How to Establish Your Dealership’s Personal Message

How to Establish Your Dealership’s Personal Message

Show Me the message

Imagine sitting down with the perfect client. Not only are they long term owners of your brand,  but they’re perfectly aware of your vehicles, needing no explanation. They’ve come to your dealership having test-driven the vehicle a few times and they’re ready to buy.

Wait a second.

Are they so perfect? Where did they learn all of that information? Did they learn it all from the manufacturer? Or your competition?

Too often, a dealership takes the lazy route, relying solely on what others, and mainly their manufacturer, are saying about their vehicles. Unfortunately, this can lead to other issues. For instance, not that long ago, Nissan ran a campaign to “conquer all conditions.” They highlighted the all-wheel drive, the winter package, and everything else that would keep you on the road in the worst that mother nature could throw our way.

With that in mind, it’s time for an audit. Perhaps not an overhaul, but rather a test to determine whether or right you’re marketing is going in the right direction.

 

It was a great message, one that could have resonated with every single Canadian driver; if only it hadn’t been such a mild winter that there was no snow and you could almost wear a t-shirt outside.

The lesson is very simple; if you rely on the manufacturer’s messaging to achieve your monthly sales goals and objectives, you’re going to fail.

The clients that sit in front of you every day are being bombarded with messaging, whether it’s from different manufacturers, dealerships selling competing brands, or dealerships selling the same brand. In fact, Canada’s auto dealership market is very unique in that more often than not, you can probably find multiple dealerships selling the same brand in less than an hour’s drive. In some cities, that number could be as high as twelve or thirteen.

That means the couple sitting in front of you not only know the details of the car you’re explaining already, but they’re only sitting in front of you for a price comparison. That’s right, because your dealership doesn’t have its own message, you’ve gone from the top spot to the verification.

Disappointed?  You should be.

There is a solution however. It takes vision and some work, but it means the difference between being in control of the message and being a spectator.

Develop your own message

Find something you can generate some energy in the dealership about. When you have a team that’s passionate about the message, it can tip the scales. Make sure that message is relevant, however. By reviewing the message monthly, you can save yourself from the embarrassment of selling snow tires when there’s no snow.

Establish that message across all your channels

When a potential client is in the research or shopping portion of the sales funnel, they’re determining who they will go do business with and more importantly with whom they will establish a relationship. You need a consistent message across as many channels as possible to reinforce what you want them to see first. 85% of people who walk into a dealership visited your website before coming in.

Let that sink in.

Do you want them to be visiting your website or someone else’s? A multi-channel approach will invite your audience to your website earlier in their purchase journey and the earlier you get them in that journey, you have a better chance of selling more to them and doing it faster.

Bring it Home

Whether it’s other members of your team or the messaging in the dealership itself, you want that message consistent within the walls of your home as well. Too many dealerships come up with a great message, but then fail in the execution. They’ve got email, digital, radio, and newspaper, but then nothing in the dealership itself. Don’t just decorate with the manufacturer’s message, establish your dealership as a centre for advice with its own voice.

Make it Personal

If you don’t think creating your own unique monthly message is important, then not only are you wasting your time and money, but you’re actually pushing your potential clients on to the next dealer that is doing it right. Your personalized message is the first step to inviting your audience to become clients. The way to do that is to establish a relationship. You can’t build a relationship without actually speaking.

Speak up. Stand out. Invite those clients through your door.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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5 Things To Make You Memorable

5 Things To Make You Memorable

Last Impressions

It’s a simple fact that there are two important points to any experience; the first and the last

We’ve spoken already about the first impression you give a customer highlighting the fact that it’s important for the whole process to be customer centric. But, what are you doing when you leave the customer

Are you throwing the keys at them as you rush out the door?

Do you spend time showing them how to use the new gadgets built into the vehicle?

How about taking the time to install the car seats?

The last impression you leave a client with is arguably more important than the first, especially considering how well most comparable dealerships are doing the first. If done properly, the last impression will dictate how well the relationship lasts for the next 5 or 7 years.

Give and don’t take

Congratulations, you’ve sold a car. You’ve won. There’s no need to take anything else from the relationship. It’s time to give back. And give freely. Some dealerships opt to give free oil changes, while others give winter tires. What matters is that you give without the impression of looking for something in return.

Listen and wow

If you’ve done your job well, you’ve been listening to what the clients need through the whole purchase journey. Reach into that list of wants and fill them. It doesn’t have to be much, but show that you’ve been listening.

Don’t make it your last

Even though you’ve made the sale, a good sales team will always follow up after a few days and see if the client needs anything else. It’s a simple gesture that may solve any frustrations a client may have.

Make it positive

Never let the positivity slide. You may have your money, but this is the moment when a client gets that magical feeling. You don’t want to add any negativity or buyer’s remorse may set in. Make a show of the process and include the whole family so they can all enjoy the event. That could mean something as little as scheduling the pick up properly and making sure the paperwork was done well every time so you have nothing to hold you back when it comes time for them to pick up their vehicle.

Make them Feel important

Think of the last impression as the first impression for the rest of the life of the car. Roll out the red carpet and offer the keys in a jewellery box, regardless of the vehicle’s model. It’s a simple gesture that won’t cost you anything, but they’ll remember how you make them feel.

Make it Count

When it comes to the purchase journey, you want to wow a client at the right points so they have the most memorable experience. If you don’t have a process for this yet when it comes to the last impression then it’s time to start one. Put some thought into what you can do to keep your dealership top of mind for every client every time.

Your ultimate goal is to make your last impression a lasting impression, otherwise you’re just another piece of history. Make them remember you and want to come back.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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3 Ways to Know How To Align Message to Medium

3 Ways to Know How To Align Message to Medium

Know Your Platforms

We’ve spoken recently about how you need to treat each platform differently to maximize the reach of that platform. We do this because people have different perspectives on each platform or channel and use them all differently.

But how do you do that?

It’s a daunting task trying to figure out what each channel is all about, especially if you’ve never used them before. Here’s the thing though; it doesn’t matter whether you have an agency that you work with or one that does it for you, knowing what each channel can accomplish and how to speak to clients through those channels is paramount for the success of your marketing plan.

You train operations people

You wouldn’t just send out the new guy to sell a car if you didn’t know what he was capable of, would you?

NO, they represent you and your brand. You’d figure out his skills and knowledge long before that.

Your marketing channels are the same. You want to know what they are capable of. Google for instance is behavioural based. It sees what you have clicked on or searched for. Facebook, on the other hand, is very different. You don’t just have to use Facebook for retargeting of an audience that has watched or clicked on an ad. With its powerful algorithm, you have the opportunity for client acquisition. You can create lookalike audiences that mimic the one that physically comes to your dealership. You can then parse those audiences by demographics and use language that resonates.

3 ways to learn the potential of each platform

Research

There is a lot of information on the internet. You can do your own research to determine what each channel can do and the demographics that use them. This can apply to digital or non-digital platforms.


Take a course

Whether you go yourself or send a representative, there are a lot of people teaching marketing online or in person and much of that is for free. Take every chance you can to absorb that information.

Try it yourself

There’s nothing like learning by doing. When it comes to each of the platforms, try them out. Obviously some are going to be easier to work with than others, but start. Set up a social media account. Build a Facebook account. Create a Google account. And then play with them to see what they are able to achieve. Don’t worry about missteps. Your first account doesn’t have to be branded, or for that matter, visible to the community.

Knowledge is power

Knowing what each channel is capable of will hone your message so you can maximize the value of each platform. Your marketing will become more cohesive and you will start to understand them better so you can build a better rapport and offer services THEY want. By exploring all of these paths, you will begin to align your media with your message.

It is important to note that digital platforms are dynamic and constantly changing so you must continue to learn about them and the opportunities they present. Make sure you have someone in your dealership who is always keeping up with the trends and rules that each media platform establishes. If you’re not using your platforms to their full potential then you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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Aligning Your Marketing Message With Sales

Aligning Your Marketing Message With Sales

The Most Important People

Marketing campaigns are hard-fought. We get right into the trenches and fight for every last client. In fact, we all know to keep those clients at the centre as we create those campaigns. A customer-centric model is the only way to succeed, right? We only need to think about the clients.

Wrong.

As with everything new model of vehicle, there’s always more to it. Once you understand the first layer, everything becomes more complicated, more nuanced.

Yes, you need to keep the customer at the centre of your process, but there is someone else you need to keep in mind; the sales staff.

That’s right. We don’t actually make marketing campaigns for the sake of having pretty pictures. Our goal is to convert our audience to paying clients and we do that through the sales staff. If we don’t do our job properly, then sales can’t do theirs at all. And as much as we tell ourselves, the sales staff does the heavy lifting, especially if we don’t do a good job supporting them.

Aligning the marketing campaign with sales

Learn the sales language

It isn’t just the language, but the process we need to understand. When we grasp what the end is like, we can align the beginning so we can get there more efficiently. We will start using the proper language and evoke the right emotions with our campaigns.

Bring Sales into the marketing meeting

Too many hands in the pot can get confusing, but when you’re looking at initial marketing prospects, have a sales rep available to established goals and high-level concepts. Not only do they get buy-in for the process, but they’ll realize you’re spending one, or two, or ten thousand dollars a month on them.

Training

Once you’ve established your campaign, you need to show the sales staff what you’ve done. When the sales team knows what the clients know and what’s been promised, then they’ll have an idea where the clients come into the sales funnel.

 

Match the in-dealership marketing to the digital and conventional campaigns

The sales team doesn’t just need knowledge, but tools to convert your audience. The in-dealership marketing material will complement their efforts. Make sure you replace old brochures and posters so the audience doesn’t become confused with old messages.

An Epic Love Story

YUntil now, you’ve been creating your marketing campaigns as customer centric, but too often there is a missing element, your sales team. The person on the floor needs to deal with the customer so we need to support them as best we can. With that in mind, think of it less like taking your audience on a linear journey and more like an epic romantic journey. You want your audience and your sales staff to bond over their love for the vehicles you’re selling. You want to develop a relationship between the audience and the sales staff. Your campaigns need to be more three-dimensional, customer centric, salesperson-oriented and not a blanket approach.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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The 7 Important Elements of a Landing page

The 7 Important Elements of a Landing page

The 7 Important Elements of a Landing page

udience Specific landing pages

magine having the perfect marketing campaign, speaking to the perfect audience who is ready to buy your most expensive car. You’ve done your homework, say all the right things and now they stand in front of you with their wallet in hand.

You can see they’re already daydreaming about their new vehicle.

Then you open your mouth to speak and nothing comes out but a language you don’t understand. In an instant, dark clouds begin to close in the sky as you realize you have no way of communicating with the buyer. You want to ask them what they would like for the interior of their new vehicle, but what comes out may as well be ancient Sumerian.

.

That feeling of dread as your perfect client looks at you— first with confusion, then with anger— is exactly how your prospective audience feels when you don’t use an audience specific landing page.

That’s right— one size doesn’t fit all.

Not only do you risk confusing them, but you likely won’t see them again. The elements of a landing page are so important that when you get it wrong, you aren’t just speaking gibberish, but failing to build rapport. You run the risk of becoming that sleazy used car salesman that uses the same pitch on everyone as if you don’t know how else to secure a sale.

You’re inviting them to take their business elsewhere.

Essential Elements

The connection between the marketing campaign and landing page has to be linear. No single element can be missing from your landing page and each one must be established with your specific audience in mind.

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Headline

What catches your attention may not catch mine. That’s why when you segment your audience, you want your headline to zero in on the exact pain point for the audience you are delivering to the landing page. It could be driven by age or vocation, but what’s important is that you speak to them directly as though from inside their head so they are compelled to read on.

h

Compelling Content

Just like your headline, you need content that speaks to the reader, building rapport and urging them forward. When you have generic content, your missteps are visible and your language feels blocky, like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Media - video and imagery

You wouldn’t test drive a truck when you’re selling a luxury vehicle, would you? It’s no different on your landing page. You want appropriate and engaging media that gets your audience excited about what they’re buying.

Trust Indicators

Whether you use social proof like reviews or implicit ones like a privacy policy, trust is important. This is a major purchase and your buyers need to know you aren’t a sketchy company. Remember to use reviews by similar buyers for each landing page though. Just like your content, you need to align the review with what you are selling.

Z

Lead Capture Form

Ask too much and you will spook some buyers, ask too little and you won’t seem trustworthy. Your lead capture form needs to be direct and achieve one purpose, getting the contact information of the buyer. There is another dimension to this however; time. You need to be timely with your follow up, but not too fast to seem needy. It’s a delicate balance that will change depending on the audience viewing the landing page.

Strong Call to Action

It comes down to between two and five words, but if they aren’t perfect, it won’t matter. You need a call to action that is visually appealing and compelling to get that information.

WHY?

Because as much as you’ve enticed the viewer to land on your page, sussing out their contact information is not only an art, but a science. Simply put, no one wants to give out that information. It means you have power over them.

Reduce page clutter

This element comes in two forms. The first is the effective use of white space. Just like you take a deep breath before your sales pitch, you need white space to highlight the other elements.

The second part is not having an exit path. A landing page shouldn’t be conventionally tied to the rest of your website. Your audience comes for a specific reason. Never give an excuse to leave. The “more info” button is the call to action. If they aren’t ready, then they will navigate away and you will need to retarget them with your other marketing.

Look at the Analytics

Everyone does audience specific ads but we’ve realised that connecting them to audience specific landing pages is the what really generates successful conversions.

 

Not using a customized landing page is like selling a Model T in today’s economy. Black, black, and black, doesn’t quite cut it with the new buyer, nor does using the same language and creative content to establish rapport and eventually lead them through the purchase journey.

 

Take a look at your campaigns. Are you using an audience specific approach from start to finish for design and creative? Don’t be one of those dealerships that build it and assume it will run on its own. Review the analytics and understand the heat map so you can adjust the pages to resonate with each audience specifically.                                                                                                   

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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How to make your people better

How to make your people better

It All Starts with Training

We all know what a sleazy salesperson looks like by now. Even if they’re dressed nice, we still get an oily feeling when we speak to them. Words roll off their tongues like butter; but in the end, they’re still selling swamp water. When it comes to cars— whether used or not— we see the slimy tactics all too much.

The question we have to ask is if the pupil is this disgusting, how diabolical is the teacher?

Those selfish, egocentric salespeople have to learn it from somewhere. It didn’t just appear from out of nowhere one day. They had to work hard by honing the skills to manipulate and confuse. In fact, if you have one on your team, you better take a serious look at your training.

Whether you have a training program that slides those impressionable students down the evil scale— or worse, you don’t have a training program at all— everything lands at your feet. It’s time to review your program.

I’ve discussed at length about how a process needs to customer-centric. In today’s digital world, with educated buyers who may know more about the cars you’re selling than you do, you have to be customer-centric. It isn’t enough to just have the right cars. You have to have the right people. If you don’t put those customers first, the door is all too close.

So what elements do you need to get your people prepared?

Teach the basics

Every member of your team needs to understand what customer-centric means. You need to teach them so if you ask ten different people in your organization, you won’t get ten different answers— you’ll get only one.

Consistent Training

Once someone understands why you believe in a customer-centric model, then you can establish a unified training program that applies to everyone equally. It’s imperative that everyone be on board so the collective goal is to achieve the excellence you have defined.

Take ownership

Everyone needs to think about how their actions affect the customer experience, whether it’s the front line staff, or the janitor that forgot to wipe the grease off the chair last night. They may never interact directly with a client, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an effect on how that customer experiences the dealership. Make sure you teach them how their actions affect others.

Action

It isn’t just enough for your people to have empathy and understand how their actions will affect the clients. When you teach them how to act and empower them to do so, then you’ll see amazing results. Those empowered employees will come up with innovative ways to show they care— whether it’s thank-you cards from the service team or follow-up calls from the sales staff. Teach your people how to reach further so that the experience is always better. Then, make sure your employees understand how to get those things done. Don’t let them sit idle because they don’t know who or how to ask for permission.

Tongue in cheek or not, simply telling a salesperson not to be evil isn’t good enough. You need a consistent training program that puts the customer front and center, and teaches your employees how to think, not what to think. Though some will say it’s a badge of honour to have learned by a trial of fire, it isn’t. You need to know your people will make the right decisions every time and if you didn’t have a hand in crafting or molding those decision-making skills, how will you ever know?

 

Tongue in cheek or not, simply telling a salesperson not to be evil isn’t good enough.

You need a consistent training program that puts the customer front and center, and teaches your employees how to think, not what to think. Though some will say it’s a badge of honour to have learned by a trial of fire, it isn’t. You need to know your people will make the right decisions every time and if you didn’t have a hand in crafting or molding those decision-making skills, how will you ever know?

 

The next time someone enters your dealership spouting their ten or fifteen step success program, delve into what they’re saying. Don’t let them teach how to speak with a silver tongue. Run them out of the dealership with pitchforks until you can select a training program that keeps the customer at the center. The result is a strong increase to your ROI.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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