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Quick Tip... Specials Not Discounts Equal Sales

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF UNIQUENESS: A Roadmap to Success in Retail Automotive.

Typically discounts often take center stage in the world of automotive retail but what if they didn’t have to? There exists an untapped reservoir of potential — the power of uniqueness, is to be special, not offering a sales special. While price reductions may attract one-time buyers, it's the distinctive qualities of a dealership that forge lasting connections, elevate brand loyalty, and, ultimately, drive sustained sales growth.

In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll delve into the myriad ways in which being special trumps the allure of discounts, transforming the retail automotive experience into a journey of unparalleled success.

I. The Essence of Uniqueness

1. Personalized Experiences

The journey begins with personalized experiences, surpassing the transactional nature of a sale. In an era where consumers seek not just a car but an experience, automotive retailers must tailor their approach to individual preferences. From the first online interaction to the final handshake, the dealership experience should be a bespoke affair, leaving an indelible mark on the customer's memory.

By investing in understanding and fulfilling the unique needs of each customer, dealerships can transform one-time buyers into loyal brand advocates.

Look to the luxury brands both in and out of the industry for guidance. How do they establish that allure of exclusivity and still prove a world class experience for all. In fact, all one must do is venture down to your local Chick-fil-A to recognize the difference of personalized service over any of the competitive QSR’s. It’s that experience that will have people returning while touting your charms.

2. Signature Services

Elevating a dealership's reputation involves offering services that go beyond the expected. Imagine providing customers with complimentary maintenance packages, VIP test drives, or concierge-style services. These signature offerings not only set the dealership apart but also create an emotional connection with customers. In an industry where trust is paramount, exclusive services become the cornerstone of a dealership's commitment to excellence.

Think about this… Currently 70% of customers do not return to their selling dealers for service. Combine this with the understanding that most dealers focus on the statement, sales sells the first, service sells the next. If this were to be true (it is) then the churn rate is unsustainable for survival. Knowing that dealers want to sell tires, what if you had a lifetime free alignments or tire rotations? Would the cost outweigh the capture of existing client over the acquisition of a new one?

3. Expertise Matters

Positioning the dealership as a trusted authority in the automotive realm is a strategic move that pays dividends. Customers appreciate knowledgeable staff who can guide them through the complexities of purchasing a vehicle. By showcasing the depth of expertise within the team, a dealership not only instills confidence but also positions itself as a go-to resource. Informed customers are more likely to make confident decisions, leading to increased sales and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

In layman’s terms we need to change the dynamic. We need to lose the mirror fogging test for competency of hire, stop thinking a tour of the dealership is onboarding and a video test is training. Customers are looking for professionalism, knowledge, and confidence. It’s our reputation that is being effected here and we need to recognize that. By designing a true process, one that is graduated and measured we can install that faith back to our teams and customers.

II. Building Lasting Relationships

1. Community Engagement

Beyond the showroom, a dealership's impact on the local community plays a pivotal role in brand perception. It’s not just sponsoring events but actually engaging in charitable activities, that fosters a sense of community contributing to a dealership's identity beyond a mere transaction hub. Dealers and team members with a strong community connection foster brand loyalty and generate positive word-of-mouth referrals, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate customer base.

Over the course of my career, I as well as my dealerships sponsored several events which created an incredible visibility for us however it was those events that I actually volunteered for that got the most recognition. Dollars mean a lot but when the community sees the effort and sweat from engagement it takes on a new perspective.

2. Transparency and Trust

Open communication and transparency are the bedrock of lasting relationships. Today's consumers are savvy and seek authenticity in their interactions. Being forthright about pricing, vehicle history, and other relevant information builds trust. Dealerships that prioritize transparency create an environment where customers feel secure, ultimately translating into repeat business and positive reviews.

If you want facts from this all you have to do is, ask Rene F Cejas about how iPacket has transformed the landscape and crossed the transparency barrier with its digital platform. Having this level of trust and transparency eliminates most obstacles in the purchase journey.

3. Customer Feedback Integration

Actively seeking and responding to customer feedback is not just a formality but a strategic imperative. Customer input is a valuable tool for continuous improvement. A dealership that listens, adapts, and evolves based on customer feedback positions itself as customer-centric. This ongoing dialogue with customers not only enhances the buying experience but also strengthens the dealership's reputation.

Further recognizing reputation management from media sources as paramount a dealer can quickly alleviate concerns of purchase by responding immediately to all reviews both positive and negative. Remembering that reviews and responses are not for the person who wrote them but for the next person to read.

