Using Inventory to Create Maximum Conversions
For purposes of this post I am using conversion as the submission of a form via the website, Facebook Marketplace, Cycle Trader – anywhere that we can grab and put in the CRM. There are other conversions that I track but this is the most important to me.
Let’s say we get a single person who submits multiple inquiries (3 different vehicles etc). Normally that’s a duplicate and I pull that from the numbers in reports. One person equals one opportunity to sell within the cycle and we mostly consider the cycle to be 27 days. It gets fudged occasionally, but that’s the foundation.
With this I am counting duplicates, because I see it more from a ‘number of inquiries per bike’ point of view. I can gauge interest, look for anomalies, understand where it’s at in inventory. For example, if you have a unit with 15 inquiries over 60 days and no sale…. Time to ask someone what’s up. There will be times someone didn’t mark it sold and your follow up marketing emails for service or asking for reviews was never sent by the CRM. Plus, still paying to advertise it. That gets fixed. Or maybe the ad needs adjusted, maybe a Facebook post with some pics, maybe adjust the price. Whatever it takes to not keep units in inventory that decay in value over time.
It’s also important with what we call ‘placeholder’ units. These are new units, one per make/model/year/color etc that are always up there and allow us to only have to edit one online listing. We can use stock photography but where possible we’ll have some good, multiple shots to represent the unit better. Number of inquiries per placeholder shows you interest in other ways, color for example. Or if you want to push something like 2019 Indian Chieftains, then you can watch to see if the online ads you are running are effective, almost in real time. Tuning is really nothing more than eliminating bad results.
More than anything, having these numbers available is what allows me to leverage Cycle Trader’s Market Insights. It has all the data nationally and for my DMAs so I can see median online price, graphed and where I am on a given unit. I can see what the most popular make/models are tied to how many I have in inventory. The data from Cycle Trader is super relevant to my industry because they have enough daily traffic and dealer business to make the numbers accurate. We have other data streams too, like eBay, Craigslist etc. Cycle Trader has an interface that has most of what I need. I am sure in the auto world Cars.com has something similar.
All of this allows you to put the most popular units in postings that will generate the most traffic, especially free traffic. But we keep an eye on stale inventory to make sure we use paid listings early. Understanding and featuring harder to sell or more niche items gives the dealership a bit more flexibility in trades. As a dealer that sells Slingshots and Vanderhalls we take in RVs, cars, trucks, boats – almost anything. Nothing goes to auction; we resell everything ourselves using whatever channels necessary to get it out the door.
You will need a few good quality reports but nothing beyond the reach of an average dealer’s normal software. Using these regularly benefits your buyer on the used vehicle side too, helping them understand better what is selling, and giving them a feedback channel in case some opportunity arises, and you are needed to move something quickly. For example, a deal that nets you 20 new, but one-year old Indian motorcycles at a reduced cost can be made and turned around much quicker if your buyer knows the marketing department can push those 20 bikes as a priority.
Successful marketing is greatly dependent on understanding what is and isn’t selling in your market area. In the old days that was more nuance and feel, but today we have access to data from everywhere, including our competitor’s information. Using these tools frequently helps you to create a marketing campaign that has a much higher chance of success along with greater returns.