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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Megan Barto

Megan Barto Finance Manager

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Who's Down The Street? How to Differentiate Yourself In A Busy World

Look around, who’s your biggest (local) competition. If you’re like most of us, you know who they are, you constantly see their sales numbers and wonder  how can you beat them this month? What do they have that you don’t? You have the same cars, right? You have the same (more or less) finance programs? You have the same style dealership? If these answers are “yes,” it’s time you do something to differentiate yourself from the dealership down the street.  When the OEM’s consistently make every dealership “look” the same, what does it take to stand out in a sea of non descript buildings (& colored cars for the most part.)?

 

Do you have a mission statement? Is that mission statement displayed in your dealership? What about in your “virtual dealership?” What’s your virtual dealership? Your website! How many visits does your website get a week or a month?

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I bet it’s more visitors than people who walk into your showroom. There’s really no need to advertise a lease special on a website. Sure, we all want to increase lease penetration, but is a banner on a website actually going to persuade customers to lease rather than purchase? Doubtful. What about a banner on your website that tells the story of Why your dealership is different. Maybe it’s your commitment to the community, maybe it’s your rewards program.

Your store also probably gets more internet leads than walk-in traffic, right? What about telling your customers about your commitment to community or rewards programs in your e-mails and voice mails to leads? Task your BDC (or Internet Manager/Director/Guru) in coming up with phone scripts and e-mail te

mplates that aren’t just ‘HEY I HAVE GREAT NEWS FOR YOU, CALL ME BACK!” or “HEY WE’LL GIVE YOU A GREAT DEAL WHEN YOU COME IN - WHEN CAN YOU COME IN?” In this day and age, those over-used phrases aren’t going to get customers to come in let alone call you back. Remember - people buy from people, and people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. About them. And about what’s important to them. People hear the same voice mails over & over & over & over & over & over and they get the same (or similar) e-mail templates over  & over & over & over & over. Do something to make yourself stand out!

Just remember - your dealership down the street could have the same commitment to community or rewards program, but if they don’t tell their virtual customers about these things their customers will never know.

Do you do anything now to help your customers and potential customers know you’re different? If so - what are they?

Jason Stum
Great stuff Megan! This is something that's been on the top of my mind for a while now. As you astutely pointed out we all have similar facilities, similar inventories, similar amenities. Heck we all even offer to give you the most for your trade (we're all tied for 1st!). So what does set your dealership apart? A little tip I learned was to take one of your unique selling propositions and add 'like everyone else' to the end of it. If the result is a true statement, then it's not a USP. For example: We have complimentary WiFi...like everyone else We are family owned...like everyone else We have been in business for 30 years...like everyone else While those statements may sound good to ownership & management, they really aren't unique.
Kinny Landrum
I enjoyed reading your article. I recently came off the sales floor full time, but providing "added value" will always be my responsibility. Providing that "added value" is why customers choose to invest their hard earned money in us as salespeople at xyz dealership. For example, if your value statement is "We Take Care of You", that must be articulated by the sales professional in their own words to the customers. By helping our customers understand what "We Take Care of You" means, we are differentiating ourselves from the dealership next door. In my experience, some sales professionals shortcut the process and I've been guilty of it as well. However, if we remain committed to articulating what that "added value" is, we possibly might earn more customers business. Thank you for allowing me to comment...
Gerry Wallace
Article is so on point. Auto Dealerships are one of the least respected businesses but one of the best corporate citizens and job providers in our communities.They should remind people of what they do. Mass merchandisers and Big Box stores typically pay less, take money out of the community and do not participate nearly as much in helping local organizations.
mark rask
Megan this is good stuff. I especially like the part about the mission statement
Megan Barto
Thanks everyone, I <3 the "like everyone else" tip Jason. It's really important in this day and age to set ourselves apart from the competition. Unlike a few years ago, people ARE willing to drive out of town if they don't find a reason to buy in their town.

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