Each department in your dealership requires a different marketing plan. While some of your customers may cross over from department to department, the fact remains that each department offers a completely unique product. While all of the marketing in your dealership needs to be cohesive, we also have to understand what we are trying to market by department.
- What should you market?
When we think about what we are marketing in our parts department, we have to focus on what we hope our customers will say when they leave the dealership. As we work with dealerships, our goal is for customers to leave saying: “They have great prices and seem to have everything I need.”
This means that every piece of marketing we produce for the department needs to flow back to this statement. How do you help your customers know that you have great prices? Are you telling them how your fill rate out of stocking inventory is in the 90% range? In this example, we are trying to communicate that 9/10 times we will have exactly what you need, and the price is right. You can get more information about setting your parts margins in our Dealer Toolbox.
- How do we market parts?
Now that we know what we are trying to communicate through our marketing, the question you need to ask is: “How do you do it?”
It starts with knowing where your typical customers are. Depending on your lines, your area, and a number of other variables, this will be different for each person. What we do know is that if you identify where you can find your typical customer, there will be other people who fit the same mold right around them. This is because people like people who are like themselves. You typically surround yourself with people who are like you. Facebook understood this concept and put together an option for business pages where you can market to “look-alike” audiences. They identified people who had the same likes and interests as your current followers and, for a fee, you can reach this group.
- Implement a plan
One thing we see that is incredibly effective is a direct mail piece about a parts special you are having and then following it up with a phone call to make sure the customer saw the piece. In addition, if you have a group of high-volume customers who buy parts, our goal is to get and keep more of their parts business. Some of our dealers put a program together for these customers giving them a check back of 1% or 2% of their total money spent when they’ve spent a certain threshold on parts. They typically send these checks out around the first of December and have a loyal customer for the next year. This 1% or 2% is typically a discount most of our dealers would give these customers already, so it’s no additional money out of your pocket – it’s just being delivered differently.
One last thing to keep in mind about your parts marketing is that typically you are your own best-kept secret. You have great prices and the parts in stock, but you never tell anyone about it. By simply putting a part on your counter with a sign that reads: “Check out our prices” and showing how well some of your parts are priced, you will move parts in your dealership and have your customers walking away from the parts counter saying, “WOW!”.