• 9 Common Car Dealership Sales Mistakes and How to Fix Them

9 Common Car Dealership Sales Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Car dealerships are a balancing act of selling cars, sourcing stock, and keeping customers happy. Find out how to tread this line successfully and fix the most common mistakes!

Are you looking to enhance your business strategy, attract more customers, and improve your overall sales process - but are not quite sure where to begin and which advice to take? We’re here to help clear the waters and provide you with simple tips that go a long way.

When it comes to car dealerships and buying cars in general, customers - private and traders alike - will appreciate a transparent and proactive business. In order to make a successful sale, we’ve prepared some tips for you on how to make your trading business more user-friendly and avoid some of the most common mistakes car dealerships make.

 How to fix common mistakes car dealers make

1. Build a website that solves your customers' needs

2. Recognize the potential of social media

3. Know your target audience

4. Be knowledgeable about your product

5. Create an efficient sales process

6. Work with trusted suppliers

7. Understand the power of great photos

8. Invest in SEO

9. Follow up with your existing clients


1. Build a website that solves your customer’s needs

First impressions are important, and this is where your website game makes a huge difference. Depending on whether you’re selling to private customers or other automotive professionals, you’ll need to figure out what type of information your customers need and have a good amount of it on your website. 

Pay special attention to your homepage. Make it attractive to your clients, and provide enough initial information for them to be willing to click through onto other pages on your site and do a search of your offered vehicles.

Use analytics to understand exactly which parts of your website are users most attracted to, but also to see specifically when and where your potential customer decides to click off and leave your website.

Then you can work on improving that particular content type or service. Maybe your search options can be further optimized and customized, and maybe the customer journey could be perfected to achieve a bit more clarity.  

Finding a balance between too little and too much information is essential. The more time you spend building your website, the more time a customer will give you - and you will make a successful sale!


2. Recognize the potential of social media 

Research shows that seven out of ten vehicle buyers are influenced by social media, which makes it a powerful tool to invest time in.

Source: AOF

Investigate which social media platforms work best for your business and post there regularly. You can engage with potential buyers, purchase stock, get involved in the customer experience, and answer reviews, questions, and suggestions.

Advertising is essential - attract new audiences who will land on your website and spread awareness about your business. 

eCarsTrade PRO TIP - keep meticulous track of your expenses, to make sure you can tweak your ads and posts accordingly to maximize your reach and success rate. If an ad isn’t working for you in terms of achieving its full potential, revise it to reach the right audience.

As with most business strategies, consistency is key. Maintaining an active online profile, along with prompt response times, shows that customers can rely on you and your company.


3. Know your target audience

Who are your potential customers and who do you wish to target through your sales process? One of the most common mistakes is targeting just about anyone and everyone, hoping that sooner or later something will stick. We have just the right solution for this common misconception!

Narrow your audience according to the factors which work the most in your favor. It might be a certain age range or an income bracket - think which cars you would have the budget to buy if you were in your customers’ shoes. Which type of vehicle and what characteristics would you be looking for? Once you establish this, focus on matching the right product with the right customer.

Speaking of the needs of your audiences, invest in great customer support. Keeping hold of existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Once you focus on what types of buyers you wish to target, help them become loyal customers by showing them you are there for all their potential questions and issues. 

Here at eCarsTrade, we invest a lot of time and effort into building real relationships with our customers by allowing them to always have direct contact with their designated account manager. Having that human connection is essential to making your clients feel acknowledged and taken care of.


4. Be knowledgeable about your product

Think about all the questions you might have if you were buying a car, and prepare an answer for each and every variation of vehicle you offer. Confident sellers attract customers’ confidence in the product that they’re purchasing. 

If you adjust your tone of voice accordingly and listen actively - it instantly makes your product more buy-worthy. And more importantly, actively listening to your customers allows you to implement their feedback and improve your sales strategy.

A good sales strategy goes a long way - prepare a benefit or a positive fact about a vehicle, and be ready to mention it during a conversation with a potential buyer. Show your expertise while being transparent and honest with your customer and guide them into choosing a vehicle that will perfectly suit their needs, as well as fit within their budget.

