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Brady Irvine

Brady Irvine Marketing Guy

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"Sales Stereotype to the Showroom Please..."

Do you consider yourself a stereotypical “left over from the 70’s greasy car salesman”?

You don’t do you?

Do you identify with that stereotype at all?

Probably not, although you may work with a guy...

If you have only recently started in the business, there is a chance that when you told your friends and family you were starting in the car business that they didn’t immediately picture this character and question (or tease) you about it...

Ok, so it’s only a very slim chance but still... can you blame them?  It’s a VERY powerful image that has been associated with our industry for longer than lots of us have been alive.  And although it’s taking a while, we are slowly recreating our image from “greasy car salesman” to “professional sales consultant.” 

(In fact I think it’s worth mentioning that when I did a search for “greasy used car salesman” on a stock photo website to find an image to go with this post, I got more results showing well dressed professional looking people than I did of what I was looking for.)

So what is my point?

Well, recently we discussed some ways to steer away from typical “car ads” and have our marketing stand out from the crowd.  Since we have gone to all of that trouble to steer ourselves away from that stereotype why would we dive right back into it with greasy advertising?  Today I’d like to discuss our marketing from the most important point of view there is.

Our customers’.

Think about it...  Do we write our ads to win awards?  To make our families proud of us? To get our name out there?

Maybe some of us do, but we sure shouldn’t.

 The ONLY reason we should be spending a penny on advertising is to convince a customer who needs (or wants) a car to come in to see us and give us a chance to help them get one.  (Or fix their car for a service ad...)  Either way the goal is to get them to come in and spend money.

So does that mean our new ad campaign is going to be “get down here we want your money?”  While it might be a refreshing concept, if we look at it through the eyes of our customer it doesn’t really fit what they are looking for. 

What are our customers looking for?

Super genius marketer Dean Jackson says a customer is like a mouse.  Their entire purpose in life is to: 1.Get Cheese and 2. Avoid Cats.

The “cheese” may be a little different to each customer in terms of what their hot buttons are for purchasing but it’s usually fairly similar, they want a good deal on a vehicle that is going to meet their needs.

The “cats” they are trying to avoid are us.  They don’t want to feel pressured, they don’t want to feel like they are being “sold”.  They don’t want to be asked to fill out a credit app (sorry a “customer statement”) before they have picked out a vehicle they would like to own, etc...

Wait a minute Brady, if our goal is to get their money, and their goal is to avoid people trying to get their money, what the hell are we supposed to do?

Good question. 

It’s important to note, they aren’t trying to avoid spending money.  They have a need and they understand they will need to use money to fill that need.  They are trying to avoid having their money “taken” from them.  The real question is: how can we advertise in a way that gives them what they are looking for without showing them our “whiskers” before they trust us? 

Could we offer some information (in a nonthreatening way) that would help them on the way to their goal?  Maybe a free report?  How about “The 7 most important questions to ask before you finance a new vehicle”? or “The 3 questions to ask so you never pay too much for your vehicle again...”?   Just offer something that will provide value without asking for anything in return.

This could even work with follow up after the purchase.  Do your customers always come back with the same questions about their vehicles?  (Here it’s always Bluetooth related)  Why not film a quick instructional video and send them a link after your first after sale phone call?  Do you think that would stimulate a perfect CSI?  How about a referral?

What do you think?  I know it’s not what we are used to, but do you think it could be effective?

Chris Costner
Great points Brady. Today it is even more important to to set the customer's experience above all others. Your ideas would be very effective for anyone putting in a little more effort to get out much more return. Thanks for posting this.
Russ Williams
Some "Greasy" car salesmen have thousands of happy customers. RussWilliams.net

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