Used Car Dealer Marketing

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Used car dealer marketing that breaks through the noise, makes things happen, gets remembered and gets talked about. #HowToSellMoreCars

Used Car Dealer Marketing Ideas on the How To Sell More Cars Podcast

recorded live 4.5.23 in the How To Sell More Cars Town Hall

For more free car sales training, subscribe to the podcast or watch the videos.

Today's special guest is Troy Scheer from the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association.


Terry Lancaster 0:06
Hey everybody, welcome to the How to sell more cars townhall and podcast on the host, Terry Lancaster, the author of How to sell more cars and I'm in the automotive advertising business. I'm gonna give you my commercial pitch out 30 seconds right up front here I work with car dealers putting the right words in right order to tell the right story. And over the last 30 years, I've helped 1000s of partners and sell millions of more cars by doing just that today. We're gonna talk about the used car business of a choice here is here with us. Troy's down in Texas and he is the Marketing and Communications Director of the National independent Dealers Association and we're gonna jump right in and how's the used car business Troy?

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Used Car Marketing in 2023

Troy Scheer 0:52
you know what from what I'm here and things are picking up it's kind of being it was it was kind of funny. We're just down here in Texas about the soda guys down here. And that was one of the things they were just talking about. It's kind of right now it's a kind of the roller coaster thing of the way prices and things are going but you know, I think it's somebody else just said so it's interesting, just hearing some really great things before I off out here with you. It's just, you know, it's all about mindset. And if you got the right mindset, you used car business will be great. If you know, you know, it's just like anything else. You just have to get up and believe that you know what you're doing and the things you're doing. The plan you've developed get up execute that and you'll be successful. So it's in a good place, I think not to with you know, obviously inflation a little bit higher than Griego is the place where more people are buying right now. So I think you'll hear most people saying hey, it's this year can be a good year for us.

Terry Lancaster 1:50
You know, I was I was just looking, I was trying, I was trying to fill up my head before we get started here tonight. And I was looking at some automotive data. And of course one thing that wouldn't inflation and one thing has been everyone's been talking about is the price of vehicles and we get the affordability. problem in new cars and new cars. Ride the price and both the Dhanak dramatically, but I was looking at the graphs and you're talking about that roller coaster up and down. A few months ago, the ukar business use our business and look like the bottom was dropping out and the prices just fell off a cliff. And they seem to have stabilized a little bit now at least that's that's what it's looking like. Meanwhile, new car prices just continue to go up because they can make them as fast as they can sell them. So at some point there's going to be the the affordability is going to be or dramatically toward use cars. I think if these cars if the prices continue to either decline like they were doing 30 days ago or stabilize like they are now what you said.

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The World is a Target Rich Environment for Used Car Dealers

Troy Scheer 2:50
No, I think that's it. As you said you would use cars. I mean, the nice thing about it for a lot of you is you know you've already got all your depreciation out of that. vehicle. So what you're getting, you're not spending all that extra money. So I just see it as as the year goes through, if not, everything doesn't do doesn't go crazy. But I think there's an opportunity like I said the dealers weren't talking to across the country. Again, say I mean they're positive about a year and think that as long as they do the right thing. And I think that's the big thing is just developing the relationship with your customers. When they do that. There's an opportunity to sell people still have to have a car. Yeah. Especially here in Texas. You're not gonna get around walking very far, you know. New York might be a little different. But, you know, for the majority of the country, you'd have to have a car to get to work and do the things you need to do. So you have to have reliable transportation.

Terry Lancaster 3:45
Those people are always going to go to new cars. This is the tale the new salespeople to take them out on the street and on the road and every car that's driving by is wearing out just a little every single day. And I've honestly never met a human being who wasn't a car buyer. So they're out there. What are the right things that the dealers you're talking to? What are the things that dealers are doing to get ready to to have the right mindset and have a big year?

