2017 was the first year since the financial crisis that saw a decline in sales in the auto industry, coming in well below 2016’s record year. But slowing sales in the industry doesn’t have to be scary. You just need a clear plan for how you can remain profitable in slow times. In fact, you need to know how to grow when everyone else is slow.
The first part of your mission is crystal clear: in order to thrive during a downturn, you must sell to the emotions of your prospects—not to their logical brains. A decision logically made can be logically changed. But logic rarely defeats emotion.
Have you ever been in a heated argument with someone who was very passionate about the topic? Perhaps you were talking about a sports team, religion, abortion, the war, taxes or terrorism. Whenever you debate with someone who is emotionally involved and passionate about a topic, you can’t win. No matter how many facts and how much sheer logic you throw in the debate, logic can’t defeat emotion. This may have something to do with the fact that the energy of passion blocks out the ability for the conscious mind to receive, decode and absorb the logical argument. What good is a perfect argument if the other person doesn’t even hear it?
Likewise with consumer purchasing. When someone is worked up about buying one thing or another, it’s going to be very difficult to talk them out of it with reason. It’s like trying to convince your wife that she doesn’t need another pair of shoes…or trying to convince your husband that he doesn’t need to add the sports package to your cable subscription. Of course they don’t need it. But they WANT it, and they are going to get it.
But there’s an even greater mandate that we all need to follow in order to thrive during the tough times. And that is to find ways to make more money from every customer you do business with. You can withstand selling to fewer customers if you make more money from each one, but in order to make more money on every sale, you must deliver more value. Not to mention, working with fewer customers is more fun, relaxing and enjoyable.
How To Earn More From Every Customer
So how do you deliver more value without increasing your investment? You can build perceived value in many different ways; here are just a few ideas.
- Improve the packaging of your dealership, making it appear more appealing, inviting or desirable
- Create a more exclusive version of your dealership
- Enhance the way you are perceived personally by your customers by positioning yourself as an expert and trusted advisor
- Include helpful information with your existing product or service
- Bundle your product or service with other related items
- Increase the convenience factor of doing business with your dealership
- Target your product or service to a more specific audience
- Make doing business with you more fun or enjoyable
- Turn one time purchases into renewing purchases to save your customers time and energy
- Determine what makes you, your product, your service or your dealership unique and incorporate that into all you do so that it makes direct comparison nearly impossible
By delivering more value you can justify charging more. The more you charge, the more you make. Interestingly, customers who pay more in exchange for greater value are more likely to do business with you again and refer others. This word-of-mouth exchange will be critical in the times that lie ahead. And by focusing on the emotional benefits your customers will derive from your product or service rather than the logical reasons they should buy, you can shield yourself from the detrimental conditions that will afflict many around you.