How To Sell More Cars With Radio Advertising

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5 ways to sell more cars with automotive radio advertising that gets noticed, gets remembered, and gets them on the lot... pronto! #HowToSellMoreCars

How To Sell More Cars with Radio Advertising

Recorded live in the How To Sell More Cars Town Hall, Wednesday, March 8, 2023

for more free car sales training subscribe to the podcast


Terry Lancaster 0:16
I created an event on Facebook. And I created an event on LinkedIn identical event with the same description inviting people to join. I invite on each on each platform I invited like 1000 people to join Allegiant let me invite 1000 People in Facebook let me invite five macro folk out. I hit 500 invites for Facebook and 1000 invites for LinkedIn. I got about a dozen people on Facebook to say they were interested in and do some but I got about 130 on LinkedIn say they were going to come in and they were going to do so it was on on LinkedIn. They're the general managers of car dealerships. They're their radio advertising executives, like Liz, and then it's gonna be much more targeted with it. So I've gotten using LinkedIn a lot more now than ever then I'm using Facebook just for that. And so many people Facebook, I mean, it's always been political. I'm worried about starting to get ramped up with new boat sinks. Starting boats are worried gets wrapped up yet and when it starts wrapping that up, I just started hiding everybody and pretty soon I got nobody left to talk to you on Facebook so I just go do something else. Well, you don't worry about

Mark Easter 1:25
me. I will share Gary Vaynerchuk listen to him. Yeah, that that book, you know, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. And he said I need to write a new one Jab, Jab, Right Hook because that book is old. He was big on Twitter, that book. Good Lord, look what happened there. But I'm in agreement with you about LinkedIn. And Gary Vaynerchuk will preach to you about that. He'll tell you that LinkedIn is the new Facebook. Yeah, he's more LinkedIn tick tock, and I'm sorry about that nagging cough is where you need to be at and put your content in. There. Yeah, I agree.

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The death of automotive radio advertising has been greatly exaggerated

