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5 Tips to Help Your Dealership Prepare for Tax Season

For some dealerships, the tax season is already well underway. For others, tax season sales have had a slow start, a far cry from the large influx of customers seen in tax seasons past. While the tax season has had a slower start (likely due to the mandatory PATH Act Delay for filers), this slow start should not alter yearly revenue or sales—sales typically seen in February will likely be recovered in March and April. As these crucial next few months’ approach, your dealership must be ready and willing to do what it takes to attract and woo these customers! Using these 5 tips, you can revamp your tax season strategy and ensure you’re setting your dealership up for success:

1. Create Sales Promotions Specific to the Tax Season

Consumers are always looking for a great deal, especially during tax season. While traditional sales and financing offers may be enough to attract customers, sales and promotions based on tax refunds (for example, doubling their refund for a down payment) can help your promotions seem more attractive and time-sensitive. You can always place different conditions on any offer, for example limiting the amount of the incentive, or specifying which cars the offer is valid on.

2. Market Your Dealership

A sales promotion is only valuable if consumers know about it!  Promote your dealership and sales in any way that you can—whether that’s by sending out an email campaign to past customers or mailing out flyers to those in the area, any type of marketing will help you increase brand awareness. You can also use your marketing to inform customers of special financing offers available for low income customers, or about tax refund specials (such as doubling their refund). If you don’t have a large marketing budget available, you can, at the very least, post your sales and promotions on your social media sites, or print out flyers to bring into tax preparation offices in the area. You can additionally offer a commission to tax preparers that send customers to you.

3. Stock Up on Great Inventory

Always spend time looking for the inventory that reflects the wants and needs of your target market. What consumers want in Florida may not be what consumers want in Nevada and vice versa!  Additionally, while getting a great deal is key for dealers, the more important element is whether or not your consumers will like your “great deal”. If they don’t, you’ll be stuck with that car in your inventory for a longer period of time, reducing your profit margin. Lastly, while acquiring a large stock of inventory might be your goal, be careful not to acquire too much inventory, at the expense of having cash on hand. Be sure to always keep enough cash on hand to pay 1-2 months’ worth of bills and other expenses.

4. Train Your Staff

Create processes and procedures that your staff can follow, and train them on them! Make sure your staff understands how you’d like the customer journey to go, and make sure they have no questions about the process. Additionally, make sure every employee knows the tax season promotions and offers available to customers. You can role play a typical customer/salesman scenario with your staff in order to help them get comfortable with new promotions and offers. Lastly, make sure that your staff knows that they are crucial to making or breaking a sale—the more satisfied a customer is with the experience, the more likely they are to buy a car from your dealership.

5. Close the Sale

If customers aren’t enjoying the car buying process, you won’t make the sale. If you’ve already tried to make the process as pleasant and transparent as possible and they still aren’t convinced, try offering a 30-day guarantee to help place them more at ease. If they still decide to leave, make sure to end the appointment on a pleasant note—40% of car buyers do end up purchasing their vehicles from a dealer they walked out of.

Preparing your dealership for the tax season doesn’t have to be a pain! All it takes is some time, energy, and a little bit of elbow grease to get your dealership ready for the crowds. Just follow these key tips to ensure you make the most of the tax season ahead. Good luck and happy selling—may the odds be ever in your favor!