Event Sales: What dealers think about them and what they actually do

Having spent much time investigating the effects ‘staffed’ event sales have on the market over the past few years, I decided to poll dealerships about their candid feelings about these sales.  The majority of dealers responded that they didn’t think that ‘staffed event sales’ were a good idea for the following reasons:”

  • “Don’t want to clean up behind a bunch of rogue gypsies (regardless of their assertions of integrity).
  • “They (event sales) are the actions of a desperate dealer that does not trust his sales team.
  • “…low CSI”
  • “They damage your reputation in your local market”
  • “Reputation is more important than possible short-term gain”
  • “I think you risk reducing your market share”

The few comments I got that were positive included:

  • “It gets people to the stare and builds value.  do we sell a ton of cars off each event? No”
  • “Our sales staff gives us buy-in from the top down”

It is heartening to hear that many dealers have figured out that ‘staffed sales events’ are more negative than positive in the long run.  My research covering market share over a period of two years for dealers in markets including Charlotte, Dallas, Atlanta and Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg indicates that dealers who do run these events have large swings in market share which indicates that they are, in effect, cannibalizing their market.  They don’t sell more cars in the long run.  Among the dealers who do not run these events are the dealers with the best market share retention (from month to month) as well as those dealers that have shown market share growth during the two-year time period measured.

I know there are several companies that specialize in these events and speak very excitedly about them.  Upon closer examination, their excitement is a product of the amount of money that the sales team of the event company can make for setting up one of these sales and executing them.  Upon even closer examination, I have talked to several people involved in these companies (some still with companies and many no longer involved) who tell me ‘off the record’ that they know these sales produce more negatives for a dealership in the long run than positives.

I share this information with you all not to create a war with marketing companies, but to share some  gathered information.  You may be a dealer that feels that you have benefited from these ‘staffed sales events’, and perhaps, you have.  I do ask you to take a look at your month to month market share over a period of time before you become a complete kool-aid drinker.


About dealerite/in association with AP Level 4

National affiliations of professionals who are engaged in changing the culture of the automobile retail business. Associated with AP Level 4 and Edifice Group. These companies are bringing sustainable marketing which has proven quantifiable improvements in a dealer's market share performance
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6 Responses to Event Sales: What dealers think about them and what they actually do

  1. The # 1 Thing i have found after having done many of these..of all different kinds..is that even if the spike in sales is large or not, the following week is off..filled with salesperson absenteeism, management burnout, heat, and finance turndowns…the only 1 event that i think the benefits outweighed the negatives was off site “Walmart Sales” we had over a 4 day period thursday thru sunday..The same negatives applied…and i do think owners need to be cognizant of them..but that sale did really make a difference to our bottom line, to the point though that we overused it..going from 1 every 1 yr, to once every 6 months, to once evry quarter, to once every month, to twice every month and i got burned out, that is for sure…


    • dealerite says:

      Very interesting Mike. Perhaps the Walmart location opened up some additional opportunities that would not normally have been available because the sale was ‘off-site’. That is a factor in these matters. Thanks for your input, this subject has been one that many people have opinions on, mostly negative, but your Walmart story does bring up the point that if the sale is ‘off-site’ some of the negatives are mitigated.


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