Today’s consumers are becoming more and more knowledgeable and their repertoire for purchasing includes more than just a good price point or deal.
Consumers are now more aware of who and where their money is going. They want to support companies that have and promote good morals and values.
In particular, they want brands and companies that give back to their communities in a meaningful and significant way. By creating community engagement programs and events, dealerships can bank in on client relationships and dealership loyalty built from such community involvement.
Car dealerships are not usually considered the first place to go in terms of community building or charity. However, when we think about how we engage with our customers there is no reason why a dealership cannot be a center for community engagement.
Community engagement is a great way to reach new and potential clients as well as establish lasting relationships that will ensure clients will return to your dealership again and again.
Here are some key reasons why dealerships benefit from community engagement:
- Make a difference in the community
Community trust is what will help your dealership become the go-to spot for car buying. Building that community trust comes from creating engagement that benefits the community such as having your employees take part in a volunteer park clean up day or making a donation to a local school or organization. This helps to directly affect your clients’ lives in a positive way and also helps to build recognition with local potential clients.
- Create a stand out brand and gain publicity
Reputation is a key factor for many consumers. Many buyers are willing to spend a little more at a dealership or business that has a positive and stellar reputation in the community.
Community engagement can help build dealership loyalty from current clients and new buyers who are in the market for a car.
A charity event or community event can help also bring some publicity to your dealership in a way that is memorable for customers.
By appealing to consumer’s emotions, you cultivate trust on another level with your customers that can help your dealership make the sale.
- Connect and network with others
Often, we might get stuck in talking to the same clients and colleagues over and over.
While it is great to always be in touch with repeat customers and maintain relationships with colleagues, expanding your network can help increase your sales and creates a diverse working environment for your dealership to thrive.
Community engagement helps to create opportunities to meet new people who might be new customers or even peers who you can employ or learn sales techniques from.
- Develop dealership loyalty and start a loyalty program
As mentioned, community engagement is a great way to help develop dealership loyalty. When you support your community, your community is more likely to support you.
Engagement events also make for a great opportunity to introduce a loyalty program for your customers.
Loyalty programs are a great way to maintain buyer retention and create incentive for new customers to choose you when making their automobile purchases in the future.
- Employee retention
Participating in community engagement can clearly help build relationships with clients that develop into loyalty to dealerships.
However, it can also help create a positive working culture among your salesmen and employees.
When your employees are part of a positive engagement project, they feel important and morale rises. This often translates into more productive employees and more sales.
- Viable tax deductions
Charitable acts and community assistance is great for your local community, but it is also great for your dealership when it comes to saving money.
Often, businesses can deduct charitable donations or contributions they make to qualifying organizations on their tax returns.
You should consult with your accountant and tax advisor first to make sure your contributions qualify.
Community engagement does not necessarily mean having to create some sort of elaborate charity event right away. You can start off by hosting little monthly or sporadic charity events or programs. Here are some ideas to get your dealership started:
- Donate a car to an organization– Find a local organization that could use help with finding reliable transportation. As a dealership, you likely have access to a variety of used vehicles that are in good working condition that you can spare.
- Create a fundraiser for a local school– Your dealership can do something small like raise funds to donate to a local school. You can ask if customers who make a purchase want to make a donation with their vehicle purchase and offer some incentives like free merchandise.
- Organize a toy or food drive during the holidays– The holidays are often a lucrative time for dealerships. Organizing a toy or food drive is a great cost-effective way to gain some publicity for your dealerships and draw in returning and new customers.
- Local park or beach cleanup – Organizing a local park or beach cleanup with your employees can be a great team building opportunity as well as a bring in positive exposure to your dealership.
Ultimately, community engagement can bring in great opportunities to connect with the community and establish lasting relationships with consumers. However, that is just one part of building a successful dealership.
You want to use community engagement activities and events as a way to draw in customers, but your dealership still needs to do its part to keep their attention.
You can implement some innovative ways to attract customers like community engagement but also by improving your dealership’s online buying experience.
You should include your community engagement events as well as update your dealership’s website to include a completely immersive and interactive buying experience that can help draw in sales.
Evox Images can help create that interactive and immersive online experience by providing your dealership with high-quality photos of your vehicles and even include some virtual reality features so that customers can explore and shop confidently before they even come to your dealership.