Terry Lancaster 2:07
Yes, I'm that's what I'm doing. I usually get a lot more. I haven't really added to the tick tock, I'm going to be on tick tock. I don't even have a tendency. So I don't I don't get the tick tock tick. And the thing I don't like about tick tock is something I didn't like about Instagram. And that is that it's not it's not as much about the two way communication. It's more like Twitter. It's like broadcasting I'm gonna I'm gonna create this thing and I'm gonna put it out there just like radio broadcast, and then we're gonna be talking about where's what I wanted to use social media for. What I've always wanted to use it for is to create that engagement. We're going back and forth and, and having a conversation. So 704 that we got four of us in here. I'm gonna go ahead and get started. So I'm gonna share my screen because I had something I wanted to show you you folks. Welcome Welcome everybody to the How to sell more cars podcast townhall webinar. I don't know what you want to go we got a lot of stuff going on. We're gonna be talking about radio advertising today how to sell more cars and radio advertising. I'm your host, Terry Lancaster and I'm kind of a big deal. But I'm actually not a man. I'm actually the least kind of big gamble. I'm the little steel that you can imagine. But I did. Once upon a time. I stood on the NADA stage. The National Automobile Dealers Association of America stood on their main stage at the main convention in San Francisco. This was seven years ago and as you can see the picture for those of you watching this video, you can see the picture I'm throwing $100,000 up in the air. Now it's 100,000 terabytes. So with real money I went to the store with I went to Kinko's and had these printed up and you had to get them printed a little larger, so the otherwise they'll think you're trying to counterfeit money. So I went and went and had them printed up so I can throw them up in the air on say $100,000 Because at the time in 20s it was 2017 2017 Five, six years ago. Six, seven years ago now. We have that's how much the average car dealer spent on non traditional advertising on radio, TV, newspaper and direct mail 100 $100,000 and the speech I was giving that your idea was the death of traditional media has been exaggerated and I was there talking about radio and television and newspaper and direct mail and how there was still a place for those in the advertising landscape. So here we are in 2023, many years ago, seven years later, and and the question is, is it? Is that still true is the death of traditional media have been greatly exaggerated? Or is it exactly what has happened over the last few years? I want to talk about that. That's that's the reason I had that. I had folks that I want to talk about that have been having this conversation for the last for the last week, because I'm writing an article men off for the for the good to do that animal dealer dealers again i a DEA I'm writing an article them about using stores using radio advertising in this environment. And and so I've been talking for the last couple of weeks to my dealer friends around the US and Canada about what's going on at your store. How's business what's going on selling the cars as you get new cars getting inventory, came sell cars and asking how they're using radio and if they're using radios. I've gotten some really, really good responses from what I've talked to around the country just in the last week. I want to share that we don't want to share some information with you. I've been I've been doing this since since the dawn of mankind right here with the old guy so he understands I ain't This ain't my first rodeo. And so I've been I've been tracking automotive advertising since about 1995 pull ups in data. This is na da data and if you've watched our video advertising expenditures by medium in 2000 to 2012 was this was the oldest graph I can find. I've got a collection of those, but they're actually the older ones are on an old computer but in 2002, dealers were spending, like 47% of their advertising budget in the newspaper and about 15% in radio jumped over to 2012 right now. The newspaper budgets already been cut by a third and that's when Google Google just roared through the industry. 2002 To 2012 took over all that money. All the all the other digital you can see where you just see the growth of digital there's a bit more of the head look that says that big pink jump there how much they've driven that time, but radio still has stayed steady. Stay pretty steady through there about 15% and and then we just got looked at the one from last year. That might the most recent information that we have is from 2021. They haven't released the new full set of data from 22 yet, but here's the advertising expenses for 2021. My car dealers, the internet now up to 63%. So still there's more improved, and radio is now sorry, it held steady for the first 10 years of the digital onslaught. But the last seven or eight years it's dropped by about a third. In fact, if you look into it down on here, the average the average car dealer these days is spending $48,000 per year average dealer $48,000 per year on radio advertising. Well that's 2002 they were spending about average dealer again, about $65,000 on on radio advertising, and meanwhile they're still spending six $700 per unit so the advertising but advertising budgets stays the same extended, but the percent going to radio is is decreasing. So I want to talk about why that is and and how dealers are doing what they're doing to to make the best use of radio today. So we went down and we got a handful of folks in here. If anybody wants to chip in at anytime. You aren't going to pop in, don't be bashful. Bashful salespeople have skinny children. So we're just going to do we're just chatting here, but it keeps me on 709 Keep going for about another 20 minutes and like everybody be gone at 730 because I'm at dinner, and I don't like to miss a meal. So we're gonna get down there, but put together five five things that I think that are important to know about radio in 2023 and ways the dealers can use this and salespeople tip as Mark Mark easterner. Were just talking about about social media. And then the last one there use every tool in the shed. We'll start there use every tool in the shadows with radio advertising. That was the that was one thing I talked about when I was in a DA those years ago and again again that talk about traditional advertising that dealers can't rely on one thing you can't rely on Google to send your your business you can't rely on Facebook to send you on all their business. But as at any moment, the rug can get yanked completely out from you if you were doing all of your advertising in newspaper in 2002 Then that's gone. That is an ineffective b2b anymore it is it's not working for you anymore. So I've always been a believer in an omni channel approach. You have to you have to spread the wealth around you have to be everywhere that you can and you have to use every tool in the shed to get get the job done. So that it doesn't get rank and get definitely ended up. Even spreading it out. You have to use you have to use every station. Yeah, you have to be everywhere once and that's the complicated thing about automotive marketing is is that you do have to eventually make those choices and we'll get back at we got a Kia dealer. I'm going to turn this off. So I have to share so we can see Joe's pretty face got a Kia dealer in South Carolina, that I was talking to him and he's a bad make the decisions. He said big. Ask him how he's doing he said well, we paired our radio back for maybe eight stations deep down and running about five stations and we've cut all those budgets. But but it's that's happened. We've also picked into some new advertising media that we're using using that audio OTT and streaming Pandora and online stuff that he mentioned. But there's also podcasting. And we're recording a podcast here and I don't sell advertising on this podcast. I know a bunch of people who do sell advertising on their podcast and it's it's it's it can be an effective medium, if you some of the tricks that we're going to talk about in just a little bit. So um, my buddy in South Carolina, he says they've been using, they've been using radio with Kenny back, and since COVID, they haven't advertised price. They've been doing mostly a branding to stay relevant, which is one of the other points that I was talking about and they're using every tool in the shed. One of the things that I've always advertised they're always talked about on radio advertising is asking for the order. So you ask for the order. That's that's the that's the call to action. And you basically got two kinds of advertising there's, there's always been the branding advertising where you're trying to paint an image in people's mind you're trying to you're trying to plant a seed for some future growth, you're trying to just give them the warm and fuzzies and the warm and fuzzies you got to have the warm and fuzzies but we got that we got people coming in now.

