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Today’s customers are fickle creatures -- one misstep and they never return. So, how is a dealership supposed to identify true customer loyalty if it can’t simply be judged by repeat business?
According to an article in Inc., the Disney Institute’s opinion is that businesses today need much more than a simple repeat customer. What they need is a brand promise. This is similar to a unique selling proposition, just more comprehensive. Disney states that a brand promise is “a succinct statement of the tangible and intangible benefits provided by the ideal brand experience… in other words, a brand promise is a statement of how you want the customer to feel when they interact with your product or service.” The company further states that there are four main things customers want from a brand promise: They want to feel important, the promise must be credible (i.e. the customer must believe the promise is possible), it should be exclusive and it should be differentiating.
Customers are constantly bombarded with generic overly broad marketing messages. When every marketer yells the same thing, the message gets tuned out. Wal-Mart advertises low prices. What makes one Wal-Mart any different from the next? Nothing. Consumers will simply go to the one that’s the closest, or most convenient. Car dealerships that promise the same things are in danger of potentially losing a customer simply because they are all perceived as the same.
Auto dealerships today use all sorts of unique selling propositions in their marketing efforts. Free car washes or oil changes for life, guaranteed low prices and great customer experiences, to name a few. If you really look at your unique selling proposition, how different is it compared to the dealership across the street, or your nearest competitor? Almost every dealership will claim they’ll beat a competitor’s price apples to apples. Many have perks for buying at their dealership. According to Disney, these broad selling propositions just don’t cut it. Successful dealership marketers tend to understand that each person has their own individual “hot” button. Some consumers are price shoppers. Some look for great experiences -- which could mean anything from transaction time, to customer service, to ease of buying experience, to amount of inventory, to convenience in service.
In order to emotionally connect with your customer and create a brand loyalist, rather than simply a repeat customer, you must find your niche and stop trying to be everything to everybody. Research what your competition is offering, what their message is, and make sure you have something else.