Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

What are your competitors saying about you?

By Ron Henson on Jan 2, 2013

Here is an interesting question; What are your competitors saying about your dealership to potential customers?

Herbert Hoover was quoted as saying, "Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress."

So here's the challenge.  Whether you are a Dealer, a GM, a Sales Manager or a Sales Consultant, take the time to walk into your competitive facing dealerships and mystery shop them.  Find out what they do well and what areas need improvement.  Pay attention to things like:

* Initial Greeting

* First Impression

* What questions are asked to discover your needs

* Product Knowledge

* Professionalism of the Demonstration

* Pushiness

* And finally, and perhaps the most important, ask them why you should buy from them and why they work at that dealership rather than the one down the street. (Your dealership!)

This exercise will be beneficial regardless of the answers you get or how well the "other guys" perform during your experience.  If the sales consultant does an outstanding job and really performs at a level rarely seen at your dealership, HIRE THEM IMMEDIATELY!  If they decline, use the experience as a launch pad to make your people better.

If the sales consultant doesn't perform so well during your experience and you can't imagine why anyone ever buys from this clown, use that

 

 as a launch pad to tell your staff how good they are and point out where the competition struggles.  Turn their weaknesses into your strengths and the consumers will notice.

Half of the battle is just showing up.  Show up in your competitors showrooms and you'll be amazed at the wealth of valuable information you will obtain that can help you improve your dealership.

That's my 2 cents for the day.  Move some metal!

Comments

"Turn their weaknesses into your strengths and the consumers will notice." Brilliant, Ron!

Jan 3, 2013

Thanks Lindsey!

Jan 3, 2013

When Shaun Raines and I were traveling around the nation on behalf of Chrysler Group LLC, I would always ask the assembled group of dealer owners, operators and managers a simple question in the morning. "What separates your dealership from your competitors?" (Or "why choose you over the next one down the street?")
The greater majority of their answers involved the phrase "well, it's because of the customer service we provide." I have a quintessential problem with this so I would follow up with,
"Do you hug your customers?" or "Are your handshakes warmer and more friendly?"
You hit the nail on the head, Ron. The same antiquated "road to the sale" is on display at almost every dealership and few have a means of standing out above the crowd. It comes down to the professionalism and knowledge of the people, but I know very few dealers who would tell you their sales team really blows any other sales team out of the water. Too many are too similar.

It is important for dealers to start recognizing that they're being compared to the dealership down the street AND they are doing very little to separate themselves. What is being said about you, as a dealership, cannot be controlled, but the brand messages you deliver to the public can have a profound impact of how others view you in the first place.

Jan 8, 2013

Great points Joe! I think it would be fantastic is Dealers and GM's went out to their competitors and actually experienced the process. Many stores pay companies to mystery shop their own stores but to have them get down in the trenches and really strive for improvement would build major value. Their teams would be blown away as well! Can you imagine a DP getting up in sales meeting and reporting the findings that he had from from shopping the guy down the street! Thanks for your comments Joe.

Jan 8, 2013

Comments 1 - 4 of 4

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Ron Henson's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Service Drive Selling is not telling, what? Just go Engage in a conversation when its right

    Everyone has heard of the old saying that "Selling is not Telling", right? So why are some dealers falling prey to techniques that throw car deals at every one of your service customers before, during and after they arrive? Have we forgotten the importance of a face to face conversation while the customer is still at our place of business?   Your service managers and advisors are talking with thousands of customers in your service drive on a monthly basis. The process is simple: when they arrive, the service advisor greets them, listens to their concerns, and then recommends services by inspecting and then writing up a repair order. The customer may even wait in the service lounge while the services are to be performed. While they are waiting, they may deserve a conversation about their current status of ownership.  However, the advisors must let sales know that this customer is waiting.    So now what? You know the customer is waiting. They may even be watching some TV, browsi...Read post

  • Is Your Dealership Investing in Itself or Third Parties?

    When I started doing SEO and social media for dealers, the one thing that really worried me was how often dealers are being outranked in search engines by third-party listing sites like Autotrader, Cars.com, CarGurus, and Edmunds. After all, these are sites that make more money from dealers by essentially outmarketing them. What's worse is many of these sites use dealers' money to invest in ad campaigns that actually demonize dealers. The goal being to get customers to skip dealer websites and window shopping, in order to make even more money off of their dealer partners. And because people are using the web more and more for research, more third-party listing sites are popping up to claim an even bigger piece of the pie from dealers. From a business perspective, it doesn't sound so bad: You pay a highly-trafficked, tech-heavy site to list your inventory and receive leads in order to sell more cars. Unfortunately, customers that use third-party listing sites tend to be the most di...Read post

  • “I Am Loyal to My Dealership For The Great Coffee.” Said No Customer Ever.