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Do radio ads for car dealerships still need a call to action?

At some point you need to ask for the order but several people out to talk to you this week about radio advertising specifically when on their way to mention that they're not they're not doing price I'm advertising in their radio ad they're not they're not putting specific vehicle at a specific price. They're not doing a price for everything they're doing is about branding. And I'm not sure I'm not sure that's that's the way to go. I think you got to have both. You got to use every tool in the shed. So Liz, if you if you if you want to pop in, feel free or says Send me a message up there. If that's what you're saying. From your dealers less emphasis on price for advertising. But if there can be less emphasis on price, whatever it is that's that that is the it is true with with with digital coming in and with everyone going to their phones. Despite serving the role of the newspaper from the old days. If you know days ago with the newspaper, they were looking for prices now they go to the internet and I'm looking for prices. So the price point can't be searched online, which defeats the whole purpose putting the price in there, except for the one thing that a good low price can do which is which is to alert people to the fact that hey, maybe I can't afford that. And because dealers have this image that they're trying to hide something I like dealers to put a little bit of pricing in the ads just so that you know just so you say there's the price we're about we're not as here's price paint pay what you do, but you can have a call to action without including a prize. You can have a call and a call to action. Jaffe will come on in for for service point. You have a call to action for people to come by to dispute a will win a prize you have a call to action for people to visit your website. You can have a call to action for a million different things that don't include buying a car what are the big things right now it's March 8. We just kind of wrapping up the tax season that's been huge ray in the in radio business because so much of that is geared towards a little bit of subprime stuff and everybody's got the tax check in their hand. Hitting them on the radio was a good time, but they're not necessarily worried about about the price they're worried about about getting finance, they're worried about getting approved, so So the call to action for a Lago says hey, we can get you approved. Come on by and give us a try and make you make them some some kind of emphasis about applying for a loan will get you financed and making that the call to action. So that can be a call to action that doesn't just say buy this f150 for $39,999 or say $10,000 on this Dodge Ram or whatever that that is the call to action is the thing that you want the person to do. And with the dealerships the beauty part is you got a million things that you would want them to do.

Liz Atlas 14:35
Yeah, sorry. I also think that it's very important for for to broadcast the fact that you do have inventory because a lot of there's, you know, with the COVID and all that a lot of the clients and the consumers out there they say they know that the inventory issue is a problem and that and that the APR is are really high. So you have to make it more so of a journey experience on my ads, it's been working great. You know where they were the client has a journey or you're having some type of event at the dealership and and you have that client go there and see the inventory so so like that they say okay, you have inventory, because of the whole problem that we are we have inventory. So that is a big plus.

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Is radio the original social media?

