September 2012, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
We have the largest selection! We are the number-one dealer! Come get our Malibus for $199 a month! We have excellent service! We have been in business for 75 years! We have the lowest prices!
Really? I mean, really? Do you think your customers believe this stuff? Does it cause them to jump off the couch and come flood your showroom? As one of the more creative people in the business, Jimmy Vee of Rich Dealers Institute, once said, “Same is lame!”
So how can we be unique? How can we give customers a reason to choose our dealership over the other dealerships in the surrounding area? Let’s cover three areas that should help make us different. First, there is the advertising to get the customer into the showroom. Second, there is the overall customer experience of purchasing the vehicle. Third, there is the experience after the sale.
There are a ton of different views and a plethora of choices of what media to use and how often to use them. For the sake of this article, I am just going to be covering the actual message. In other words, how do we cut through the clutter? In order to cut through the clutter, you have to figure out what everyone else is doing and do the opposite.
A good question to ask is, what are our customers thinking? They could possibly be thinking, “I would really like a nicer, newer vehicle. Except, I know that I owe more than this vehicle is worth, and I don’t think there is any way that I can trade this vehicle in without getting killed.” If this is the case, could we possibly write an attention-getting message that tells the customer that they deserve a nicer, newer vehicle and we will give them up to $3,500 more than their trade is worth? How would we do that? How about using a disclosure at the end that says all discounts and rebates go to the dealer?
Do customers worry that their credit is too bad to purchase a vehicle? How many times have we been able to get approvals for customers that we did not think possible? If you are a GM dealer, you surely have sent some deals to GM Financial and felt like it was the good ‘ole days when they gave you an approval on a NEW vehicle! How about advertising a message that addresses the customer’s credit worries? It could read something like, “Our Special Credit Approval Process will help you get approved today!” In both these cases, we are appealing to the customer’s needs instead of advertising all about ourselves (like everyone else).
Now, let’s go to the customer experience of purchasing the vehicle. First consider whether the outside message matches the internal message. For example, does your theme being used for media match the message sent inside your dealership? Is your operator answering the phone with enthusiasm and tying the way she answers your phone into the theme you have running?
Is your showroom decorated to match your media theme? Do you have tabletops, posters, etc. that show excitement? Do the uniforms of your salespeople match the theme? Do they have nametags that list the city they are from so they are able to start small talk with the customer? Does the lot look like an exciting place? Are the hoods popped, doors open, maybe some radios running in your vehicles? Does the lot look like an awesome place to do business?
When the customer is at the store, do they see reasons to do business with both the dealership and the salesperson? Are there testimonials, pictures and videos that put the customer at ease? Do they feel like everyone else who has done business with this dealership is very happy? Do the salespeople take an attitude of acting as trusted advisors versus just trying to sell the customer? Do the salespeople provide an environment conducive to the customer having intent to return or intent to refer other customers?
How about the actual delivery? There is a whole bunch of technology on vehicles. Is either the salesperson or the delivery coordinator going over how the technology works? Do they know how to set up the Bluetooth, Homelink, Navigation, Onstar, etc.? If all this is done in a very professional manner, it should be very easy to ask for referrals.
Finally, how is the customer treated after the sale? Do we send them pictures with their new vehicle? Do we offer them anything special for their birthdays, like a free car wash? How about for the anniversary of their car purchase? Are they on our monthly newsletter database? How do we stay in touch with them? Do we offer a service clinic complete with new technology teachings, so they can make sure all their gadgets work correctly?
If you are taking massive actions towards making your dealership unique, I guarantee you will not have any competition! Furthermore, you will not have to worry about hearing that you are doing the same boring stuff. Same is lame!
Vol. 9, Issue 7