Troy Scheer 4:12
Well, I think the big thing, obviously from mindset is just just knowing that you while the inventory shortages, you know are still some of the things to think about that you know the inventory will be out there you know that's that's something to know it's common, it'll it'll come back. But I think the big thing is is just like I said is in that mindset of what can you do to make sure you're taking care of your customer? Making sure you're developing those relationships and knowing that you have to do a lot of different things being educated yourself and making sure you know what's, what's going on, just from a from a the aspect of all the regulations and things that are going on and just being wise and aware. I think that's the thing, you've just got to know all of the things that are happening and making sure that you're working on on your business as a dealer and not you know, so involved in the day to day details. And then building that culture that mindset across your your dealership, making sure everybody you know, because Positivity breeds positivity. And I think that's the thing that we're seeing as we're actually with our members is that there is a positive buzz around things and if we keep that it's a culture kind of thing that you've got to have. So that's that's the process that I think a lot of people just need to go through and slowed down a little bit. Don't get too overwhelmed about what might happen. And focus on what you can do to control your the situation that you have.

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Creating a Dealership Culture that Sells More Used Cars

Terry Lancaster 5:34
Well, I think that there's just a fish rots from the head and it grows from the head as well. They meet every everything starts at the top and it's no matter what you're telling your salespeople no matter what you're doing, if you're holed up in your office and you're not out shaking hands and kissing babies and making friends and putting videos on and and connecting with the community. You know the new salesperson sure isn't going to do that the experience Jade itself person isn't going to do that. It all starts with what's happening behind behind the big desk. What are what are you guys doing it in AI Ada, what do you guys do and help the big guys get out and spread the word about what they got going on?

Troy Scheer 6:14
I think that it's just yeah, we would have obviously kind of a convention coming up. So those are the things that we do and really helping from from an education standpoint. I think that's one of the big things that no matter where you are as a business owner, if you're a dealership who's been in business, maybe a year or two or three or been in business for 2025 30 years, it's still about understanding what are all the things that are going on. And how do you take not just one? Yeah. I think a lot of times what happens honestly, as human beings, we're looking for that silver bullet that we can do oh if we just do that. But I think the key is what we've seen is you got to take little bits and pieces and keep stacking those things on each other and day at a time and understanding you know, the things that you need to do from an operational standpoint from a marketing standpoint, from a you know, understanding data and all of those things. And that's what we're really trying to share that the more knowledge you have, the more prepared you are for what you have to do within your business. And that includes and we've seen a lot of this talking about just networking and doing those things and creating that personal relationship. Because as much as yes, we're there. We're gonna say we're selling metal moving metal. It truly is about people, whether your internal working with your internal team and making sure that you've got your processes in place. And all those things that everybody's bought in, or whether it's the you know, the relationship you've developed with your customers. They're all the channels that we have, you know, we have got radio, you've got television, you've got just the person to person, you've got the digital media and all these things. Those are all great channels. But if you don't have your processes and your plans and your people in place, all that other stuff is you're just sharing a most likely a negative message or incorrect message that's not going to help you. So our focus is really is develop your people and your plans and your processes and then you can

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From the pages of Used Car Dealer Magazine

Terry Lancaster 8:05
you can be successful well here's here's here's a big word for the day symbiosis and I hope that means what a Thank You mean but everything kind of kind of working together for for for 60 year olds like me synchronicity you got the police album from from back in the day that everything job and we're two plus two equals equals five. We you and I were just talking before we jumped in about the used car dealer magazine, which is coming out in the next week or so I wrote an article in there. So I started in, you know, almost a month ago, but it was about those how used car dealers are using radio advertising and what you were just saying kind of reminded me of that because I talk to a lot of used car dealers about radio advertising. And the more I talked to them, the more the ways they were using radio advertising was less about the platform and more about the ability to connect. They said Yeah, and I had guys say, Hey, listen, we'll do any radio advertising. But what we do is we had the the local morning DJ, talk about the stuff that's going on in the dealership or we sponsor every local high school football game, and or we use the radio to join in with their social media stuff. But it was all about connecting all the dots instead of pushing one button. You're you're pushing a million little buttons and seeing seeing what forms

