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There is very little special about your dealership. You believe that consumers feel the same way about you that you feel about yourself. Unfortunately, most dealerships look the same from the outside. And they look the same to the public with their offerings. You’re no different than the dealer down the street. yet one of you is a leader and the other is a follower. Why?
You make claims that people choose you because of your “customer service”, but you can’t explain how that is different than what the dealer down the street offers. Your nearest competitor has the same friendly salespeople as you. They too are “family owned and operated”. You both can acquire the same vehicles with identical features in the same amount of time. Even your dealerships’ value propositions are similar.
There has been much talk about brand. And when I say “brand”, I’m not speaking about the OEM. I’m speaking of your dealership brand. For years, you’ve been urged to create “Why Buys” about your store. You’ve pushed to garner reviews. You’ve been told to separate yourself and offer benefits to customers that others don’t. Alas, everyone has heard the same thing and now everyone is following suit.
Paul Potratz of Potratz Advertising Agency concurs, “When a business has no unique selling proposition, the only thing that separates them from their competitors is how loud they can yell. In other words, the amount of spend in their advertising budget. When a business develops a Unique Selling Proposition that is customer-focused and consistent, they can spend less in advertising. A customer-focused value proposition is one of the hardest things for a business since it often becomes “Me” focused. If your value proposition has anything to do with your business, how long you have been in business or how many awards you have won, it loses the value to the future client.”
Why Buys won’t separate you from your competitors. Value propositions won’t differentiate you from them either. Being family owned and operated doesn’t carry with it what we want to believe it does. All of these together don’t make you stand out in a crowd. Do you know what does? Advertising.
In the corresponding picture, you can see that there is little difference between these products. (Probably similar to how your local residents feel about their choices of auto dealers). They are named the same. They have reasonably similar sizes, shapes, and look. What’s inside is pretty much the same…sugary sweetness with lacquered on powdered frosting to be consumed with milk. Do you know what separates these two products? Advertising.
As an agent pushing toward the change of Internet marketing, it isn’t often we at DealerKnows Consulting proselytize about the importance of advertising, but it is insanely necessary. Everyone has a website. Everyone is buying leads. Everyone is marketing to consumers, trying to spark interest. However, so very few advertise their Why Buys, their value propositions, their people (think about that one for a second), and their involvement in the community and relevant topics. It’s not enough just to know who you are as a dealership, though few actually do. Check out Bill Playford's breakdown on how to create a Value Proposition. You need to tell, show, say and promote (read: advertise) who you are.
You don’t want to be the Fruit Hoops (the famously-redundant, knock off to Froot Loops). You don’t want to be the runner-up when it comes to awareness in your community. You need to make sure you’re advertising your dealership brand. Those advertising their brand the biggest have a tendency to be most memorable. And it must be advertised across all mediums, outlets, and resources. Otherwise, people will never taste how deliciously yummy your offerings may be. It’s time to stop talking about what it’s like to sit comfortably on a shelf and start talking about how to fly off the shelves.