Terry Lancaster 15:29
Yeah, and that's another goal. Actually, that's been a huge call to action for most of my clients for the last year is they've actually trade strike transferred 180 degrees from from selling cars on the radio to buy cars on the radio. We're going to Kenya will buy your car off the street and they're generating huge profits in the end the pre sale department because they can get those buyers and they don't have to buy and get those cars before the auction take steps so Liz mentioned the events that was one of the billboards I had you have to go big or go home and that's that's been the key to radio advertising since the dawn of time right Mark marks and marginal disc jockey I know and radio is is a frequency medium. It has been you need to know it and and yes if you want to have or you can rent one spot a week on the on the local morning show. That's right that's that's the whole book is talking about straight. I'll come back to that in a second. But the intention of the key for radio is frequency is getting in there. It's hammering bullet points, hammering the message that you have because radio it reaches 100% of the population. You're not just reaching the low hanging fruit that may be reaching digital media, but it reaches everyone but it may not reach them at exactly the right time. So you need to plant that seed this is and this is where the branding goes hand in hand with asking for the order. You got to you got to create the branding, through through repetition through using a regular distinctive voice through a regular tagline that you're going to use. Anything that you're going to do that can help kind of this little ear worm a jingle was a beautiful thing for that. That creates this idea of your you and your dealership in people's heads so that when that time comes for them to buy a car, they think about you and your dealership. So using frequency I was talking to a dealer in Arkansas this week. And what they're doing, they're doing it this month and actually this is one thing I've noticed is that everything event in Oregon to your sales where he has kind of gotten ramped up in the last few months as as the business has kind of returned to normal said a little bit maybe and they're having this giant sales event. They're having a giant sale they went through and they bought they bought basically everything they bought on the chat, the radio stations that they were on, they bought every time slot they get buy in, they bought every remote that they had, and they are going to dominate the airwaves. They're going to dominate the airwaves that entire week and they're doing it through their spy advertising. And they're doing it through the remotes where they're having people come in, and that's the guy in South Carolina to say the same thing. We have to remote him. And that's that's that is the thing that radio has always done best is in addition to always being in being their radio is a constant companion and I've always talked about it as is the original social media now man I'm gonna do this. I'm on this yacht here and I know when you're sitting there at 11 o'clock at night on Thursday night, all the people are calling you just because they got somebody to talk to the disc the disc jockey like a bartender would record their their their spin in music but they're they're talking to people's ears, being their friend being a companion and make more friends so more hard. That's That's all I've ever preached about. And you can make a lot of friends on radio because radio isn't a free business. When I was in radio, I tell one of my buddies that you need to you need to keep everything on the air so local that there's a truck driver driving down the interstate, he's not going to know what you're talking about. But being from around here, you need to talk to the local people and you need to be hand in hand and and I over and over and over again this week. I heard back from dealers that they're using radio that they get the local disc jockey to endorse their product, that they're using the local promotional teams to come in and promote their events and they happen before the remotes that they're using. They're they're piggybacking on the social media that the radio stations are providing to reach out into the to reach out into the markets and be there and that's that's, that's what radio stations have been doing. They've been do. They've been doing the social thing for a long time. They've been hooking up and they've been handing out bumper stickers and not putting bumper stickers on the back of the car you can imagine but you make you make more friends. You got some more cars. And that's you get the you get that if you gotta if you're in a town and you got to do something, he's been there forever. And he's got he's got he does the local morning show and everybody loves him. And you got him talking about your dealership. It started it started every show and then you know once a month we had him come down to the dealership and sign autographs and handing out hot dogs and it spin the prize wheels and do all shoot shoot the t shirt cannons or whatever whatever you want to do. That's it's good home cooking, and people like that and you can you can still that's that's where radio is gonna stand out where a lot of other media don't have they don't have that personality elements its influence or arguing is 100% All it is you know instead of be instead of getting the Tick Tock superstar to talk about that whatever you're selling, you get your local your local disc jockey who is probably a micro local celebrities. Yeah, they're They're celebrities in your time. They are the Tick Tock influencers in your market. So and that's it we're not talking about certainly not talking about you don't have to necessarily have a zillion friends and everyone jumps on and they want to start creating videos and get all these lights and a pre create this thing but that's not how you sell more products in social media. We sell more cars by building the relationships and becoming those friends. You don't need a million followers to be Kim Kardashian or Kanye West or any of those people. If you're if you're bubbled in love book from rock 107 in Topeka, then you got plenty you can even send your friends out to visit your friends. Um, I got I got a couple more things that I want to talk about before I go but let's see what it doesn't have to be about radio you guys want to hop in and say anything about anything at all. Let's let's open it up for a minute before we start sharing wrap it up

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William J McCormick 21:35
well, you She covered a whole mouthful.

Terry Lancaster 21:37
I got it. I got a big mouth and I like to run it brother so

William J McCormick 21:41
yeah, well over over next barbecue but no, I think he knew pretty well nailed a lot of it. I mean a lot of it is just taking that that personality and just engaging with it because there's a lot of places that are just stale. It's just like hey, since I bought a car of me or whatever it's it's it's just the customer in our car. There's it really just blows my mind how many places just leave there you have the staff just aren't even in the picture. There's there's nothing there's it's just all about the customer in the car. Yeah.