Troy Scheer 9:21
and that's the key you've got to see what works and being able to understand that it's when you're creating a community there's there's no one size fits all anything. Everybody's gonna have a little bit different approach. Again, so you can look at so much from a channel perspective. You've got the message and understand what it is you're trying to story and trying to sell and share in terms of who you are as a dealership. It's about building your brand. Whether you're you know, a smaller you know, you have one one roof top and you've got 1520 30 Cars are you got, you know, seven or eight different locations. It's still about understanding your community. And I think that's the key is especially for the used car dealer, is that you have a community around you that you live in and are a part of, and when you build that rapport and the relationships and all that and can build trust and create a brand. And it's not just your name, it's what people know you to be and what they feel about when they when they hear that name is when you can build that up. All the other things then become the tools that you use to share that message. So it's got to start it's kind of start in house first. You've got to have the right mindset and the right culture in your dealership and then be able to share that story out in the channels that

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Used Car Marketing Isn't About Used Car Dealers

Terry Lancaster 10:37

make more sense. Yeah, I was I was actually talking to a guy yesterday about about creating podcast record dealerships and he says every time every time somebody a dealer you know he's having a conversation with Drew about creating the podcast they want to have a conversation about educating people about the car good leadership or educating people about what's going on at the store and stuff at the dealership and he's tries to he tries to get them to turn that completely on its head. He said, Hey, let's let's let's turn the microscope around the other way and let you look at the community and talk about what's going on in the community and what's going on with your customers and what's going on with your salespeople and what's going you know, just turn everything around 180 degrees and make it not about you but make it find find your people lift them up, put a spotlight on them and and see how much that gets you.

Troy Scheer 11:29
Well, I'll tell you what, there's could not be a better example of that than what we're doing within the NADA and that's been our real focus over the last year is to get our it's about our dealers and it's funny we actually just kind of revamped at the end of the year and started this year at the end of q1 but our new tagline was dealer is Nia and I hate the ACF. I'm bad at ABA dealer grip. And so again it's just like you said we as as an association have to look at our members and the dealers understand what is important to them. You know, equally as a dealer, you've got to look at your community and understand what's important to them. Because if if all you're looking at is those cars that you have on your lot, you're a commodity and now you're completely competing on price. Everything is about that. When you look at your community become part of the community and you start looking at people and understanding that each one of these people has a reason for needing that car, what they've got going on with their family and in their lives. And you can start creating and helping them understand that you are there to help them get the segment they need the most to have their get to their job to take their kids where they need to be. Now you've created a relationship and now that the price of the of the vehicle becomes much less important. Obviously price is always important. But if all you're doing is competing on that it's a lose lose proposition. So like you said, as you've just got to be able to reach out and understand your people. It's a people business. Anything we do it's a hospitality business even though you're selling cars Yeah,

William J McCormick 13:10
yeah, no more with it. The whole thing was building a brand and doing all this is your ability to be a storyteller. Right? If you want to tell your company story, you want to tell the customer story. You want to let people know about your background. So I'm involved in the community if you've got somebody that you're highlighting, I mean, who knew that you're just saying that your new service technician was a member of this civic group and this is what something that they're doing and they were heavily the walk end Alzheimer's or something like that, that they're promoting for and it's just in time that we can talk about that, or whatever and just bring these things to light and sharing. Giving them a little bit larger options. Exactly how you bring people in and say, apart from it's all about me, me me, me me. With the other with the other dealers that you're in market with. If you live said if you open the book up and you say look, this is this is Tom story. And you tell that story about Tom. You tell what Tom is all about. And you bring him in that way. That's that's how you're going to be able to to engage with people.

