Memorial Day weekend has historically been a weekend of epic deals in the automotive industry. This is a 3-day window to move a large amount of inventory in a short time.
Then COVID-19 happened.
Car dealers are an essential business, but with many states still having precautionary shelter-in-place phases in place, how can car dealers ensure that their planned Memorial Day sales events can be a bang rather than a bust? Plus, how can a dealer still provide the safety and comfort of their customers? We have put together five preparatory measures that car dealers can put in place before Memorial Day weekend. We want to emphasize the word before Memorial Day weekend. The more information that you can share with your local audience on how your dealership will handle this sales event, the more successful it can be.
1. Keep your online car-buying options kicking!
You already have your online car-buying and delivery options set up – so keep the momentum going! Make sure that whatever incentives you are showcasing for Memorial Day are also present on your online ordering landing pages. Are you offering free delivery or, better yet, nationwide delivery? Let’s make sure that it is very apparent within your advertising copy. That means it is a post on Google My Business, front-facing posts on Instagram and Facebook, and an ad on all your social media platforms.
2. Set up outdoor seating that adheres to social distancing.
If you happen to have great weather Memorial Day weekend, take your sales conversations outside of the showroom. Customers and salespeople can still have privacy to talk through a transaction, even outdoors. Try setting up tables six to eight feet apart in the parking lot. This is also a great way to show safe activity taking place at the dealership. It says to customers passing by, “Yes, we are open, and we are taking your health and the health of our staff seriously.” For more information on how to put your dealership’s social distancing measures in place, head to the CDC.
3. Secure your finance office and find ways to cut down on the time your customer and staff spend in the office.
Historically, time in the finance office can be lengthy for your customer, and the location of this office is often – confined. Ensure that you are cleaning your finance desk after every customer, offering disposable pens, and installing a shield at the end of the desk. A little extra barrier creates added security for your staff and your customers. If you can add an additional finance manager to your team, this can help speed up the process and time between customers, so they are not waiting for several minutes, or worse, hours between their time with your sales staff and their time with your finance manager.
4. Make sure that sanitation stations are readily available throughout the showroom and lot.
This detail seems like a no-brainer at this point, but if you want to take your sanitation measures step further, document these sanitation stations. Whether it’s showing your service staff using the stations or shooting a video for your social media to let your customers know that these safety measures are available to them, this content and information need to readily available and promoted to your audience.
5. Check your occupancy allowances for your state and stick to them.
Understandably, there will be some customers who may be frustrated by precautionary measures at the dealership. At the same time, there may also be customers who need to know that you are taking every precaution to be secure. To meet in the middle of these two camps, make sure you are sticking to your occupancy allowances for your state. Post them on your doors, create a video talking about them that can be posted to your social media accounts, and update your website so that this information is easily searchable.
Even with all of this prep work, there will still be those that think these measures are too much or too little, and you’re bound to hear about it. Whether through an online review or social media, on your online review and social media, how you respond to these frustrated comments will make an impact overall. Having a specific person designated at the dealership during the event timeframe will make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you immediately and have their questions (and even their grievances) quickly answered. Your response turnaround time is vital! Please respond to all of your comments immediately so that your customers know that you are open and ready to help them with whatever they need.