Terry Lancaster 22:20
That's one of the one of the things I've always said that the most effective thing you can do for your advertising, whether whether it's on the internet, or whether it's radio advertising or TV advertising or smoke signals or whatever else you're using, one of the most way and the most effective, efficient ways to increase the productivity of advertising is to let your staff know what's going on. If you're if you're advertising this giant once in a lifetime mega sale and the customer hears all these ads about it, and they read, they read about it, they see them online, and then they talk to their buddies and works at the dealership and he don't have the faintest clue what they're talking about. Then everything you study and everything you spend up telling that customer that story is gone because you didn't tell your people the exact same story. And that's one of the things that are great about radio is it reaches everyone. If there's one thing, one of the last, the last bullet point that I had to get to was you have to stand out to get noticed and that's that's one of the things that that well that's how I've made a living for the last 30 years preaching radio ads stand out and get noticed. And you use that by having a different voice and a consistent voice. It's not like everybody else in the market, but but also you stand out. I kind of completely lost my train of thought there and you when you say it out like that your your salespeople are going to notice that people walk into the dealership and quote your radio ad to your salespeople. And if your salespeople know your tagline the same way everybody in town knows your tagline and the same way you know the gathered grocery store to your head tag with your all wats up and each other or get a great deal that no big deal for whatever your tagline is. And people know it because they've heard it on the radio a million times and your salespeople know it because they've heard it on the radio a million times it becomes this bombing thing that that people talk about but you have to keep everybody in the picture and let them know what's going on whether it's on or what else there. Yeah, bye.

William J McCormick 24:20
When I was gonna say not only not only GP staff abreast of what you're advertising, but also it's very, it can be very helpful especially we have staff a great personality to include them in the advertising.

Terry Lancaster 24:35
Oh, no doubt, no doubt. Now. I mean owners, especially in debt. I've always had dealers who want to get involved in the advertising, and I love that. But especially in today's social media, if you've got anybody with any personality at all, if you can get your local superstar hooked in with a local radio superstar. We you got the guy you got the guy like Mark Easter who's coming up and telling jokes and and no knows everybody and and got a hole in it. You can get him on the radio with with Joe Bob and and whoever else is on there you get them and when they come down to the remote, they're going back and forth. I was talking to a friend of mine in Arkansas who was talking about this big sale that they got coming up. And they said that when they bought all the advertising, but one of the things they specifically mentioned was especially if you have if you have a Spanish language if you had to do a lot of business with Spanish speaking customers, don't forget the Spanish language radio. But make sure you tie that in with your salespeople who speak Spanish, have the remote with the Spanish language session and make sure your Spanish people are there at the remote interacting and engaging and getting some of that good home. Cooking. So if you've got any and then they can interview them on the radio. They can they can they can do their own podcasts but you know whatever little community that it is, and I've got I've got a buddy just down the road. He's done exactly that he's created this massive buying community never sold cars far before he's making a quarter of a million a year selling solid commerce in small town Tennessee, because he's he he completely dominates the Spanish speaking market. But whatever the market is, whether it's, you know, you know, people who do like trucks, Jeep people, anything that you can start building VaynerMedia but anybody with personality and just just like me, most of your salespeople are like yourself, people are probably gonna like run them out. If you can find somebody who can run them out and put a put in front of a camera, put a microphone in front of their face, let them do what they do, and probably get a little bit. Sometimes bad things happen. More often than not good things come from

William J McCormick 26:45
present and the other caveat is that occasionally once in a blue moon you're gonna find a customer that's going to go and be that lab personnel that they had just such a good good time that that makes her get interviewed once in a while. Yeah. And then like then you're hearing it from the horse's mouth.

Terry Lancaster 27:04
Oh, yeah, well, that's that's the great thing about radio it is it is one of the biggest I guess the point so when celebrate your advertising, the biggest thing I hated to hear was a welcome dealership and a day ago they would say, well, your best advertising is word of mouth. Well, maybe I don't know what you think radio is radio is word of mouth. And if you can get it if you can get it from Mark Easter's mouth or you can get it from the DJs mouth or you can get it from a customer's mouth if you've got the customer who can carry that out and I think that's the good thing is is you need a great producer to do this. I've always I've always had dealers who want to be the face of the personality and that's that is a huge, unique selling proposition. If you have a dealer or even a salespeople or someone at the dealership who can be the face of the store now more often than not, you don't have someone who can carry that load of charisma. But but you can make anybody carry about three seconds. Where did you get the tagline? And you can easily if you got a great tagline. You can stick it in your most bashful customers face get them to say that tagline get them to sing the jingle. Get they get them involved. They don't they don't have to write word piece they don't have to get they don't have to do your whole 32nd ad. But whether it's a salesperson, or customer or an owner or manager, if they if you can just get them on there where it just seems more local more good home cooking for radio shows 730 on that got another

