On average across the US, 20% households speak Spanish or another foreign language. The Hispanic community has $1.5 TRILLION in annual purchasing power; perhaps more significantly, non-English speakers account for over 25% of the anticipated growth for US businesses over the next few years.
And they all buy cars.
- $27.9 billion in new car sales last year, 11% of the US total
- In 2015, new vehicle sales to Hispanics grew at triple the rate of the total market
- Sales to Hispanics are responsible for more than 95% of year-on-year growth for Honda, Chevrolet & Ford, but also there’s a 16% increase in luxury car purchases
- Average new car value $27K for Hispanic purchaser (just below US average of $28K)
- Not just California & Texas, opportunity in every state
Welcoming foreign language customers makes sense as it gives you a crucial differentiator from the other dealers. Shoppers are more comfortable asking questions in their native language, and if they can connect with a native speaker on your team, you’re much more likely to win the sale.
Many dealers try to split the difference by listing which languages specific sales members speak or adding a Google Translate button to the site. That’s the right idea, but the wrong approach since the someone looking at your inventory is unlikely to do a deep dive on your About page, and Google Translate always runs the risk of poor translation damaging your brand.
The right move is to use a language trigger, so you can target a message to only those who speak that language.
Step 1: What’s your population density?
It’s easy to say every dealership in California, New Mexico and Texas should add triggers, but you might be surprised what the non-English speaking population is in your market.
The numbers can swing widely from country to county, but even just 10% translates to tens of thousands of potential customers where you can create an instant rapport — and that strong competitive differentiator — with just ten minutes of work to set up a language trigger.
IndexMundi is a reference website that will show you state’s Hispanic population county-by-county.
You should also poll your sales team: what languages do they speak, and what languages do they hear coming in the door or out and about in the community?
Now you know who’s out there, ask yourself: Would you like your dealership to be the go-to dealership for that community?
Step Two: Say “Welcome” every way you can
A language trigger lets you dynamically place content on your website based on the language preference of the website visitor.
In the case of CloudEngage, the platform can detect the user’s language preference by interrogating the browser configuration, so all you do is say “If the visitor’s language is set to X language, then present this content”
Select a spot on your site (for example a Hero slider) and swap out a generic asset for local-language welcome notes.
If you have a high concentration of non-native speakers, then it may pay off to create a pop-up with a photo of your sales team members who speak the language so visitors can make a personal connection and know who to look for. Include a form to reserve a meeting time, so that they know they’ll be taken care of, meanwhile, you secure the appointment and gain valuable contact information.
Step Three: Close the sale
If these welcome forms generate more leads than the generic lead form, consider expanding from a simple welcome banner to actual translated promotions. This should ONLY be implemented if the evergreen “welcome” campaigns indicate strong market opportunity, but the payoff in terms of long term community loyalty could be huge.