How to Plan an End-of-the-Year Sales Event That Boosts Long-Term Customer Loyalty

With the changing of yet another season, it’s time to start planning for your dealership’s end-of-the-year sales event. But this year, what if you could host an event that was far more than simply another hard push to meet sales quotas? What if you could host an event that, yes, allows you to meet end-of-year goals but also increases long-term customer loyalty to your dealership?

In this guide to planning an end-of-the-year sales event, we’ll dive into what it takes to accelerate your event, leading to not only an increase in sales, but also an increase in customers who will return to your dealership.

Sales Event checklist

Combine Quality Lists and Marketing Tactics

Most dealerships are well-equipped to handle the sales side of an end-of-the-year event. Determining what inventory needs to be pushed, what pricing to put into place, and what event day promotions to provide are all foundational to a powerful event.

But building out quality customer lists to market the event is equally important and often overlooked during the planning process. Without a quality customer list, you can spend large sums of money on marketing tactics that are doomed to fail.

Start by homing in on the right audience for your event. Create segmented lists of customers to market to, including:

  • Past clients you know are back in the buying cycle.
  • Potential new customers who match your desired demographic profile.
  • Your competition’s customers.

Building these lists and ensuring that your data is as clean and accurate as possible is critical to the success of your whole event. Bad data in, or poor customer lists, equals bad results — in this case, leading to an increase in marketing spend and a decrease in conversions.

So, where is the best place to get this customer information? While historically, many dealerships have purchased lead lists from third parties, the data isn’t always the highest quality. Often, these lists are riddled with customer information that is inaccurate or chock full of leads who are nowhere close to making a purchase. Also, if these customers have no interest in your dealership or your offer, your random mailer to their home or Google Display Ad will be tough to turn into a conversion.

A better tactic for creating customer lists is to harness the power of digital marketing data. Using Google Analytics, you can gather information about those who have visited your website, contacted your sales team, or performed another action indicating interest in a purchase. You can combine this with Google’s ability to create lookalike audiences and target specific customer types in a specific area.

Additionally, social media now enables you to target specific audience segments and even upload existing customer lists to find their social profile match.

Armed with quality customer lists, it’s time to focus on your marketing tactics. A list is only as good as what you do with it.

There are three key areas to focus on as you plan your marketing strategy for the event:

  • Hooks: Your hook needs to capture the attention of your audience. A hook should be concise, be compelling, and evoke emotion.
  • Offers: Once you have piqued a customer’s interest, you need to deliver an irresistible offer that stands out from your competition. If you and five other dealerships in the area have the same offer, there’s little incentive for a customer to choose your event.
  • Call to Action: Finally, whether via a direct mailer or a Google ad, there should always be a clear call to action. What’s the next step? It shouldn’t simply be to attend your event. Provide a landing page where they can sign up to secure a free guaranteed appointment at your event. Throw a QR code on the mailer asking for a quick RSVP. Make sure that the action is easy to understand and easy to take.

Reach Customers Across Multiple Channels

Leading up to an end-of-the-year sales event, you want to target your customers across multiple channels. This is particularly true for your digital strategy.

If you are running a Google Ad campaign, target the same customers with a Facebook and Instagram campaign. If you’re mailing flyers to customers, hit them up with an email as well. And, don’t underestimate the power of following up with leads via a phone call or text.

As you progress toward the day of the event, you should be further segmenting your customer lists based on the actions they have or have not taken.

For example, if Customer A has RSVP’d and scheduled a guaranteed appointment at your event, your follow-up marketing messaging will be vastly different than for Customer B who took no action.

Prepare More Than Your Sales Team

When you are planning an end-of-the-year sales event, you’ll place a lot of focus on your sales team. From coaching on how to work the floor the day of the event to providing the variety of offers and deals available to close a sale, you will want to ensure that every sales team member is ready to go.

Unfortunately, this is often where the team preparation stops. To run an event that will truly spark long-term loyalty, you need absolutely every single team member prepared to deliver the highest quality and most memorable customer service.

A great place to begin is with your service department. While the focus of an end-of-the-year sales event might be on clearing out inventory, it is also an outstanding opportunity to showcase your service center. Arm your service team with additional promotional offers, and encourage customers to schedule future services on the day of the event.

Host a Memorable Event

Hosting an end-of-the-year sales event is standard for the industry. But that doesn’t mean your event needs to be the same experience as last year or the same as your competition’s.

Focus on how your event will stand out. This won’t look the same for every dealership, as you know your customers and community best.

Not sure where to start? Use these ideas as a quick starting point, and brainstorm with your team to determine what will make your event a memorable experience:

  • Partner with a local charity. For example, you could host an adoption event for the local Humane Society and gather donations for the center.
  • Invite local food trucks.
  • Reach out to a local driving school, and host a safety class for young drivers.

The options are endless. The goal is to host more than simply a sales event. You want to establish your dealership in the community, building long-term loyalty with customers.

Gather Event Day Data

Hosting a sales event takes a lot of time and money, which makes it critical to glean the most possible from the event. Beyond just closing sales, you should use the event to gather data on your customers.

The best way to make this work is to designate or hire an event coordinator who can focus efforts on gathering client information.

What information should you try to acquire?

  • The basics: Customer name, mailing address, email address, and phone number
  • The event outcome: Did they purchase a car? If so, what make, model, and year? If not, did they browse a specific portion of your inventory? What prevented them from making a purchase?
  • Other vehicles: Do they own other vehicles? Gather information on any additional vehicles, including year, make, and model.
  • An opt-in: Would they like to opt-in to future promotions, your newsletter, and other communications?
  • Additional details: A sales event is a great chance to gather any additional information that will benefit your dealership.

Get started with your Sales Event!

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Follow Up with Every Customer

Hosting an end-of-the-year sales event is only the beginning. To turn these customers into loyal repeat buyers, you need to continue to keep your dealership top of mind.

This is where all that data you gathered during the event becomes a gold mine. Try a few of the following tactics to follow up with customers:

  • Run an ad campaign retargeting customers who did not make a purchase but expressed an interest in a portion of your inventory. Include a hook, unbeatable promotion, and a call to action.
  • Email customers who purchased a new car with a discount code for their vehicle’s first oil change. Include a quick and simple way for them to schedule the service online.
  • Reach back out to customers who RSVP’d but no-showed. Offer to schedule a new appointment with your sales team.
  • Have your sales team pick up the phone and start dialing. Call customers who made a purchase to follow up on how things are going with their new vehicle. Talk to customers who didn’t make a purchase to see if your sales team can remove any roadblocks. A phone call can be the personal touch needed to create long-term loyalty.

Regardless of which approach you take, reach back out to every single customer. And, keep reaching out with timely, relevant messaging.

For example, when the young couple who purchased a new minivan at the sales event is reaching the time frame that they are most likely due for a tire rotation, hit them up with a service center promotion.

Partner with J&L for Your Next Sales Event

Are you planning your end-of-the-year sales event? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to boost long-term customer loyalty as you head into the new year. At J&L Marketing, we can assist you in planning and hosting a profitable end-of-the-year sales event. We can show you the most effective combination of lists, offers, hooks, and calls to action that deliver proven results.

We can help you learn how to get more people to respond to your offer without spending a massive amount on marketing.

And, we offer insights from thousands of previous sales events to help you reach your goals.

Ready to get started? Contact our team. We’ll be happy to provide you with a consultation, homing in on what is hurting your ROI and assisting you in creating a strategy that will make your end-of-the-year sales event your best yet.

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