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How to turn tax season into sales season for your dealership

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on March 30, 2021

Tax season has arrived, and this year’s round is going to be a weird one. Some people might be getting larger refunds than normal thanks to writing off home office expenses for the first time, while others may be more deeply affected by the pandemic and find themselves especially strapped. Meanwhile, business customers may have fleet updates on hold, or they may be about to receive a welcome reminder at tax time of the benefits of writing off their vehicles.

Here are a few ways that your dealership may be able to capitalize on tax season to bring customers through the doors who will drive more vehicles off the lot.

Remind your customers of the benefits of a healthy down payment

For those people who will receive a larger than normal tax refund this year, now is a great time to remind them of the benefits of buying a new vehicle with a larger down payment. Incentives are hard to come by in the current market thanks to the low inventory situation being created by COVID-19 and the ongoing chip shortages that are hampering production. Putting a tax refund toward a down payment may get a customer into a more expensive vehicle than he or she had budgeted for by lowering monthly costs.

Customers have a lot on their minds right now, so even if they’ve considered that it may be time to upgrade their vehicles, using tax refunds to make it less of a burden may not have crossed their minds. Consider suggesting this openly in your marketing campaigns and explaining the benefits in plain terms. This just might make the connection that gets those customers through the door and talking to your sales representatives.

It could be possible to tie this in even further by holding a safely organized outdoor event to celebrate the arrival of spring and offer customers advice on their possibilities, or possibly even general tax advice from experts brought on-site, provided this is allowed within your regional COVID-19 health restrictions. People are looking for things to do that feel like events, so add a bit of fun to it and you might see a strong response.

Offer to work with customers who are strapped

On the other end of the spectrum, many people are financially worse off during the pandemic, particularly those in industries that are deeply affected. Some people may be staring down a larger tax bill than they were expecting if they miscalculated what they owe on CERB payments, for example, and cars don’t always wait for the most convenient times to need replacement.

A well-done subprime program walks people through car purchases that are affordable to them and puts them back on the path toward financial health, leaving them feeling supported by your dealership and often turning them into loyal, returning customers. If your dealership already works with subprime customers, tax time could be a good period for reminding those clients that these services exist to help them through a vehicle replacement. If you don’t have subprime experts on staff and you’ve identified that there could be a market for it in your area, it could be worthwhile to pick up the phone and seek out some consulting advice on how to get started.

Capitalize on small business owners who are noticing the benefits of write-offs

If you have any small business owners who buy vehicles for their operations, this is the time of year when they’re looking at their tax bills and noticing the benefits of writing off those expenses. This can be especially prominent among those who purchase electrified vehicles and have taken advantage of the federal government’s iZEV benefit, which permits businesses to write off 100 percent of capital costs for zero-emission vehicles such as battery electrics and plug-in hybrids. If any of your clients have made these types of purchases in the last two years and are currently seeing the payoff during tax season, they might be keen to come back to purchase their 2021 allotment while the thought is on their minds. Consider checking in with them to ask about their current needs.

Topics: best practices, sales, tax season