This is an excerpt of an article I read that I thought might be of interest to those of you who are active in the Retail Automobile business.
What Are You Are Really Selling?
The automotive industry tends to lag on nearly everything. Frankly, the entire business model is centered on selling commodities, hit-and-run customer relationships, and pushing low prices rather than solving problems.
Modern day automotive advertising is the equivalent of clubbing our customers and dragging them back to our cave. The scary reality is the more technology we get, the more we use it to surrender to our own extinction.
More power is only good when used for good. This business has a bad reputation due to these antiquated practices and marketing cars as commodities in our advertising and on the internet only cheapens our dealerships and reduces our profit margins, which reduces our ability to service our customers and really provides no value to the customers who have problems.
A revolution needs to take place. The new economy is here and itâ€™s not going to respond to the same old methods and merchant mentality weâ€™ve always used to market ourselves and service our customers. The new economy will not be so forgiving and dealers who donâ€™t embrace the new rules of marketing will be left behind and the dealers who embrace change will blaze a new trail that leaves everyone else in the dust. Itâ€™s already happening.
So whatâ€™s required of dealers in the new economy to prosper and thrive? A common sense approach that will actually allow you to spend less and get more from all the marketing and advertising you do in your dealership.
Somewhere along the way selling cars became less about desire and excitement and more about prices and features. Dealers and salespeople today act like theyâ€™re selling toasters, not cars.
As an industry weâ€™re selling on prices and features instead of selling people on the value our individual dealerships can provide above and beyond the actual piece of merchandise. Let’s face it. Everyone wants value for money. But when we sell on price and compete on low price we canâ€™t afford to deliver any true value, which leaves the customer unsatisfied.
Cars are very emotional purchases but weâ€™ve taken the emotion out of the business. Much of the value we can deliver as dealers is in the emotion of the sale and the excitement of the process and the sensation of ownership. But weâ€™ve completely robbed our customers of that value by reducing the transaction to the most basic existence (a widget for a price) and we do a bad job at that.
Your marketing and your dealershipâ€™s sales and service experience can be a huge factor in delivering more value for money and removing yourself from the commodity game and creating happier customers who become raving fans, come back for service and refer their friends and family.
Another way to deliver more value is to stop selling the cars and start selling solutions that help people get the cars they desire.
The number of Americans who want and need to upgrade their transportation, but have issues with their credit or trade is increasing in the new economy, not decreasing. Barking prices, showing cars, listing inventory, and yakking about selection wonâ€™t solve these people’s problems and it won’t make them the proud owner of a new (or newer) car. This type of message is irrelevant and annoying to these people, because you arenâ€™t addressing their needs or concerns. Ultimately, youâ€™re not providing any value and your prospects are tuning out.
Hereâ€™s the good news. Itâ€™s doesnâ€™t have to be this way. Just because itâ€™s how youâ€™ve â€œalways done itâ€ or the way â€œeveryone else does itâ€ doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s the only way. Believe it or not there are masses of people who make up the new â€œhigh quality customerâ€ â€“ and these people are easier to work with, are less price conscious, are more grateful for your professional service, and are more likely to come back and tell others.