manager for First Response. Call him on 07817 518739 or email [email protected]

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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