    Imagine how a high-quality and positive customer relationship with a car buyer who owns a vehicle for an average of six years will translate into a heightened lifetime value. The relationship’s good standing will not only increase their loyalty, but also overcome any negative experiences encountered in their shopping and buying journeys. So what are some processes you can implement to improve the ownership experience and increase customer loyalty? Loyalty from your customers is not to be expected even in the slightest. You must strive to earn it every single day. With the tools, technology and talent available to us today, there is no excuse for anything less. Read post

  • Target In-Equity Service Customers to Stand Out

    Creating an effective marketing strategy in today’s world is not an easy task. Should you spend your time and money to conquest new customers? Allocate your marketing budget to build brand awareness in your community? Create a program to strengthen customer retention among your existing database? Or should you focus your energy on all of the above? The possibilities are endless. Chances are the answer to an effective marketing plan lies in a perfect combination of a new and current customer strategy that delivers the most optimal return. The problem is finding a harmonious balance. We all know the old adage, “It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.” If this is true for your dealership, then it is in your best interest to capitalize on every opportunity with current customers. Make sure they are informed about needed vehicle maintenance, communicate service savings, share OEM incentives on new vehicles, etc. Now I’m not telling you to ...Read post

  • Top 8 DrivingSales Executive Summit 2014 Takeaways

    Conferences are easy. Free food, free swag, free parties, and more information than you can shake a stick at. It is like going back to college, condensed into 3 days. Now comes the work; taking what you have learnt and doing something with it. Creating an actionable items list and work-back schedule. Our day-to-day lives catch up with us very quickly and it is all too easy to put off making a plan. Before you know it, it's the next year and the next conference season and you haven't moved on anything you have learned. A similar but equally daunting problem is hoping to accomplish EVERYTHING. Often there are so many fantastic ideas it is impossible to choose. This past DrivingSales Executive Summit is a prime example. The great information I took in, is far more than I could ever accomplish. Read post

  • The Mind is Like a Parachute – It Works Best When Open

    Competition in business is usually a good thing.  Sure, we’d all like to have the market cornered, but without a little competition we would perhaps never figure out ways to improve our products or services and keep our customers coming back.    In an interesting article on Infusionsoft’s “Big Ideas Blog,” a few examples of businesses thinking outside the box were shared. 3Tees is a Singapore based company that prints T-shirts for companies “promoting events with a social cause.” It has a slogan of “You price it. We print it.” The company allows customers to determine the price of the shirts and their pricing strategy has proven successful.  According to the article, the vast majority of customers make genuine offers that both fit within budget and provide an acceptable profit margin. In fact, while the company is willing to reject extreme low-ball offers, they have discovered that only 5% of total bids fit within this category.   One of the biggest reasons 3...Read post

  • Is Your Business Keeping Score? Fixing Turnover At Dealerships

    If you’re a fan of the National Basketball Association, then you’re probably like me when it comes to watching games. There’s nothing more I love seeing than someone dunking over another player or sinking a three-pointer in front of a defender’s face. Now that I think of it, it seems like I only enjoy plays that are demeaning to the defense, huh…but that’s neither here nor there. As the NBA kicks off it’s 2014-2015 season, there’s one thing I can tell you that I’m not looking forward to and that’s turnovers. Turning the ball over is ugly. It’s bad for the offense and nobody likes watching sloppy play (unless you're on defense, then turnovers are awesome). The same goes for companies everywhere: turnover is bad for business. While referring to turnover, the Wall Street Journal says, “experts estimate it costs upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement. And churn can damage morale among remaining employees.” Now if you’re like every other business out there, you know this is a serious problem, but how can you fix it? Is turnover even fixable? The quick answer—yes. Tips For Lowering Turnover Just like the game of basketball, keeping score is essential for your business. It’s vital to keep track of the candidates you’re interviewing, what their responses are to your questions and how their personalities fit within your company’s culture. One of the best ways to do this is by using an interview scorecard, but that’s only one step towards diminishingRead post

  • Using Data to Increase Service Revenue

    One of the most valuable assets you have at your dealership is your customer database. However, frequently dealers fail to effectively use this information to help achieve more specific marketing goals. While some may use their database to send marketing messages to existing and previous customers in an effort to sell another vehicle, or perhaps remind of a future service that is due, this is a very limited use. Sadly, many dealers fail to fully leverage this literal goldmine of information.   For example, using data segmentation to present products or services purchased by one set of customers to other customers with a similar profile. This is not a new idea, Amazon does this quite effectively. When a consumer visits many web pages, suggested products are prominently displayed that were purchased by other Amazon shoppers with similar buying or viewing habits.   Amazon’s suggestive marketing strategy is effectively playing the odds that, by leveraging a customer’s previous p...Read post