Do your customers know what sets your dealership apart from the pack?
When your customers look out at the automotive retail landscape do they see a difference between your dealership and all others? If they don’t, then why would they buy from you? What makes you stand out from the rest?
If you’re not setting yourself apart from the competition, it’s time to start thinking about your USPs (Unique Selling Propositions). In other words, you need to make sure consumers see you as different, and offering more than your competition, and one of the ways to do so is by advertising your USPs.
Solid USPs are vital. Are people visiting your store because you happen to be a convenient option, or are they doing so because they actually want to do business with you? Strong USPs can make all the difference.
Defining your USP
If you’re not sure what your USPs are, the good news is that your USPs could likely be things your dealership is already doing that makes you different from other stores. You now simply need to identify those differences, or advantages, and then broadcast them to the public.
Look at the perspective through a consumer’s eyes. If you were the customer, what would make you want to buy from you, rather than from another dealer?
You can begin this analysis by looking at your own business, and then comparing yourself with the competition. Ask yourself: What value-add do we offer? Are there ways we make the sales and service process more efficient than other dealerships? Are we more friendly? Is our staff more experienced? Is our service department open later than that of other dealerships in the area? Do we offer a carwash with every service? Is our inventory larger or more diverse?
One of my favourite examples of a dealership effectively communicating a set of USPs is Walla Walla Valley Honda (www.wallawallavalleyhonda.com) and their “Principles of Awesomeness.”
In short, the Principles of Awesomeness are five separate USPs, including 24/7 availability, and non-commissioned sales staff. Each of these is communicated through video on their website, making the message clear, effective and engaging.
Get the message out
That brings us to our next point. Not only do you need strong and unique USPs, but you must also be able to communicate the differences and advantages effectively to your customers in the place they do all of their car buying research — online.
You can start by looking at your website. Make sure your USPs are front and centre on your website, and easily viewable by all visitors. List your USPs on your home page, and then link them to a landing page explaining each USP in detail, preferably with videos.
Next, look at the way you communicate via email. Why not emphasize who you are and what you stand for when communicating with your customers through email? You already have their attention, so it would make sense to tell them about your USPs.
In fact, creating a “Why Buy Here?” link in all email correspondence can engage both existing and prospective customers. Ideally, this link should take the consumer to a landing page with a video with a more thorough USP message.
Finally, consider taking advantage of online directories. Anywhere your dealership can appear organically is an opportunity to market your USPs. These should be embedded in all your online directories through properties like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Inside your store
Moving from online to in-store, your USPs should be proudly displayed for all to see on signage within your dealership. Be creative! Make sure the signage is visible and engaging at all customer entry points. The point is, once a potential customer steps into your dealership, you want to reassure them that your store is the one they want to do business with.
Even before they step inside your store, advertise your USPs through the phone system, every time they call. You can make recordings that play when a customer is on hold, or when they’re being transferred to a department. In fact, you can take the idea a step further and tailor the USP message to correspond with the particular department they’re asking to be transferred to.
And while we’re on the topic of departments, do your employees understand the USPs you’re trying to communicate, and are they helping you get that message out, regardless of the department they work in?
Make sure your staff knows and understands all your USPs and that they are communicating these with all customers. Once you have a potential customer making contact with your dealership, it is up to your staff to keep that relationship going by reinforcing your USPs.
In today’s ultra-competitive market, you can’t afford to be seen as part of the landscape. On the contrary, you want your store to stand out and be positioned differently, having an advantage over the rest. Defining your USPs, and then communicating them at all customer touchpoints, can put you head and shoulders
above the competition