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Why Would Anyone Purchase from Your Dealership?

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by Jeff Kershner, Mar 31, 2013.

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  1. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner
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    Brian (Pasch) recently published an article over on the blog that included a very simple but yet thought provoking question to the dealer community.

    Why should or would anyone purchase their next vehicle from your dealership?

    Brian is asking each of us to take 3 minutes and write down 3 or more reasons.

    Do it right now; it is not as easy as you might think within a three minute time frame.

    Grab some help! Call in your service and sales team for a quick huddle. Hand out paper and pens to everyone and ask them to write down five reasons why a consumer should buy a car from them in three minutes.

    Now that you have your responses, there are a few things that can be scratched off your list. Take a look to see if you provided any “white noise” responses from the list below.


    Eliminate White Noise

    The answers listed below are what we call “white noise” and they don’t differentiate your dealership from any of the other local competitors:


    • We take great care of our customers!
    • We offer the best deals!
    • We treat our customers like family!
    • We have the largest inventory!
    • We have the lowest prices!
    • We are not like other car dealers!

    If you included any of the white noise answers above, cross them out. Without all the white noise, how many real points of differentiation were you and your team able to provide in 3 minutes?

    Now that you have eliminated the bullshit reason, lets think about some reasons with true substance. Some reason why a customer would REALLY consider your dealership.

    Once you have these reason why - share them below!

    We want the DealerRefresh dealer community provide their feedback on the reasons and encourage a larger discussion on this topic.

    This is a more critical task than you might think. Imagine the power of getting a clear message that was supported in all that you do at the dealership.

    Let's get started - share your reasons below..
     
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    #1 Jeff Kershner, Mar 31, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
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  3. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner
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    Brian,

    I've asked several dealers this this same question over the years and did so just a few months ago during a marketing meeting at a dealer I work closely with. Needless to say the meeting turned into a very deep and though provoking session.

    What prompted the question was whether or not the dealer was ready to voyage into some "traditional" marketing - yeah, I know that sounds backwards but this dealer hadn't spent a dime on any traditional branding channels (TV, Radio, Local Print, Outside Events) in over 5 years. I'll add that over the last 3-4 years they've continued to increase sales year over year with only Online and Direct marketing.

    My recommendation before doing so, was to find the dealers "Core Branding Message". I asked the GM and others attending the meeting - What would anyone purchase their next vehicle form your dealership? REALLY, why would someone buy a vehicle from you?

    I received the same lame answers most dealers respond with:


    • We make great deals - Price
    • Our people - despite the fact the sales floor had tuned 5-6 times over the last 2 years
    • Family owned and operated
    • Our VIP Program (free LOFs)
    • Large Inventory

    I like your recommendation on asking your sales and service staff the same question. It could be a real eye opener as your staff share their reasons, or there lack of.

    I have a few ideas to add to this and will do so once the conversation heads down that direction...

    Who else has something to add?
     
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  4. ddavis

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    I question the ability to name any compelling reasons for a customer to buy from any organization that can't maintain a stable workforce.
     
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  5. csabatka1

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    This is part of our marketing strategy for 2013 - what separates us from everyone else.

    1. Negotiation-free sales process - we price below sold market value
    2. Non-commissioned sales advisors - they get paid same regardless if they sell a $500 or $50,000 vehicle.
    3. Anderson Advantage - with every vehicle purchase the buyer receives: 100 free car washes, collision deductible reimbursement (this has saved me personally $1000 so far), engine for life warranty on used, free rock chip repair.
    4. A portion of every sale goes to our 501c3 non-profit organization called Because People Matter (BPM). BPM makes donations to local charities and organizations, plus helps causes and efforts around the world.
     
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  6. yagoparamo

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    Brian's question is one of the greatest in the car industry: How can we make ourselves different than the other guys in a business where we all pretty much play with the same tools.

    If you can clearly answer this question for your dealer and even come with an action plan to implement new key differentiation factors you will have a very powerful tool.

    Years ago when I would sign a dealer on my photo service I would have to design a window label so I would ask things like: "What are the greatest 5 points about your dealer?" or "tell me what makes you different": The answers always come to be those described by Brian as white noise. I was actually surprised that almost every dealer gave me the very same points. We still print window labels for over 1,000 dealers with 400 of those labels being printed in my local office, I can challenge myself to print one label out of 10 random accounts and we will have a hard time seeing any difference.


    When you go over the list you must think about a product you may want to buy for yourself and ask if those answers are relevant. Imagine you want to purchase a new TV: does it matter that there is a dude in Japan names Matsuhiro Sony that owns the company (family owned and operated?), do you want to be part of his family (we treat our customers as family)?, does it matter that they have a lot of TVs in a warehouse (largest inventory)?.


    The questions and answers that matter are different. Some of them used to matter, like largest general inventory, when people drove and shopped for cars. Nowadays as people use the Internet they don’t care about the other 400 cars that you have but just about the one they found they like. Selection matters if you specialize in a type of vehicle (muscle, lifted, diesel, etc).


    The question is very simple “what makes you different” and if your answer can be used by any other dealer around you then it is not valid.