Terry Lancaster 14:29
And it's a million times more interesting. And listen, here's here's a little trick. I mean, you're all here. This is this is me doing exactly the same thing when I started. I've been doing this a while so I started just like everybody else. I turned on the camera started talking about me and started talking about my ideas and what I got going on. And after a while I kind of got sick of listening to myself talk and I decided hey, you know what I'm gonna have my friends on and I'm gonna make them run their mouths. So So and everybody has a good time. And it's much more human than always trying to thump thump your chest like any time.

William J McCormick 15:09
Exactly. And there's only so many times you can tell their story to

let's listen to him or let them tell your story for you. They're going to bring to light something you may or may not have thought of mentioning because they sign you. Most preferred or you can let the work speak for itself. Let me let me let me write on you.

Terry Lancaster 15:40
And then so in terms of marketing, this is exactly that. You know I can stand here and tell you what a wonderful guy and great human being I am all day long. Will you be talking about the great cartels you got and you know Troy you can talk about how the NIA DA is changing live for dealers but but you know that's what people expect us to say. That's that's our jobs to say those things when we can get other people to say that about us. That's that's where the honey is. And here's here's the big secret is the way to get more people to say nice things about you is to say a lot more nice things about other folks.

William J McCormick 16:18
I mean, like for example, when I met you in person and Terry, you know, we're here in Nashville where I've never been there before, and you were the perfect host but you take took this to your favorite chicken place and we've had some really good food talk and you just get to see the sights, right? Oh, while you're here you can see that she gets to did you guys see this? Did you see this? And yes, and like, Who could ask her better than having the local guys just basically walked the red carpet for hospitality

Terry Lancaster 16:54
on this podcast that that's that simple, that simple cinnamon reoccurs over and over and over again and it's the beautiful thing that I found out about what I've done is the more I talk to people, and they and they tell me how doing one simple thing for the right reason, had all that had had all the impact in the world. Whereas you know, you do 100 You know 1000 Things were because it's work you dial the phone 1000 times but but doing the one right thing for the one right reason that you never expected to pay off, it comes back it comes back and say it's almost always and I hear that story over and over and over and over again.

Troy Scheer 17:31
Oh, compare it. It's what I've seen in my lifetime is the more that you do for others and don't think about the financial reward or the rewards you're gonna get. You're taking care of your people taking care of your customer at all. When you do that, and that is your mindset and that is the focus you have the revenue rolls in almost, you know, I don't want to say automatically but by doing the right thing and taking care of people and having that hospitality mindset that the revenue comes I mean, obviously you can't you got to do things from a business process standpoint and all those things so that you're not, you know, doing dumb things or a business perspective and losing money. But as far as that money coming in, it's all about taking care of people.

Terry Lancaster 18:18
The money will come when we know we got to take care of the customer that comes first customer comes first. But let's talk about taking care of our people that somebody paid for taking care of the people inside the building. Well, even I've talked about this several times about involving the people and telling the story of the dealership involving the people in putting on the face and the show that is every day in the car business. How is how is Nimda helping helping dealers attract employees retaining boys in this crazy market and then and then get those employees to be the best they can be

Troy Scheer 18:53
I think well you know exactly what you said there is you have to have and get the leader in the mindset of the leadership is that when you take care of your people, when you give them ownership when you trust them to be able to be that, that storyteller, and let them have ownership and what's going on now you've got to set up again, it goes back to culture, if you set up the right culture and that's one of the things we're sharing, you know, in our in our education and in our messaging is make sure you develop a people first culture. And again, that doesn't mean a lot of times you start talking about those things and people they take it as well. You know unicorns and rainbows and everything is no that doesn't mean that there's not accountability, and all of those things. But when you hire people when you bring them on when you train them, right and when you teach him and when you bring the people that have that fit in with your culture, and then you give them the authority to do the things that they can do to help the customer where they don't have to come back to you and ask every time and they start feeling like they are empowered and they have ownership and they truly are part of what you're selling, you know, the brand that you're building. Then they can get out and do a much better job then of loving on the customer. Because they realize students like wow, I'm being loved by my leadership at this dealership. I want to turn around and share that with my customers. So it's really a it's a simple but not easy thing. If that makes any sense. You know, so I was

