As the founder and CEO of a Spanish language marketing company, BDA Spanish, the first question I get from most dealers I meet is: “You speak Spanish, right?” And my answer is: “No, I got a D in Spanish.” This always leads them to ask: “What made a white guy from Michigan decide to create a Spanish automotive classified site—the only true Spanish automotive website platform in the United States?”
The answer is simple, and I’ll share it with you at the end of this article. But first, I’m going to share some important information about why you want to care about Spanish-speaking shoppers too.
“Two languages are better than one.”
I’ve been in the automotive industry for just over 23 years.
During this time, I’ve heard a lot of stereotypes when it comes to Hispanics:
• They only buy used cars.
• They can’t get financed because they don’t make as much money.
• They don’t buy from dealerships; they buy on Craigslist.
• They can’t speak English.
• They aren’t online as much and don’t shop on their phones.
Like all stereotypes, these are totally false and could be costing your dealership big bucks!
The Biggest Mistake Dealers Are Making Is Stereotyping the Hispanic Population
According to an April 2017 article by Sara Hasson at Univision, U.S. Hispanic buyers are driving new vehicle sales growth in the United States. She states: “In 2016 U.S. new vehicle sales hit a record high. With a mature market comes the pressure to find organic areas for growth, and no other segment of the population is driving more positive growth in the auto industry than U.S. Hispanics.”
“No other segment of the population is driving more positive growth in the auto industry than U.S. Hispanics.”
Hispanics Aren’t Just Buying—They’re Buying MORE
“On average, Hispanic [car buyers] are 12 years younger than non-Hispanics and return to buy new vehicles at the same rate as total market, every 3.4 years. Therefore, Hispanics have the potential to buy 3-plus more new vehicles in their lifetime.”
According to The Nielsen Company, you need to understand that “two languages are better than one.” The article reads: “In total, 55 percent of Hispanics are bilingual, while 27 percent are English-dominant and 19 percent are Spanish-dominant. Spanish is still spoken by many of the English-dominant speakers, however, and the growing importance of Spanish makes dual-language competence a benefit for marketers in mainstream America.”
So Hispanics aren’t generation next—they’re generation NOW, for anyone who wants to increase sales and recession-proof their dealership. With a solid plan, just about any dealership can create consistent growth over the next 20 to 30 years by focusing on Hispanic buyers.
How to Serve Hispanic Buyers at Your Dealership
1. Hire Hispanic People Who Speak Spanish
You can’t serve people well if you don’t speak the language. George Lopez said it best when he said: “We can speak English … we just don’t want to speak it with you.” What he didn’t say is 8 out of 10 Hispanics speak Spanish at home, so you need staff who can serve people in the way they prefer. Plus, according to Pew Research, 33 percent of Hispanics speak “less than very well” English at home, or no English at all, so how much business are you missing?
2. Have a Presence
This isn’t rocket science. Just like English marketing, you need to have a place for people to view your cars in Spanish. That means developing a Spanish website, or listing your cars on a Spanish classified site like www.buscadordeauto.com so Hispanic shoppers can view vehicle information in their language.
3. Help Them Find You
Once you have people in place, and a presence online, it’s time to promote your dealership, products, and staff to the Hispanic community. Facebook, Google, and Bing are great places for targeted ads to reach Hispanic buyers, as long as you have everything else ready to serve them well.
I said I’d come back to why a white guy from Michigan with a D in Spanish founded a Spanish marketing company, so here it is: I got an A in economics. With the growth of Hispanics in the United States, I knew that this would be the best way for car dealers to consistently grow their sales, year over year, if only they would learn to say hola to Hispanic buyers.