A typical problem in the automotive industry is that an ungodly amount of cash is thrown into the advertising and marketing arena, but with no measurable results. What good is your ad spend if it results in a silent telephone and an empty lot?

What does it take to get the phone to ring and the ups to show up? What does it take to sell the number of units your store SHOULD BE selling? What does it take to stop throwing your money away when it comes to advertising or marketing your dealership?

In today’s marketplace, there are five specific money-sucking pitfalls that plague many dealerships and their marketing. But if you know The Five Keys of Successful Automotive Marketing, you can make your dealership impervious to these blunders while generating more interest, more traffic and more profit with your advertising and marketing. In the next five posts, we’ll investigate these tips, so you can start implementing them in your business today.

Success Key #1: Understanding what “marketing” actually is.

Marketing is one of those terms that can be defined in a lot of different ways. Dictionary.com defines it simply as, “to offer for sale or to sell.” This definition is overly simplified because, in truth, marketing is a multi-step process that goes beyond simple offers and selling. Ultimately good marketing should lead to sales—YES. But a definition this simple is shortsighted.

Here is a good definition for marketing: The quickest path to selling prospects and clients who are properly positioned to be sold—without actually having to sell them.

That may sound confusing… to make it easier, let’s define the difference between sales and marketing.

Sales: What you do with a person once they are in front of you or on the telephone. A prospect needs to be given a sales presentation. It doesn’t matter whether you have them on the lot or on the phone; everything you and your salespeople do in front of a prospect is a presentation and should be treated as such and executed systematically and dynamically.

Marketing: What you do to get prospects and customers on the lot or on the phone.

In a sense, marketing is pre-selling and positioning. You want to set the stage for your presentation. You are the director of a mega-profit-producing production. You want to get people excited about what you are going to show and tell them. You want the public to have a certain perception about you and your dealership before they ever step foot on the lot or dial the phone. You want to be perceived in advance as a trusted advisor, a valuable resource, an asset—not an unwelcome, product-pushing pest.

Think of it this way: Your marketing is the music that sets the mood and the tone for your sales presentation and your dealership experience.

To get the most from your marketing budget, you must understand what the goal of marketing is—to create a system that will spark excitement for what you’re selling and set the stage for your sales presentation. Your marketing plan and sales process must fit together like two sides of the same coin. One should inform the other, but you can’t get by with only one piece. Use your marketing to get them in the door or on the phone. Then, work your sales process to convert them to sold.

Tune in next time for the second installment of The Five Key Of Successful Automotive Marketing.