    The answer must be something like this:

    Largest inventory and selection of trucks in the North West. This dealer sells 400 trucks a month Northwest Motorsport - Trucks Trucks And More Trucks
    Diesel specialist for any needs on site: Diesel Trucks - Northwest Motorsport

    Most inventory with warranties Used Cars for Sale Seattle WA - Larson Automotive Group

    Largest inventory under 20K Lynnwood Seattle WA - Best Bet Auto
     
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  7. ryan.leslie

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    Two thoughts:

    1. As great as this exercise is it can't stop short at the dealer's USP (unique selling proposition), it really needs to drive down to the individuals that make up the team too. A "Top Down" directive with no "buy-in" from the front-line will likely fail.

    After doing what Brian has suggested, managers and owners should be asking their team "As a sales professional that represents our dealership, Why should or would anyone purchase their next vehicle from YOU?" Make sure their answers reflect your corporate answers.

    2. Unfortunately some enterprising sales professionals that read here work at dealerships that are still comfortable thinking their proximity to the consumer is what will win them deals. That is NOT a good reason to ignore this thread! Every sales professional can benefit from creating and living out their own USP, even if the dealership is slow to adopt this kind of thinking.

    Personal Branding is a big deal! After all, people buy from people, not from a business, right?
     
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  8. Erica Sietsma

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    Curse you Brian/Jeff with your thought provoking blog that came to me in my gmail and distracted me from getting work done!! But I couldn't help responding because I see this ALL the time. Heck - a lot of dealerships DON'T know what delineates them from their competition because nothing does. So then you have to start from scratch - what do you want your dealership's value prop or "Core Brand Message" to be? Then build it, test it and market it. It's ok if you haven't been that way since 1908! AutoNation is in a rebrand and they aren't hurting because of it (see spike when it was announced). Ok, maybe this was a bad example - haha - as I know they aren't this community's favorite group. :) But in these cases of dealership identity crisis, you can flip the question on its head and ask each person on your team and even people you know - "Why do you buy something from any business?"

    Next, ask your customers - "Why did you buy/service with us?" They may have reasons you never even thought of. I kid you not - I once got this answer from a service customer I was chatting with who actually brought her car to one of our dealerships that wasn't the closest to her house - "You guys have the best coffee and comfiest chairs." For me personally, the place I service my Prius (please hold jokes - it has a sunroof - it's kinda awesome...ok, fine, I haven't driven it in 2 years and just take it in for service...long story...but I really loved it when I bought it) has a kick-ass "work room" with little computer stations and spots for people with laptops and charging stations and they are set up like little cubies. So I can go there and just work while the Prius is getting her check up and if I have to take a call, I can step outside on the nice patio that's on the backside of building so gets no street noise. (Shout out to Butler Toyota in Indy - not sure if you read this!)

    Then, if you want to be a real superstar, call all of your lost sales and ask them why they bought elsewhere and/or what you could have done better? Sure, while it's a best practice to always do this, we have to be realistic - so even a short term push to do this for the last 60 days of lost sales is better than nothing.

    Then take out the feedback you feel resonates with you and is actually attainable based on your team, location, etc. So if "free returns at any time" keeps coming up, well that might not be realistic, BUT what about a 7 day satisfaction guarantee policy (if legal in your state)? If no negotiating keeps coming up - maybe look at moving to one-price?

    Finally, do your homework on your competition....do they have concise brand messaging that differentiates them? Could be fun to split this up between your team to do by assigning each person a different set of dealerships and then have a betting pool on what percentage will have no brand message and/or the "White noise" brand message.

    For me, I prefer having this research done in-person and/or over the phone with someone who can do follow-on questions so they don't just get stopped at "lowest price" and can probe to see what else is bouncing around in the person's head. I feel surveys may not be able to get you the level of information you are looking for - just my opinion.

    Also - it never hurts to then take the feedback and work with a brand consultant who can help you take it and make it something tangible that's attractive if you are struggling. I feel like sometimes we assume every dealership should have an ace marketer on staff that is a superstar with branding, copy, etc. In my experience - those people are few and far between in ANY small or big business. So, a pro in this space can be a good idea and worthwhile investment for crafting a message that separates you from your competition, especially in a tight market. Just get one that comes highly recommended and check references!! Don't just hire someone's "cousin" who is an "awesome brand strategist." Unless they really are - haha.

    (And as an FYI if someone replies to the thread I don't get notified bc I use FB login - I'm lazy like that. And yes, Jessica - I have your card...I need your help to figure this out - haha - but maybe it's a good thing so I can get work done!!)

    And now....back to work...where did that hour go?!
     
  9. Erica Sietsma

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    Ooof - sorry again for novel length reply! See this is what happens when I travel for months straight - I have pent up wordiness just waiting to be unleashed! :)
     
  10. yagoparamo

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    I agree with you 90% but I can't with the statement above.

    If you call people that didn't buy from you a large percentage will be causes beyond your control: Not the right trim, not the color combo I like once I saw it, etc, then of the ones that you can control there will be two categories: One you can control, the salesman was ugly (hire good looking people?), the coffee was cold (make fresh coffee?), etc and the majority of them--which they will lie to you each and every time--because they found another one just close enough (in their eyes) for $100 less.

    People leave for the most stupid reasons, the ones that tell you make no sense (the coffee, the ugly sales guy), and the ones they don;t tell you (so they give you another reason) left because the $100.
     
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  11. Erica Sietsma

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    Agreed on this - I more meant to take the meat out of the responses for those that have meat. I acknowledge a lot could be a) out of your control or b) ridiculous. However, if themes start to emerge and they are in your control, they are worth fixing and could be a differentiator (how is this not a word? Spellcheck is grabbing it - I don't care - I want it to be a word. It's a good word) if you can "one-up" what the competition is doing!
     

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