Like many dealers, you probably subscribe to online listings services primarily to drive used car sales. But do you also list your new car inventory? If you are among those franchise dealerships that still list only their used inventory on sites like Cars.com, you may be leaving dollars on the table. Keep reading to find out how you can use new car inventory to gain more exposure for your dealership, drive more leads and close more sales. Already listing your new cars? Find out how you can improve performance.

At your store, it’s likely that your new car inventory takes center stage, so why not give it equal attention online? Consider this: Thirty percent of Cars.com shoppers1 say they are open to buying a new or used vehicle when they begin researching vehicles. To meet the needs of these shoppers who often waver between buying new and used, give them the option to choose from either side of your store. This will help to ensure undecided shoppers are only left to decide what to buy from you versus whether to buy from you.

Including all of the cars available at your dealership helps your internet advertising work harder and smarter. Not only do you raise overall awareness of what your store has to offer, but you also provide individual car buyers with more options. Those dealers who advertise only their used car inventory in their online listings get only half the benefit of advertising online. By contrast, dealers who list both their new and used cars tell us that they receive more high-quality leads and generate more sales with minimal additional effort. It makes sense: The more hooks you put in the water, the more fish you will catch.

If you are ready to start listing your new car inventory, consider the following:

Tell Car Buyers You Have More than What’s in Stock
Given that many new car shoppers are likely to want a specific color, options or custom accessories, take care in your listings to let potential buyers know you can help them find the new car that meets their needs. Use your existing new car inventory to call out your dealership’s ability to locate additional options and to work with shoppers to help them find the new car they are looking for if they don’t see it in stock. For example, in your seller’s notes, you can say: “If this car isn’t exactly what you want, please contact us because we should be able to find that specific vehicle in a very short period of time.” You’ll also want to sell the value of doing business at your store. You’ll be able to capture a shopper that wants to work with you regardless of what you currently have in stock. When following up with such shoppers, take time to ask questions to assess their needs so that you can also suggest appropriate alternatives.

Price It Right
Just as you do in your new car print ads and your online used car listings, you’ll want to offer shoppers a price for the vehicle. Without a price, consumers may be inclined to think you have something to hide. The MSRP is a recommended starting point if you are unsure how to price new car inventory online. As always, be consistent with the pricing you have advertised in other mediums. If there are additional charges for special options on an advertised vehicle, include them in your price, or shoppers could lose trust in your dealership when they get to the store and learn of additional costs.

Merchandising Matters
As you do with your used car listings, be sure to fully merchandise each vehicle with several high-quality photographs taken at your store versus the stock photos from the manufacturer. Sites like Cars.com will automatically include manufacturer’s photos, but you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to personalize the car with actual images taken at your store.

Detail for the Sale
Your dealership management system contains most of the information you need to list new car inventory, but we recommend that you go the extra mile. Spend a few moments to customize each new car ad to give it greater impact. Chances are good that the car has features beyond what is highlighted by the vehicle identification number exploder, and shoppers are more likely to respond if you call out what makes the car different from other similar models. Be sure to include any dealer-installed upgrades or accessories that make the car unique.

In today’s internet-driven marketing and sales environment, consumers expect comprehensive product information to be available within a few mouse clicks. By including your complete inventory in your online listings, you’ll meet this expectation and improve the odds that shoppers will find their vehicle match at your store. Remember, before a shopper can decide if they want to do business with your store, you must first show them that you have the car – new or used – that they want to buy.

Have more questions about listing your new car inventory? You can ask the experts at Cars.com or contact your local Cars.com representative.

1. 2006 J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study