Think about all the questions previous customers had and anticipate what a future potential buyer might be interested in. A good salesperson needs good communication skills in order to convey their knowledge and get their point across without pressuring the customer or making them feel inadequate. Learn more about how to perfect your skills in this article.

5. Create an efficient sales process

Selling a car is of the greatest importance, naturally, but what if you could also use the sales process to create a positive experience for your customers so that they a) come back, and b) spread the good word about you and your business? Yes, please.

Focus on selling value first and talk about great money-saving deals second. We know everyone loves a good discount, but good value generally comes first for your customers - a high-quality investment saves money in the long run as well. 

Offer a solution to your buyers’ problems, and you will acquire a loyal customer. Think about including strategies like direct emails and newsletters - whether you send a personal note or update your social media presence, you can ensure that your customers keep coming back whenever they need a new vehicle.


6. Work with trusted suppliers

In 2023, now more than ever, most things happen online and we all went digital. You as a trader might have the same type of questions about buying a car online as a potential customer does - we answer some of those questions in our myth-busting article about online car auctions

Most importantly, doing some research on who you want to work with - and source from - will prove beneficial in the long run both for your sales numbers and the satisfaction of your customers.

Doing your research and looking for trustable suppliers can also be an exercise in empathy. Your clients will care about working with great dealers the same way you care about finding great suppliers. So putting yourself in their shoes will allow you to improve your product and your strategy, so you can create that connection with your clients. 

Maintaining a good working relationship with your provider helps you achieve a competitive advantage on the car trading market and helps instill a sense of confidence into your potential customers. It will certainly help you get those five-star reviews for consistent quality of your service!

All our cars here at eCarsTrade come from trusted leasing companies and dealerships that accurately and extensively document the vehicles’ mileage, service history, and current condition. So if you’re looking for a trusted supplier, look no further.


7. Understand the power of great photos

Reports show that 62% of buyers are more likely to buy a product if they can see photos of it first. Makes sense, right? You can see what you’re getting without physically going anywhere - and without potentially getting disappointed in the process. Your customers will be thankful for saving them some time.

Take plenty of photos of the vehicle, from all angles. Think about including a video as well, especially if you have a limited amount of space on your website. Make sure you don’t skip any defects the vehicle might have - buyers will appreciate the honesty and straightforwardness. 

Other than a camera and some basic editing skills, you need to decide on the location of the shoot and what the hero products will be (the ones you’re focusing on to achieve the highest sales numbers). 

To find out more about how to take great photos for your dealership business, check out our article on how to take amazing photos of your cars and boost your sales.


8. Invest in SEO

If you choose very competitive and “commonly used” keywords, your content may not show up on the first page of the search engine. On the other hand, if you use unconventional keywords no one searches for, people won’t find your site. So how to proceed? We have just the right advice for you.

Place your keywords naturally in the text and in few strategic places throughout your website. Keywords should go in the introduction or near the top of the page, as well as the conclusion of the page.

You can also include the keywords in your title tag and meta description, which show up under your website link on Google.

Investing into marketing is a gift that keeps on giving, and it’s a worthy pursuit for every car trader. If you’re unsure where to begin or you want to perfect your general marketing strategy, learn more with the help of our marketing strategies.


9. Follow up with your existing clients

When it comes to following up, it’s important to focus on both your potential buyers and existing customers. Not making a sale right away doesn’t mean the sale won’t come through, but there are things you can do to ensure that it really does. 

Private and professional customers alike need a bit of a time delay before making a large purchase, which is perfectly normal. Offer advice on their potential purchase and provide any deals you might be able to arrange for them. Follow up via email or via short and sweet phone calls. Always make sure you come across as helpful and patient.

Once the customer makes the purchase, show them that your good will was more than a one-time thing. Let them know they can come to you in case of any future doubts and concerns - most likely they will not need your help, but it will leave them with a sense of security and satisfaction about making the right decision when choosing to buy from you.

Fix common mistakes car dealerships make and boost sales

So there you have it! These are some of the most common areas of improvement you can work on whether you are in the B2C or B2B used car industry.

If you’re looking to enhance your business strategy, attract more customers, or simply improve your overall sales process, these simple tips will get you started on the right path.

And if you’re looking for a new source of used cars for your automotive business, that’s where eCarsTrade comes in! Register right now and browse hundreds of ex-lease cars.