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Ben Garside: Treat family buyers well and enjoy repeat business

Time 5 years ago

AS WE willingly dive into summer celebrations, most of our customers (and us, too) are thinking about holidays and what fun things to do over the coming months.

We all know that summer can be a quiet time for car sales but there are ways to keep the traffic flowing through the showroom doors.

I’ve got to hand it to a couple of dealers who are taking the bull by the horns and being proactive in overcoming the imminent downturn. I have already seen a number of air-conditioning re-gas adverts for cross-selling at my local dealers and the cabriolets have been moved to the front rows on the forecourt.


Hopefully you’re already planning a summer bonanza yourself. But if not, here are a few ideas to assist in your preparations. A year or two ago we did a few family days at dealerships. Now this may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but families are emotional buyers and great for repeat business, if you service them correctly.

On one in particular, we had a number of people carriers and bigger vehicle photos in the advertising, we sent communications via email and post to the dealer’s past customer database. These contacts were who we felt would fit within family demographics, or had purchased similar vehicles to what we were trying to sell.

They were personalised communications informing them of the day we had planned. When the family day arrived we moved the same vehicle types to the most prominent positions on the pitch.

We had some children’s games in the showroom and an ice cream van onsite all day for all to enjoy.


Although this may be an extreme amount of planning and resource for some dealers, the outcome was remarkable and far outweighed the cost and effort.

An ongoing stream of customers arrived and viewed the vehicles, the dealer’s sales were one of his highest of the year and the response online far greater than expected. Now this may not be your favourite idea but thinking outside the box, what would your customers like? A barbecue day perhaps? Whatever it is make sure you enjoy whatever summer we have.

Now over the last few years I have enjoyed writing for Car Dealer Magazine and sharing my knowledge; mainly on marketing, car finance and regulations. In a few weeks, I will be doing a workshop at the CDX16, where I have chosen ‘social proof’ as a subject matter, as this area is becoming more and more prominent in online buyer behaviour, an area that is constantly growing in the motor trade.

We also have a stand at the event, where my colleagues and I will be on hand to offer advice on various subjects as well as being free to talk through First Response’s role in the car finance market.

We will, as with every other company, be dishing out goodies and but also cheat sheets and informative guides. So, make sure you come over and say hello at stand number 115.

Who is Ben Garside? Ben is marketing manager for First Response Finance. 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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