Terry Lancaster 20:21
just looking at a graph again. I was trying I was trying to and this has nothing to do with studying for the day. But I saw this. As I was hearing from a buddy of mine, Matt Collier. They wrote a book called How To Market like a rockstar. And he posted this graph today and said most businesses and so I'll put most dealerships in this category. They spend most of their time going after new customers. Because that's that's the that's the big market. There's new customers. That's that's his big chunk. And we all we all have new customers. But then as you go out, the numbers get smaller, and you have existing customers, which is where I think a lot of money is I spent a lot of time we've come about retaining those customers and building those relationships and creating that community. And then Matt took it even one step further. And he talks about your most valuable customer base is the smallest and that is that is your brand evangelist. So this is the bigger dealer evangelists and that's what I tell every dealer is is your dealership, as you have 50 to 100 either you or you and your wife or nifty 200 employees, whoever whoever is done at that dealership for their livelihood. They should be an evangelist for that dealership, but they're not going to be evangelists unless you grab them and hug them and make them feel the love

Troy Scheer 21:35
and play like not and like you say it's so it doesn't have to be your salespeople. It can be the people that are the accountants or the service team, whatever it is. It's like you said if you establish that culture, they're that they're important. They're gonna go share that people ask hey, what do you do? Oh, let me tell you. Well, now that it's there's, there's, again, that human connection. When you create that human connection with everything you're doing there from a quote unquote, sales process, you're doing all the right things now, it doesn't mean that you're going to get everything it's going to happen. You know, I we're going to start talking great today and tomorrow we're going to have people beating down our doors. It's not that it's establishing that foundation. And then knowing that as you keep building on that, it just gets better and better. And like you said, the customer you have that's a key to the people that are there. Make sure that you develop that relationship ongoing not just when they buy the car, but for the rest of their life. You know, making sure that you have a relationship with your customers is going to help keep them there. Then they become your brand evangelists as well. And now all of a sudden you've got instead of having a three or four salespeople you might have on your staff. Now you got you know, 10s if not hundreds of other people out there selling your, your brand for you and sharing that and getting things out. We all know it's like if you asked me hey, what is what experience do you have? You know, whatever the case may be. I give you a good story and a good hey, this was a great experience. You need to go here. Well now it's going to be a lot easier for them as the dealership where you come in, you've already kind of the walls are down and now you can actually have a good conversation about what your needs are, how they can meet those needs and all that so it becomes much less about the hard sales process. It's again, take your time build that relationship, and you can have ongoing customers for years and years and years. It's time value.

Terry Lancaster 23:30
Enthusiasm is transferable baby enthusiasm is transferable. So I'm gonna ask you this before I forget it. This is just purely for my own my own interest I know that the ed world is a big deal in the in the in the franchise dealer situation. That's mean Yeah, you don't you don't want to get any franchise dealer that started on conversation about about the EVS or the world and what's going on. What's happening is the US car world in terms of whatever this pushes to become a all ed

Troy Scheer 24:03

I still went with that with a lot of the pre owned you're still looking I mean, there are some but it's a small percentage right now. They're the majority are still the internal combustion, right? So I just don't know it's one of those things where as we go, there's, you know, it's speculation. So it's just hard to say it's like, we have to kind of just watch the data and see what happens.

Terry Lancaster 24:29
Yeah, it's a it's a moving target. And I don't think anybody knows exactly what's going to go on and how fast it's going to go on but as is with any crisis there's there's always opportunity so that I mean, the new car dealer Summit, some of the some of the new car dealers may be it looks like trying to get the box out with some of the profit that way though, you know, with the changes in franchise laws and if that is the case that maybe may open up opportunity for independent dealerships to feel some sort of role, whether it's charging stations or delivery services.

