Ahh, the holidays. The summer was busy, but now it might slow down for a bit. Maybe you went pumpkin picking with your family or saw some Christmas displays already in stores and it hit you: Yikes! For as long as you can remember, the car business is a seasonal business as well. Oh no! Here comes Santa Claus to take your money and stop your shoppers from coming into the dealership. Bah, humbug!
This time of year is a great time to spend with family, friends and loved ones…if you’re a bank teller! But you aren’t a bank teller, a government employee, a teacher, or anybody else with a mainstream 9 to 5 job. So if you want “9 to 5 job money“, then go do that. If you want to double or triple their annual salaries, then quit bitching and focus on selling. Your family will understand, and if they don’t and you can’t, then you are in the wrong business.
Our business is affected by many factors: recession, war, weather disasters, etc. If you have sold through any or all of these events, then you can certainly survive the “Holiday Blahs”. The first thing you need to do is change your perspective. People buy cars no matter what the occasion. Don’t believe me? Remember that time you had to work on July 4th? You were so pissed because you missed a BBQ and only a few people came into the dealership, and the deal you made was just a mini or a flat, no real money. Maybe that Halloween you couldn’t trick-or-treat with the kids, and some customer kept you late just to buy the ad car but they couldn’t take it home anyway because the battery was dead and the service department was closed? Or the time you had to work on Christmas Eve and you missed the tree-trimming ceremony with your sister and the family because some retired couple came in to test-drive a new SUV? It was snowing and the roads were treacherous, but you showed them how well the truck handled in the weather and they bought. As a matter of fact, they tipped you $50 that day. Hmmm. Every deal counts. Have you ever missed a big bonus by one car? Ugh. I have and it sucks.
Winter can bring in more business than you know. Talk to the service managers. Prospect the people with high-mileage cars that are afraid to go through another winter with their current junker. Find the customers with the big repair bills, maybe they would benefit from trading it in and getting a new car. Call up your previous customers and wish them well, they will appreciate that you even thought to call. Ask for referrals. Your friends and family know plenty of people who need cars. If you sell trucks, attend events and show off your knowledge. Sell convertibles? Winter clearance sale! Do you work in a warm weather climate? Mention that to your customers. “So glad we don’t have cold winters”. You can make money in all seasons and all climates. The world is changing faster than you. Don’t get left behind.
While we may experience a drop in fresh floor traffic, we must optimize the opportunities that do come in. Summer shoppers that crowd the lot on a sunny Saturday are a dime a dozen. The serious buyer is he who visits like the postman. “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged,” I like to add, “…to deliver your bills!” to the end of that quote, because no matter what, the bills don’t stop coming, and we all need the money. I know I sure do.