The ability to upgrade one’s vehicle is not always accompanied by motivation. The author urges dealers to focus their equity mining efforts on four reliable indicators.  - Photo by vadimguzhva via Getty Images

The ability to upgrade one’s vehicle is not always accompanied by motivation. The author urges dealers to focus their equity mining efforts on four reliable indicators.

Photo by vadimguzhva via Getty Images

While the average vehicle ownership length is 6.5 years, trade-ins peak around three years into the loan term. This means approximately 10% to 15% of existing dealer customers are eligible to upgrade their vehicles at any given time.

Equity mining tools have long been used to identify sales and service customers with equity in their vehicles, in the hopes of turning them into new sales customers. Most tools have built-in templates that help dealers create attractive, personalized purchase offers that reflect both short term and long term cost-of-ownership savings.

Read: Data Mining: The Golden Opportunity You’re Ignoring

However, there is one drawback to equity mining tools: Just because a customer has the ability to upgrade their vehicle does not necessarily mean they have the motivation to do so.

What if you could further streamline customers identified by your equity mining tool to include only motivated customers? You could increase new vehicle sales by focusing all your time, marketing dollars, and efforts on customers with both equity and a need.

The best way to identify motivated customers is to filter a list using several other, knowable triggers that indicate when consumers may be the most open to a new vehicle sales offer. These triggers include:

1. Warranty Expiration or Collision

Is the vehicle near warranty end or out of warranty? Does the vehicle have excess mileage? Is the vehicle coming off lease in the next year? These triggers are easy to identify and allow you to contact vehicle owners far in advance of the actual event.

Also identify owners who may have lost confidence in their vehicle. Has there been a recent collision repair? Has the customer declined a service estimate over $500? Loss of confidence is a powerful purchase motivator.

2. Change in Life Event

Purchase data from third parties that will help you identify customers and prospects who have recently experienced life changing events. These events are great indicators that vehicle needs may change.

Recent movers into your primary market area can be targeted with a welcome message and sales offer.

Newlyweds, newly divorced, college graduates, and parents with new babies or high school students all make great targets. So do people who have started a new job.

When a potential car buyer visits your dealership website, third-party sites, or an OEM website, you know that person is a hot prospect.

3. Online Browsing Behavior

Online browsing behavior is one of the best predictors of who is currently in-market. Fortunately, new technology exists that allows you to identify “anonymous” shoppers online and tells you what they’re looking for.

When a potential car buyer visits your dealership website, third-party sites, or an OEM website, you know that person is a hot prospect. Being able to identify who they are allows you to send them custom, personalized messages guaranteed to grab their attention and pique engagement.

4. Location, Location, Location

Technology also exists that allows you to track prospects’ locations. What if you could be notified when an existing customer attends the local auto show or visits a competitor’s lot? This would allow you to serve them display ads or videos designed to grab their attention and place your brand in consideration.

When combined with equity mining data, these triggers become a powerful predictor of customers who are both eligible and motivated to buy. These customers are worth targeting with aggressive, personalized, and relevant omnichannel campaigns to ensure that your message is being heard and your brand is in consideration.

Scot Eisenfelder is CEO of Affinitiv, a marketing technology company serving automotive manufacturers and franchise dealers. Email him at [email protected]

Read: 8 Ways Small Dealers Can Compete With Big Franchises

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