How to Compete with Larger Dealers

How to Compete with Larger Dealers

If your RV dealership is new, or smaller, you might be wondering how you can make your dealership look ‘bigger’ to compete with larger companies. There are over 2600 RV dealers in the US and roughly 500 in Canada, the majority of which are small to mid-sized, but the big dealerships can be tough to compete with. Often, online presence is what helps ‘level the playing field’ for smaller dealers, and can help you appear just as robust and competitive as your larger competition.

The Benefits of Appearing Bigger

Consumers often have more confidence in a larger company. Typically, larger companies are more established, they’ve been around for several years and may be perceived as being more trustworthy. After all, they must have done something right to get to that size, so bigger can automatically mean ‘better’ in a shopper’s mind.

What Do People Perceive Bigger Dealers to Have?

Big dealerships are often perceived to have more purchasing power (typically true), along with better deals and the best brands. Shoppers may not realize that smaller dealerships have access to the same top-quality brands and can have great deals too! The goal is to overcome those initial perceptions about smaller dealers and prompt consumers to find out what your dealership has to offer.

So, How Do Smaller Dealers Compete?

RVT has a few tips to help you increase your dealership’s online presence.

  1. Spruce up your website. A robust website is one way to make your dealership look larger.
    Include an ‘about us’ section. Make it about ‘us’ even if you’re a one-person dealership. Use this space to let people know all the unique things that make your dealership stand out from the competition.
    Keep the content on your site fresh. One great way to do that is to have a blog on your site that offers tips for owners.
    Make sure your site is mobile friendly. On average, about 60% of people use their phone or tablet to access sites, so make sure your site is responsive and will adjust to fit a variety of devices.
    Link to your social media accounts on your website. As you’ll see in the next point, your social media presence is important.
  2. Have a strong social media presence. These days, presence on social media is key. Shoppers will use it as a source of information about your company, including reviews of your products and service. Keep in mind that you don’t want your social media feeds to sound like one big sales pitch. Be sure to share interesting news or tips with your followers, along with links to your blog posts, rather than posting solely about your inventory or current sales.


  3. Have professionally branded materials. If you don’t already have a logo, consider having one professionally designed. Your logo is used for all your branding and is vital from a recognition standpoint. Consistency in branding is essential. The same logo, fonts, and colors should be used in all of your branded material to help build recognition. Consider using a freelancer or graphic design student if budget is a concern. The cost savings over using an ad agency or a large design company could be substantial. 
  4. Establish brand awareness. Top-of-mind awareness is important to create. It establishes you as a forerunner in buyers’ minds, prompting them to think of you first when they want to shop for an RV.
    One simple and effective way to create brand awareness is through advertising your inventory and your services on trusted sites like RVT, where your target market is already gathering. RV shoppers trust RVT as an established source of ‘for sale’ listings and information. Beyond listing your units, RVT can help alert your buyers to sales at your dealership, your commitment to outstanding customer service, or your exceptional parts and service department through display advertising. Or help you to re-engage shoppers who have demonstrated interest in your units.

The more shoppers are exposed to your name and the merits of doing business with you,
the more you become a top-of-mind dealer for them.

Implementing these tips can help your business look bigger and help bring RV shoppers to your lot. Once you’ve connected with them, it’s how you treat them that will determine the ultimate success of your dealership. Solid reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and a good reputation for fair treatment, competitive pricing, and excellent after-sales service will keep consumers coming to your dealership—large or small. 

Ready to set your dealership up for optimal exposure and views via the RVT marketplace?
Contact us today to request personalized, one-on-one consultation

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Preparing Your Dealership for Success This Season

Preparing Your Dealership for Success This Season

Now that the RV industry is beginning to normalize following some pretty interesting trends over the last two years, inventory is rising and RV buyers are taking more time to assess all their options. More units on your lot means more opportunity to draw in discerning buyers and create repeat customers. But how do you do that? What strategies will help in 2023? RVT shares some tips and insights to start your RV season off strong.

What Consumers Expect When Shopping

The 2023 RV market is a different sales environment than it has been for the past three years. While the pandemic years had an overabundance of customers clamoring for RVs, often with not enough stock to satisfy, this year is a bit quieter, but with more stock available. So what are consumers looking for in 2023?

  • Knowledgeable staff who are personable and interested in them as people, not numbers.
  • Staff who listen to their needs and can make solid recommendations based on what the buyer is looking for.
  • Staff/dealership who will go the extra mile to help them get the best RV that suits their needs, according to their budget.
  • Honest staff who will help steer them away from poor choices.

Take the time to train your staff to be good listeners and look for ways to go the extra mile. A happy customer will refer others to your dealership and return themselves when they need service, an accessory, or a new unit.

What Catches Their Eye?

Today’s consumers are savvy. They do their research and many will familiarize themselves with your dealership online before they ever come onto your lot. So what can you do to catch their eye?

  • Photos and videos are key. Using photos and video helps attract interest and get your units more clicks and more leads.
    • Take the time to take good, clear shots of your inventory. Choose a sunny day, if possible. Include interior and exterior shots, and take many. The more photos you have, the more appealing your listing is.
    • Video walkthroughs have become the norm, so make sure your listings include them. It gives buyers an opportunity to stroll through the unit and see if the floor plan works for them before coming to the dealership.
    • Clear, thorough descriptions of your units are also helpful, providing buyers with useful information that aids their research. Make sure key features are listed, along with details such as length, weight, and number of people it sleeps. 
  • List all your inventory. Consumers are looking for selection and suitability. If they want a specific make or model and you don’t have it listed, they may assume you don’t carry it instead of asking if you do. The more inventory you list, the more they have to choose from, and the greater the possibility they will contact your dealership.
    If your inventory is currently listed with RVT, our marketplace specialists can quickly and easily adjust your account to show all units in your feed.
  • Make your inventory count. Even if you only have a small number of units, make sure they are displayed according to the best selling best practices listed above. Dealerships of any size who build a reputation for caring about their clients, display their units well, and have a solid online presence will draw interested buyers.

What Makes Buyers Choose Your Dealership Over a Competitor’s?

Buyers typically look for a dealership that checks several boxes. What do buyers use to evaluate whether your dealership is worth contacting?

  • Good reviews. A good reputation is vital and positive reviews are a great way to build your reputation. Strive for happy customers and people will be glad to give you a good rating. Ask your customers to provide testimonials. Most consumers read some form of testimonial before they buy, and peer reviews are one of the most valued. Keep in mind that many buyers are wary of reviews that are all 5 star or make your business sound ‘too good to be true’. 
  • Strong social media presence. Consumers will read the comments and look at the posts, both as a source of reviews and inventory.
  • Presence on trusted sources like RVT. This helps build familiarity not only with your inventory, but with your dealership. Your presence in a trusted environment often results in a higher level of brand recall. Familiarity breeds top-of-mind awareness.

Ensuring your dealership ‘checks the boxes’ will help bring in more buyers

Why Do Consumers Go to RVT?

These days, buyers are looking for ways to save time and resources, and that means fewer will go from dealership to dealership looking for what interests them.

  • On RVT, buyers can comfortably search, browse and compare a variety of units without leaving their home.
  • RVT is a trusted shopping source – over 800,000 unique shoppers per month check out the listings on RVT.

Ready to set your dealership up for optimal exposure and views via the RVT marketplace?
Contact us today to request personalized, one-on-one consultation

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