Troy Scheer 25:05
I think the key is just listening to your customer. And knowing again, because we talked about as as a used car dealer you've got a smaller geographic footprint that you're living in, you've got that community around you and if you listen to your customer, then you know and that's where you again have to have that relationship of being able to, as you said, you know, reach back out to that customer. What is it that you need? What do you want? Well, if the customers are saying hey, we want to buy EVs well that's what you do them from an inventory standpoint that you're going out and looking for those vehicles that your customer wants, because if you're just going out and kind of hit and miss big and you know picking inventory that the people in your area, that that's not what they're looking for. You're not gonna salesman, so you got to understand that's where you kind of look at data, obviously, you have to know so that ties back into a whole nother topic that we could probably talk about for hours, but just about the the data that you have as a dealer, understanding what is the where are those vehicles that sell the best in your specific geographic area? Because what might work? You know in a certain area here in Dallas, you know, you go 1520 miles away, that neighborhood is completely different. So it's going to be a different need, what from that customer base. So again, it's the trick is making sure you understand what it is that your customer wants.

Terry Lancaster 26:19
And I think he pointed out the important part there that that's the same thing, listening to your customers and analyzing the data. That's the exact same thing because at the end of every data point, at the end of every lead generated in the end of every one of those numbers that we kind of get lost in there's a human being and that's that's where the story is that that's where the magic happens. William J. It's it's 730 so I'm gonna let everybody go you got you got any questions, comments? We hit the road?

William J McCormick 26:50
Well, yeah, it was on the political thoughts on that. I'm just saying, you know, we, we do our best to source locally, you know from from our our client base, and then we haven't heard that thing coming through I mean, who knows what's going to happen with EVs? I mean, we might find another situation like cash for clunkers where where we bring them in on one one fell swoop like that. Just just a set of all the crusher. You just You just never know. But that's a story for another time when we feel the crunch draw on air. But I just appreciate his Instagram having a little conversation with the United has been fun.

Terry Lancaster 27:29
I appreciate y'all what's happening in Troy, last word for you. Tell us that tell us tell us what you want. Tell us.

Troy Scheer 27:37
Well, I guess the big thing like we said, talking about education and all those things, I would just reach out to any independent dealer anywhere in the country that's watching. Understand how important it is to be part of your state association. You get involved there because one of the big things is that we haven't talked about it all tonight, but it's a lot of the regulations and the government things that are going on in your state government and your federal government getting involved with with your state association, which once you've done that you're automatically a member of nada. That is a great way to have your voice heard. And it's, you know, each one of these kneelers as I say you might be an independent dealer, but you can't grow independently. You got to get out and be able to get with that association and now your voice to be heard because instead of just your single voice, you got the state talking about things going on the state. And then all of a sudden now as you look at with with Nimda we have you know 14 15,000 members right now, that's a lot of voices being heard when we talk about going to Capitol Hill and being able to share your ideas and opinions of what needs to be done from a regulatory and you know, legal standpoint from laws and things that are being there. So I would highly encourage anybody, like I said, it's the educational process. And being able to continually grow is a huge thing. And one of the things that we do every year we've got coming up in June is our convention, and Id Accelerate 2023 convention in Las Vegas in June 19 to the 22nd and the educational opportunities that we that are going to be there I've been blown away just being on the backside of this thing kind of sequence being created in the classes and the education and we got Sugar Ray Leonard actually with that he's going to be our keynote speaker. Carfax is a sponsor for that bringing the hit him in and just so many things FTC related. I mean, so there's just so much learning and plus, you get together with you know, 1000 other dealers now you're gonna be able to learn and share best practices and all that so I just highly encourage people, like I said, to get involved with their state association, get involved with the national association so that we can build that independent dealer community and make sure that it is always working to the best of Canada to help take care of its you know, the customers that they want to take care of.

Terry Lancaster 29:57
I think with with everything in flux, the way it has been for a little while that voice on the Capitol Hill, the word your capital is more important than it's probably ever been. This seems.

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 books BETTER!How To Sell More Cars have 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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