A Guide to Customer Events at Dealerships

Jun 2, 2022

Limitless opportunities exist for connecting with potential car buyers. With the right strategy and a little bit of creativity, car dealerships can find new ways to reach potential buyers and build stronger relationships. Customer events at dealerships are a great way to connect with potential customers and show them you’re a team they can trust. These events can range from casual meet-and-greets to elaborate car shows with live music, food trucks and more.  

They’re also a great way to showcase your car dealership’s brand, staff and inventory without requiring customers to visit your dealership. While there are many different types of events, here are a few examples of customer events that could work for your dealership. 

Some examples of customer events at dealerships include: 

Car shows 

A car show could be a great way to reach new customers. Not only could it help build your brand, but it can also be a great way to engage with your current customers and show them why they should choose your dealership over the competition. People who visit car shows love cars enough to spend their free time looking at them. This is a great demographic for dealerships to create strong relationships with. If you have a large lot, you could even host a car show outside on a sunny day.  

Test drives 

Test drives can be a great way to encourage customers to try out new cars without actually selling them. By offering test drives to customers who are shopping for new cars, you can let them experience the car and your service without requiring them to purchase anything. 

Test drives are also an excellent way to introduce your salespeople to potential customers and build relationships with them. In order to get the most out of test drives, make sure to have a diverse selection of cars and test drive each one yourself. 

Instead of offering test drives to potential customers that happen to end up at your dealership, create an event (or even a virtual event) centered around test drives. Perhaps one weekend you offer a giveaway or promotion related to test drives. If customers come in during a set period of time for a test drive, they get a promotional gift as a part of the event. This could encourage more foot traffic to your dealership.  

Golf tournaments 

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it is also a great marketing opportunity for car dealerships. By hosting a golf tournament, you can attract a large number of new customers at once as well as deepen your relationships with current customers. 

To encourage as many of your customers as possible to come, invite them to bring a guest with them. This will allow you to attract new people in addition to your existing customers and increase the total ROI of your tournament. You can host it at a nearby golf club and charge nominal fees as a donation to a local charity. It is a great opportunity to foster brand awareness, community support, and relationships with your customer base. 

Game nights 

Whether you choose to host a poker night, an air hockey tournament, or a board game event, games are a great way to get customers laughing and talking together. 

Game nights are also a great way to build camaraderie among employees, as well as among customers. A great way to encourage game nights is by offering prizes at random intervals throughout the event.  

If your dealership has a focus on family-friendly cars, consider family-friendly customer events at your dealership. By encouraging people to visit your dealership in person, when they ordinarily wouldn’t, you create an opportunity for them to see a vehicle that they love. 


BBQs are an especially popular summertime dealership customer, but they are a fantastic event idea regardless of the season. A barbecue can be a great way to get your customers to socialize and relax together, which can be especially valuable for car dealerships focused on long-term customer relationships. 

Your dealership’s customer events can be memorable. Offer your customers delicious BBQ and a place to socialize.  You can either host a large barbecue in your lot or inside the dealership’s showroom. You can tie it into a national holiday, such as Memorial Day or the 4th of July, or you can make it a customer appreciation event. You can send out an email invitation to the event to past customers who might need a newer model. For more marketing ideas, check out the Kelley Blue Book Industry Solutions page

Trade-in event 

Customer events at dealerships can do more than just attract customers. For example, hosting a trade-in event is a great way to get customers to sell their old cars to you as part of your inventory acquisition efforts.  

The key to a successful trade-in event is to make the offer enticing enough to get customers in the door. You can offer significant discounts on trade-ins at customer events to get customers interested. You can also offer a bonus toward the purchase of a new car if they trade in their old one. Make sure to promote your trade-in event widely so that you get as many people in the door as possible. 

Breakfast club meet-and-greet 

Breakfast clubs are another popular customer event and a great way to bring together a large group of potential customers. You can either host a breakfast club in your dealership showroom or invite customers to bring their own food to listen to a speaker.  

These customer events at dealerships are generally quite casual and can be a great way to meet potential customers and generate interest in your brand. You can advertise these events through social media or email newsletters, or you can even hold them on a weekday morning before regular working hours. 


Roadshows are another sales event strategy that is especially good for reaching customers away from your physical location. During a roadshow, you reach potential customers at local events including fairs, which is especially valuable if you are not in a location where you are likely to get into regular contact with your customers. 

Roadshows can be as simple as visiting trade shows or as involved as a team meeting up with a group of customers to give them a personalized experience. These customer events at dealerships are often public, so they are a great option if you want to get your product in front of people who are not your usual customers.  

Networking events 

Networking events are a great way to build relationships, and they can be particularly effective for car dealerships. During a networking event, you will spend the whole time talking with your potential customers, and you will also have the opportunity to explore different ways you can help them. 

You can offer a weekly networking event at your dealership, where business owners meet to give their elevator pitches to the rest of the group. There are also different networking organizations that you can offer your space to so that the meetings will be held at your location.  

Virtual events 

While in-person events are a great way to build relationships and boost your brand, there are some customers that prefer virtual events at car dealerships. In order to boost your business and reach new customers, you can also host a series of webinars. This can show off the features of a particular model or provide information about more general car-related topics, such as how to select the right first car for teens. 

Webinars are great virtual events for car dealerships to boost your brand and reach a large number of potential customers, as they are a great way to boost your brand and boost your credibility. They are also a great way to reach a large number of potential customers for a low cost. 

Use events as part of your dealership’s marketing strategy 

Customer events at dealerships can build relationships, boost your brand and get new customers in the door. They are also a great way to gain access to potential new customers in person and via social media. You can use events as an opportunity to win over new customers and encourage repeat business. For more information about marketing ideas, check out our blog