Liz Atlas 28:33
another note talking about the Spanish I know that like at least on my end and Florida in Miami, Florida. So the Spanish station here is syndicated across different stations in different states in the country. And once you get that loyal customer and the Hispanic market, they're loyal to the dealership that will bring their entire family and buy a vehicle from you.

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Radio advertising that stand out, gets noticed and sells more cars

Terry Lancaster 29:00
Yeah and in any any community that you begin if you start if you start getting into the community, and especially in a tight knit community, where they got friends and friends want to buy from friends and they tell to friends and their friends and so on and so on. And so that's why I call radio the original social media. It's about it's about creating that bond and spreading that word. I'm gonna run through the five bullet points. I have radios that good home cooking and make sure you're using the tools make sure you're using the local personality that local element. I've talked to a used car dealer in Nebraska said I haven't been on radio in years. I don't ever put anything price on the only thing I do is I sponsor the halftime show of every local sporting event they will get they will take my money for and again because it's local and you have to talk about you're gonna have to come down to the dealership and have to do their podcast about the local football team in Tennessee and high school football and that slug that most everywhere that I know about radio escape good home cook and go bigger go home. He's gonna be there dominate. No, don't don't don't pee in the water can't warm up the ocean that way. The only way to do it is jump in. Go all in. I'm simply gonna ask for the order. It doesn't you don't have you have to have a call to action but the action doesn't have to be a price. It doesn't have to be about bar it can be about service. It could be about selling a car It can be about getting financed can be a lot of things. You don't have to clutter up your head with all the prices in the world that the manufacturers sit down there because of the same prices that everyone else is advertising. Just get a price and then people know maybe they cannot afford the core you have to stand out to get noticed do something a little bit different. Different gets noticed eight days a week. Different is how you get those who do something different than everybody else in town do it louder. Do it Crowder and use every tool in the shed especially when it comes to radio because radios got so many tools that you want to tie yourself into the social that they're doing the activities that the promotions and charities that they're doing around the community. Make sure you get in there and and even though the radio spots that I know we do a radio spot and it goes on the radio then I produce a video graphic that goes with it that they can share later on and share on social media and put it up on YouTube and continue to use all these tools because the world is too big and too fragmented to really target everything if you if you target yourself debt, which is what we're a lot of digital advertising, if you're going all in on 2% of the market is in the market. If you target yourself to that that 98% are eventually going to forget about it. And it's going to pull down to who can do it Quicker, quicker, easier, faster, cheaper, and use every tool in the shed. You can reach everybody all the time. And that's what I got 733 I appreciate it. We'll talk about how to sell more cars with radio advertising on a nice Wednesday, Wednesday evening. Last word to anyone we go.

Terry Lancaster Automotive News

Who the %@#! is Terry Lancaster?

I help car dealers and salespeople sell more cars, make more money, get more reviews, more referrals, and more repeat business by building deeper, stronger, more authentic relationships. I’ve worked with thousands of dealer principals, managers, and salespeople providing proven strategies for making the cash register ring.

Over the years, I've helped thousands of dealers sell millions of cars by putting the right words in the right order to tell the right story. How can I help you tell yours?

My #1 best selling car sales book How To Sell More Cars received glowing reviews from around the world thanking me for the actionable, life-changing ideas they present.

I’ve been featured in Automotive News & Forbes, spoken at the NADA national convention and from the TedX stage, and came in second place at my Eighth Grade debate championship.

Winner Winner. Chicken Dinner!

In my personal life, I've survived Cancer... twice. I've had a gun held to my head and a knife held to my throat. I've been inside a building that was hit by a tornado, onboard one boat that sank and two planes that I was sure were about to crash. 

I lived through three teenage daughters and I've been married over 35 years... in a row!

When I'm not battling for truth, justice and the American Way, I spend most of my free time, like every other middle-aged, overweight, native southerner, at the ice rink playing hockey.

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