Get people to enjoy their cars – it works
10 June 2018
Adrian Frearson, that was his name, the energetic sales exec at what was then Greenhous Vauxhall in my native Stoke-on-Trent. When I was a young motoring writer for the local newspaper he invited me to spend one Saturday with him and a group of drivers who owned, or were thinking of buying, a Vauxhall Frontera 4×4.
He had arranged an off-road course over farmers’ land and woods, everyone enjoyed themselves and it soon became a regular event. Business resulted from it too with sales of cars, parts and accessories and workshop time all coming from Adrian’s efforts.
The point is, themed showroom events or activities can work because it gives owners and enthusiasts the chance to do something absolutely vital with their cars. Get to enjoy them.
In the modern context the opportunity for retailers to lift their profile and engage with a targeted audience is greater now than ever thanks to social media.
Off the top of my head I can think of a dealer which linked up with a national chain of baby care products to highlight how effective some of its models can be for young families. Over a weekend the chain bought in some staff who gave talks and demonstrations on child seats, tips on what to pack for a journey with a little ’un and so on. With a few give-away goody bags, a sandwich and a drink it went down a storm.
People posted their pictures on Facebook which were soon flying around and the images were all of this retailer and its cars surrounded by happy parents.
You couldn’t buy that kind of advertising.
I know of an SUV dealer which teamed up with a caravan retailer, got in some driving instructors to teach manoeuvring and between them in one day they saw and met more people who by definition are in that market than they probably would in a month of waiting for the showroom door to open or the phone to ring.
Getting bums on seats to try EVs and hybrids, showing suitable first cars for newly qualified drivers and maybe getting an insurer to come along, top models for towing, there are several avenues which can work with a bit of imagination.
HR Owen recently did so at its Lamborghini franchise in Manchester when it hosted a Supercar Saturday. True, not everyone can lay their hands on Lambos or Bugattis or attract customers for whom such a car is just one of several in their garage but everyone can have a bit of imagination and willingness to try something different.
What do you reckon?