Memorial Day is just around the corner so here’s an idea for you.
Odds are you are saying you’ve been there and done that. Probably not the way I’m going to explain it. Depending on the state you’re in, most dealers have had some experience with off-site “tent sales.”
Going off-site creates lots of issues. Many of those issues can be eliminated by doing an on-site “tent sale.”
Put the tent up as close to the road as possible. Pick the best strategic position on your lot.
Put tables and chairs in the tent.
Put ALL of your people in the tent.
Everybody goes in the TENT!
Work all deals in the TENT!
If at all possible move your computers into the tent and do F&I in the TENT.
Hang banners from the TENT saying “TENT SALE.”
Promote it with Direct mail and/or with a “private invitation” only deal for Thursday before you kick off your regular ads.
Do anything you can to make it look like a circus.
Rent those jumping air things for kids.
Get Port-a-Potties. (People think something special is going on when they see them. Make sure you put them close to the road.)
Balloons and more balloons.
Pop Corn, Sodas, Hot Dogs.
Lots and lots of spiffs for your sales people and managers.
Do a great kick off breakfast on Thursday for your staff. Don’t just do it for the sales staff; get as many of your employees involved as you can. (Feed everybody lunch every day of the event as well.)
Send out memos and emails to all employees explaining in detail what’s going to be happening.
Rope off special parking for customers. Hire an off duty police officer or security guard to direct them.
Answer the phone XYZ Dealership Tent Sale in Progress.
Use any ideas you can think of to create attention.
Do a fundraiser at the same time for the local little league or whatever.
Post the event on your website.
Do an email blast to all your customers advising them of the sale. If your CRM system is sophisticated enough, make sure you tell them you need their specific trade and will pay top dollar for it during the sale.
Giveaways generally don’t do much except cause people to show up to get their gift and leave, but having people register for a free car is a good way to get info on them when they show up. Pick out a $1000 or $2000 car and give it away.
Along that same line, give the salesman who registers the winning ticket some sort of prize. Gift card, $200, whatever floats your boat…
Make up a bunch of signs like real estate signs that say “Tent Sale in Progress” and put along the grass in front of the dealership.
If you’re close to the interstate do some signs with arrows and put up close to the ramp. (Oh come on, the worst that can happen is they make you take them down.)
Rent a chicken suit or some kind of character and have them walk up and down in front of the Dealership with a placard that says “Tent Sale in Progress.”
You just have to be creative. Get some of your key people together and throw around some ideas. Event advertising works. You won’t spend that much more money than you normally spend on a big weekend, but you will get better results.
Consider following up after your “Tent Sale” weekend with a Big Used Car sale the next weekend with a theme of “we have to move all these trades because of the big success of last weekend’s Tent Sale.”
This might not be a fit for everyone, but maybe it’s a fit for you. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs