We’re often asked for “Crib Notes” on what we’ve learned about dealership marketing and attracting customers. Many dealers want a “short course” in how to attract, convert, leverage and retain the right kind of customers…and how to do it immediately on a shoe-string budget. Here are three of the most important principles we’ve learned about attracting customers in an easy to digest, down-n-dirty format.
Attracting customers is not a conventional process.
If you don’t understand how it works, you could spend your whole life doing the wrong things, hurting your reputation, getting poor results and wasting tons of money. The worst part is that most dealers could actually be successful at attracting customers and creating a steady stream of qualified prospects who seek them out without too much extra effort. But here’s the scary reality. Most never will. They’ll just walk through life thinking “Oh, well. I’ve just got to keep getting my name out there and posting my inventory online and maybe people will want what I got.” They will continue to make excuses and justifications for why a competitor always seems to have the lion’s share of the business while they are struggling just to eek out a so-called decent living. And the problem isn’t at all THEM, it’s that they just don’t “get it.” They don’t get how and why prospects become attracted to one particular dealership over another. They don’t realize that all the common, customary and ordinary things they’re doing are only making them less attractive and more of a commodity. This includes price and payment advertising, listing vehicle inventory on their websites and running the same-old, lame-old advertising messages that look and sound like all other car dealer advertising. Attraction isn’t a choice. It’s a force. And when done right, the prospect doesn’t make a choice between you and another dealership. They are gravitated, pulled to you as if by a powerful, natural force.
Prospects want solutions to their problems.
Who doesn’t, right? But this is one area that is sorely missed by most dealers when they try to market themselves. Most dealers believe that people care about or know about their store. Most dealers believe that customers care about their people or how long they’ve been in business. They don’t. Especially before they’ve come in. Your prospects expect good service, expect to be treated well and expect you to know what you’re doing. In order to effectively attract prospects and customers, you have to remove your ego and stop thinking that a prospect cares about you. Instead, you must start caring about what your potential customers want. This reminds us of a very powerful quote from Zig Ziglar. He said, “You can get anything in the world you want if you only help enough other people get what they want.” He is right on. You have to forget about your cars and your service and how great you think it all is. Instead think about how you can make your prospect’s life better, solve their problems or make their life easier. Doing this will draw people closer to you.
Good decisions are in high demand.
Everyone wants to make good decisions in their lives. The problem is good decision-making requires searching, information, comparison and analysis. And doing all that can be frustrating, time-consuming and costly. Oh, and the Internet doesn’t make things easier, it just complicates things even more. Too much information paralyzes people even faster. This is one of the major reasons customer attraction is possible. Because people need help and want help streamlining the decision-making process. They are looking for a shortcut and are willing to pay for it. When you advertise traditionally you just make the process of choosing more complicated because you just make yourself more generic not different. By providing information, being an expert resource and creating a buying preference you can help customers make the good decisions they are seeking and help them do it in record time. They feel good about it, and you’ve got a customer that’s eternally grateful. You helped them get what they wanted quickly and you helped them feel good about the decision. That is attraction in action. We believe that most dealers have the NATURAL ability to communicate, market and differentiate their dealerships in a way that makes them attract, pull and gravitate prospects and customers but the problem is they’ve just never “cultivated” that natural ability. Instead pop culture, parents, politicians, past experiences, traditional education and all kinds of other things have hidden and stunted the development of this talent. Learning how to attract customers instead of chasing and confusing them is the only way we know to run and market a successful dealership today. And there are many benefits given to those who tap into their natural ability to do this. For instance your business and life become ESP—Enjoyable, Simple and Prosperous®. What more can you ask for?