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.

Jason Harris


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Get inside Jason’s head with Twitter.



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