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I used to be a huge wrestling fan when I was growing up. I backyard wrestled. My friend and I ordered every pay-per-view. I even had a short career as an amateur wrestler in my early 20's. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The bowtied gentleman seen in the picture above is, in fact, Justin Roberson (AKA Pretty Boy Rob AKA PBR). Yessiree, Boy Howdy, DOM has quite the eclectic staff.] However, it had been a long time since I actually watched and cared about wrestling. On a whim, I purchased Wrestlemania XXIX (the first PPV I had bought or watched in 12 years). I was excited. IT'S WRESTLEMANIA!!!! The biggest spectacle in all of sports entertainment. Even though I hadn't fully followed the year-long lead-up to the event, or the sport itself for years, I was excited.
Then I watched it.
Then I was disappointed.
Then I wanted my money back.
Then I never wanted to have anything to do with WWE ever again.
The first takeaway is ensuring that there is consistency. It had been years since I watched a WWE PPV event, which is similar to someone who may return to your dealership to buy another car. Obviously, some physical changes like a remodeled showroom or new location may have happened, but hopefully the pillars of your dealership haven't. For me, there were new wrestlers I wasn't familiar with, some I was familiar with. I expected change and adaptations ... but getting bombarded with Slim Jim commercials and musical performances was something I was not prepared for. This WWE was not the WWE I knew from years before.
If you built your brand on a core value, make sure that pervades everything your company does. Doing so will ensure that there is consistency at your dealership throughout the years of growth and personnel changes. For someone who had previously pleasant experiences with WWE, I now swore them off. Advertisements? Extended music performances? This was not the same company that I used to love. I didn't like it one bit.
Second, customer experience is key. We all know that. But, what can sometimes happen during (sales) "events" is that the onus is put on the offers to drive the sales. That may bring in the customers, but that doesn't ensure they have a good experience once they are there, which is just as important to the sale as having inventory or specials to begin with. I was already sold on Wrestlemania. I paid the $70. I was promised excitement and entertainment. However, what I ended up with was nothing close to that. That negatively affected my perception of the WWE brand.
Literally everything your company does affects customers' perception of you, from your website to your lot. The tiniest things can turn potential customers away. Spend time on your own website and ensure that those "Live Chat" pop-ups aren't intrusive and that your links work. How easy is it to search inventory? How long does it take to get someone on the phone? Maybe those tracking numbers are taking a long time to forward or your employees aren't answering the phone quick enough. You may only get one chance to impress a customer. Don't make it difficult for them to give you their patronage. The only way you'll know these things is to audit your system. DOM routinely secret shops our clients' dealerships to find inefficiencies and areas of improvement.
Don't rest on the laurels of your dealership's name. That only leads to stagnation. Make sure the customer is taken care of and treated right, or lose your competitive advantage. WWE allows Wrestlemania's reputation to do the selling for them, but it's ultimately the quality of the event itself that will keep fans coming back and happy. They failed on that front for me, and I can assure you I won't be making that mistake again.
Side Note: How is Undertaker still wrestling despite not being able to do anything but punch and fall down? Does he have a Lazarus Pit?