The holidays are always a special time of year, especially now, given the past 24 months. We haven’t stopped riding the roller coaster yet, and while it’s still unclear where the future will take us, there is hope on the horizon.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about the future in terms of how it affects your business directly, the direction our industry is taking more broadly. Today we’re talking about how you and your teams can celebrate your successes now and at any other time of year. These festivities can add extra joy to hard years or elevate successful ones.
Pet Adoption Day
Your local animal shelter undoubtedly has plenty of adoptable cats, dogs, and other possible pets that need homes. Consider getting in touch with shelter staff to talk about bringing a collection of their cuddliest creatures to your dealership during regular business hours. Customers and their families can interact and play with the animals while they wait, and those able could go home with a new forever friend.
During the warmer months, you can host this event outside, and those are probably the best times of year to do so, if only for the inevitable clean-up. Winter and holiday season adoption days will, of course, need to happen in your dealership, so be sure to make special provisions for the animals and shelter staff in an appropriate place off of your sales floor.
You might give your employees some additional time outside their normal break schedule to interact with the animals and their caregivers. You never know if they might find a match, and they might not have even known they were looking. Your salespeople can also use that time to gauge interest in any customers or families not necessarily present to buy a car. It might not translate into a sale the day of the adoption drive, but adding a free touchpoint is always a win.
Try not to put sales at the forefront of the adoption day’s marketing. Any social posts or other campaigns should focus on the animals, the shelter, and the joy of taking home a fuzzy companion. The fact you’re hosting adoptable pets and supporting your community shelters is likely to generate more than enough goodwill to bring people toward the sales floor.
Host a Holiday Shirt Competition
December isn’t the only time of the year for interesting clothing choices. Christmas sweaters are notoriously ugly, so much so that it’s more fun to wear them for the humor than other reasons. Different holidays have different reasons for wearing special outfits, too, so if you’ve done terrible sweaters, think about fun 4th of July shirts, work-appropriate Halloween costumes, or bunny-themed Easter attire.
The holiday clothes don’t need to link to a widely celebrated event, either. Staff birthdays, longstanding internal traditions, and other celebrations unique to your dealership and its people make for great occasions to show off some style.
If you want to offer a prize, the requirements for winning should be suitably fun and even a little wacky, depending on your staff and their personalities. Prizes can be a gift card, a lunch, or something you know the winner will enjoy regardless of their position. Consider taking a poll leading up to the competition to reach a company consensus about who should win and by what metrics. Then, reserve fifteen or twenty minutes for everyone to show off what they’re wearing on the day of the competition.
Open a Donation Pool
Similar to the pet adoption drive, this celebration is all about your community and the good it can do. Consult with the team to see what causes they’re passionate about. Put together a shortlist of options and email it to everyone. Work with your staff to come to a single worthy cause everyone can agree on or accept.
There’s no need for competition here, but there should be an easy way to track goals. A thermometer that fills to a specific value is a classic gauge of success. Don’t be afraid to be creative, and engage with the artistic members of your team to come up with something everyone will enjoy.
Bring the community into the fundraising, too, both by incentivizing a vehicle purchase through donations per purchase and in-dealership philanthropy. The community ask doesn’t have to be overbearing. Donation drop boxes near the sales and service entrances are a good start, and you can ask buying customers to put in something toward the cause before they drive away in their new car.
Be sure to pick a number you feel comfortable reaching, but don’t underestimate your staff and community’s generosity. Be clear that whether you reach your goal or not, all collected gifts will still be going to the organization of your business’s choosing. If it’s your first time holding a donation drive, you might not have a good feel for what the goal should be. Hit it and celebrate, or don’t, and be happy you’re still making a difference in people’s lives. If you vastly exceed your target, use that as a push for even more next time, whenever that might be.
Treat Your Team to Dinner
Sometimes, simple is best. As with other options presented here, poll your team to see where they’d all like to go and when. Suggest keeping work talk to a minimum unless it’s about friendly stories—no need to force the issue or push any team building activities. Also, be mindful of any possible personality conflicts and encourage your team members to set boundaries as necessary. This night, or morning, is for the team to enjoy a nice meal with their colleagues, with the greatest emphasis on “enjoy.”