In the late 1990s Volkswagen Retailers never used to have sales, they didn’t need them right up until the point when they did. So what to do? They decided to have a “Sail” instead…

For other great ads like this from a time when advertising was almost an art-form, have a look at this site

Anyway, back to sales events: We often get asked “How long should I run my sales event for?”. Once we’ve gone through a bit of house-keeping around the duration / availability of the offer and how many attendees you need etc, we will usually come back with a pretty standard “9 days – max” – Giving you two weekends in the event period and thus a second bite of the cherry.

Well things are changing and our data is telling us that even longer offer periods and event windows are the way forward.

In a nutshell, in the current market, consumers appear to want more time to mull things over. Having been faced with a lack of vehicle availability, extended lead times and uncertainty over their current car’s value, they are now more reluctant to commit so quickly to a face-to-face appointment, on site. We are seeing this in the increase in the volume of “requests for call-back” and deferment. For the first time ever, in some instances, we’re seeing these supposedly-softer leads exceed the volume of “hard” appointments. What’s more, in terms of sales, they convert as well as an appointment, they just take that bit longer to get there. As such they really must be handled every bit as seriously as those customers who have made an appointment and that’s an education piece on the sales floor.

The traditional view of the weekend appointments being premium is also changing. We record the day and timing of appointments and with a bit of post-activity data magic we’re now seeing that week day appointments actually have a better turn-up rate than weekend appointments, (when limited availability can drive customers to agree to non ideal appointment times that subsequently interfere with other plans) so overall, they convert to sale at a higher rate than those made at weekends. This is even more marked when the event window only covers a single weekend.

There’s a new reality here; in a Work from Home world, car buyers have now got the flexibility in their working schedule to visit during their working week, so why wouldn’t they take advantage of that? Finally on this point, it works for the retailers too, in that they’ve usually got better staff cover during the week, so taking traffic away from the weekends when they’ve got fewer staff in, is no bad thing.

Another factor to consider is the holiday season – given that a fortnight in the sun is now a realistic proposition for the first time in ages, it makes sense to keep that event window open for longer because there’s a fair chance that a large chunk of your potential audience won’t be around if you’re a bit too quick to pull the shutters down.

Just something to factor into your planning for the next few weeks and months!

Find out more about Sales Drive our sales engagement and lead delivery proposition.