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How to Sell a Car to a Millennial


With millennials projected to overtake the baby boomer population this year, your car dealership should be millennial-friendly. So how do you convince a millennial to buy a car?

Selling to a Millennial

It should come as no surprise to you as a dealer that you are catering to a drastically different audience than in the past. Thirty years ago, your dealership relied on clever newspaper ads and crafty salesmen.

In the Internet age, it can be a challenge to even get a customer in the door. Here are some ways your dealership can cater to millennials, a segment of the population that is expected to total 75.3 million by the end of 2015.

Tidy up that Website

The millennial generation is the Internet generation. Everyone uses the Internet extensively, but many millennials grew up on it. Millennials do everything online. So the chances of a millennial walking into your store without having scoped out your dealership (and many others) online are very slim.

Because you can expect your dealership to be judged harshly by it’s online presence, make your website awesome (read: responsive, attractive and mobile friendly).

You may have heard about Mobilegeddon, Google’s promise to penalize non-mobile friendly websites in search rankings. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or is slow to load, you can forget about attracting millennials. Millennials do most of their shopping with mobile devices and are accustomed to finding quick answers.

Here are some more general website tips that will keep a millennial on your website.

  • Use real photos. Stock pictures aren’t going to cut it. Online competition is fierce. If you can’t show a millennial a real photo of the car you are selling, he or she will quickly move on to the next site.
  • Prominently display your store’s contact info. When millennials are looking for something online, they aren’t very patient. Burying basic contact info will severely annoy a millennial who wants to call about a car on your website.
  • Be photo-heavy and text-light. Always err on the side of showing more photos. Millennials aren’t likely to read through a huge block of text. They want to see photos of the car from every possible angle.

Easy on the Sales Pitch

Millennials will know everything about your dealership and the cars they are looking at before they even step in the door. They’ll know if your pricing is competitive. So if you promise them a “once-in-a-lifetime” price, they probably aren’t going to believe you. Openly answer any and all questions. But don’t use an aggressive sales pitch.

“[Millennials are] looking for experts to help answer their questions, and to touch and test out the physical car before making a purchase,” said Isabelle Helms, senior director of research and marketing analytics for Autotrader.com. “That said, Millennials want time and space to make the right decision, and will value the salespeople who provide the information they seek in a no-pressure way.”

Don’t Expect Major Brand Loyalty

“The Next-Generation Car Buyer” study by AutoTrader.com revealed that millennials are much more likely to consider lesser known brands such as Kia or Mazda because those brands have maintained popularity throughout their lifetimes.

The lesson to be learned here is that the Chevy or Ford name probably won’t carry the same cache with millennials as it does with baby boomers. Millennials didn’t grow up in the Ford/Chevy world, so don’t expect these cars to sell themselves based on brand name. Competitive pricing and a solid dealership reputation will go much farther with a millennial than a brand name.

Mind your Reviews

You can expect millennials to search the Internet far and wide for reviews on your dealership. So carefully curate your reviews, which we have previously discussed.

Looking for more ways to reach millennials and other segments of your auto audience? Check out our eBook that is chock-full of email marketing tips!

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