7 Creative Car Dealership Promotions to Excite Your Customers and Your Team

Andre Riley
June 24, 2021

Consumers love a sale, a special, a freebie, or anything from which they’re perceiving value. Automotive dealership customers and leads are no exception — a perk here or a gift there can provide an edge toward making a sale.

Consumers love a sale, a special, a freebie, or anything from which they’re perceiving value. Automotive dealership customers and leads are no exception — a perk here or a gift there can provide an edge toward making a sale.

That said, car dealership promotions aren’t just a way to gain more customers, even if that’s the ultimate goal. Great promotions also can engage your employees to be more enthusiastic and diligent when they’re on the clock. Engagement matters — research has shown that businesses with the most engaged employees are 21 percent more profitable than those with a disengaged workforce.

Think about what 21 percent more profitability would mean for your automobile dealership. Creative, exciting promotions offer one piece of the puzzle to delighting customers and motivating employees.

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Prolific Promotions

Not every promotion turns out to be a winner, but most dealerships can zero in on what works and what doesn’t quite work for them. These seven ideas provide a good starting point:

1. Free services

Although offering free services for buying or leasing a vehicle might be in the hall of fame of car dealership promotions, it remains effective. Customers will need oil changes, car washes, emission checks, and other basic maintenance with their new cars — and you’re providing those services (which usually don’t cost you much) as an incentive not only for them to buy, but also for them to keep returning to your dealership for months or even years afterward.

2. Limited free services for a test drive

Just getting potential customers to the dealership can be a challenge, especially with so many online options available to them. A free perk such as a car wash or an oil change for a test drive might seem like a small incentive, but again, the customer must return to the dealership to take advantage of the gift. Upon that return trip, you might be able to get the customer to take another look at the car they test drove …

3. Community events

Host something fun and free, such as a barbecue, small carnival, or kids day, for families and invite both existing customers and the community at large. This will give your returning customers a chance to reconnect with your dealership while offering potential customers a chance to wander into the lot or the showroom to look at your vehicles.

4. Service promotions

Most car dealership promotions center around sales and bringing customers into the showroom. However, service departments can also benefit from promotions, which encourage vehicle owners to choose your dealership for maintenance over a smaller repair shop. The perks don’t need to be elaborate — a free oil change or safety inspection might be enough to persuade customers to bring their cars to you when they need work.

5. Test drive promotions

A challenge with test drive promotions is figuring out if customers are truly interested in buying or are there just for the free gift. The argument that might be made for this concern: It doesn’t matter because you have the undivided attention of a potential buyer for a half-hour — and even if they don’t make a decision that day, you may impress them enough to return. Creative incentives, such as gift cards, amusement park passes, tickets for sporting events, movie passes, and so on, attract these customers as well as impress them.

6. Gas cards

Gasoline is expensive right now, so offering to pay for a customer’s first several tanks of fuel for buying or leasing a new car is not only practical, but also highly appealing and convenient. This can be as simple as handing the gift card to a local gas station for a certain amount of money.

7. Customer-only events

Unlike a community barbecue or kids’ day, a customer appreciation event — such as a picnic or zoo day — is more geared toward existing and valued customers to re-establish and strengthen the relationships your sales team has already made. Salespeople can contact their customers directly to offer tickets to the event. Customers feel appreciated and may remember that appreciation when they’re ready to buy or lease again.

Employees, Front and Center

Car dealership promotions fall flat if employees aren’t part of the plan and effectively engaged. The best ideas appeal not only to customers and potential customers, but also to employees, who see promotions as opportunities rather than gimmicks. Employees can be a great source of ideas — and they also might know what currently appeals to customers — so encourage them to suggest and plan promotions.

Gamification can also be incorporated into car dealership promotions. Team goals can be tied to how many people participated in the promotions, how many leads and sales resulted from those promotions, and anything else that shows the success of your efforts. Rewards can also be tied into the results, giving employees extra incentive to engage with promotions.

Whatever promotions your car dealerships offer, Arcade’s performance engagement platform can enhance by gamifying the experience, providing a way for employees to choose and redeem rewards, and encouraging communication within your team. We’ve recently been named an Affinity Partner of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, which gives AIADA members exclusive pricing, discounts on services, and more. Schedule a demo to learn everything Arcade can do for your dealership.

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