III. Effective Communication Strategies

1. Content is King

In an age where information is abundant, the ability to tell a compelling story is a game-changer. Creating content that resonates with the target audience—whether through blog posts, videos, or social media updates—humanizes the dealership. By sharing the dealership's journey, values, and commitment to customers, a narrative unfolds that customers can connect with emotionally. This connection transcends the transaction, fostering brand loyalty and making the dealership a memorable choice.

Create a lifestyle, a brand. Why can’t a customer, advisor and dealership become one in a video. Envision a professionally shot testimonial video with customers, not one that makes them feel like actors but one that is authentic, adlibbed, and true to the nature of the dealership. This familiarity will reign true to heart and attract audiences both near and far.

2. Consistent Branding

Consistency is key in the competitive automotive retail landscape. From the physical showroom to the online presence, maintaining a cohesive brand image is crucial. Consistent branding builds trust and familiarity. When customers encounter a unified brand message across all touchpoints, it reinforces the dealership's identity and creates a lasting impression.

This leads into are you aware of what your team is posting on-line and is it consistent with your desired message. Having a social media policy and framework is vital to protecting this branding.

3. Highlighting USPs

Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) are the secret sauce that sets a dealership apart from the competition. Whether it's industry awards, exclusive partnerships, or innovative features, these USPs should be front and center in all marketing efforts. Effectively communicating what makes the dealership special enhances brand perception and influences the customer's decision-making process.

As this industry progresses there are so many opportunities in this segment. Think as far as you can out there and make it achievable. Cross-marketing is at its finest here. What matches closest to your brand and look to capitalize on it.

IV. Innovation in Operations

1. Tech Integration

Embracing technology is not just a modernization strategy but a pathway to efficiency and enhanced customer experience. From online purchasing options to virtual showrooms, technology can streamline operations and provide customers with a seamless buying journey. Dealerships at the forefront of tech integration not only stand out but also cater to the preferences of a tech-savvy

consumer base.

We must understand that digital retailing is not LEAD GENERATION. This

misnomer is what is destroying the consumer pathway to the dealership. How many times have you fully engaged in your own dealer’s digital tools as a customer from start to finish? Was it a pleasant experience? How quickly did you wish to leave? This is why most dealer sites have an 81% bounce rate. We are the worst in retail, and it doesn’t get better in-store.

It's time to change this. We need to really investigate technology as a POS service as all engagements have this capability. Understanding regardless of where the customer touches our digital footprint, they are in the buying cycle and forcing them into lead capture is not the pathway to conversion. All you must do is look at Toyota’s new digital mandates to understand the wants of the customers.

2. Environmentally Conscious Practices

Regardless of agreeing on EVs or not, the automotive industry is pivoting towards sustainability and dealerships can capitalize on environmentally conscious practices. From energy-efficient facilities to green vehicle options, showcasing a commitment to eco-friendly practices aligns with the values of an increasingly conscientious consumer base. Going green is not just a trend but a strategic move that resonates with a growing segment of the market.

3. Agile Adaptation

If we have learned anything in the last three years, the industry is a rapidly changing landscape, with adaptability being the prized asset. Whether responding to shifts in consumer behavior or embracing technological advancements, dealerships that are quick to implement positive changes position themselves as forward-thinking. This agile approach to adaptation ensures that the dealership remains relevant and resilient in the face of industry trends.

Never before has a downturn brought excessive profitability, now is the time to capitalize on this with new direction in all aspects of the operation. Look to technology, coaching, and process ideology changes for expansion.

Driving Success Through Uniqueness

Want to be dynamic in the world of automotive retail, be special… It isn't just an advantage; it's a necessity. It’s the road less traveled, marked by personalized experiences, signature services, and community engagement, that leads to lasting relationships and sustained success. Effective communication strategies, supported by consistent branding and the highlighting of USPs, will create a narrative that resonates with customers on a deeper level.

Innovation in operations, whether through tech integration or environmentally conscious practices, will propel a dealership into the future. The ability to adapt quickly to industry trends ensures that the dealership will remain at the forefront of an ever-evolving market. As automotive retailers navigate the complexities of the industry, the power of uniqueness emerges as the driving force behind success.

So, gear up, embrace your dealership's distinctiveness, and embark on a journey where the term special isn't just a sales strategy—it's the roadmap to unparalleled success in automotive retail.

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