To the average business person, automotive dealerships probably all seem alike. All sell vehicles. All compete on price. All have been affected by the growth in online search and sourcing, right? Some might assume dealer marketing is fairly consistent across dealerships – but you know what they say about people who assume…
Nothing could be farther from the truth. After years of working with automotive dealers, I’ve learned there’s actually very little you can say about our dealership customer that is universally true.
My recent road trips to spend time on the front lines reminded me that we serve a wide variety of dealership types. Each has distinct characteristics that shape the role of marketing to drive vehicle sales. Here’s what I’ve seen.
- In some dealerships, there’s a low rate of sales team turn over. In others it’s a revolving door. The experience level of the sales team has a direct impact on how much and how well they use our products. Less experienced sales teams can be a huge opportunity for us. Many times it’s easier to shape new habits than to re-train more experienced sales pros that’ve already gotten set in their ways. Key Takeaway: We make the most of every opportunity by emphasizing the ways our system complements the way they like to work.
- Some dealerships have a true sales mentality; others don’t. It’s classic hunters vs. gatherers (stores with a lot of foot traffic (ups) vs. stores with none that have to bring people in and create demand). Key Takeaway: We keep both in mind and support both dealership models.
- Some stores have CRM’s and some stores don’t. Obviously, the presence of CRM system is a key factor, since many use a CRM system to nurture leads. Key Takeaway: We understand how they dovetail, and how Client Command® can augment their effectiveness.
- Stores vary greatly in how well they’re working their database. Most dealerships think they do a fine job, but performance data tells a far different story. Key Takeaway: Consistently remind customers to do their homework. Looking at dealership traffic and closed sales numbers tells the true story.
- Reputations vary. Some dealerships suffer from a tainted or lackluster market reputation. For others, it’s a strong selling point. Wherever a brand is today, Client Command® can certainly enhance it. Key Takeaway: Tag dealerships with a “maturity” label so we can provide the right support.
- Smaller dealerships use Client Command® differently from the big guys. Today’s start up dealership just might be tomorrow’s market monster. We keep both in mind as we move forward.
On top of all these differences, there are additional forces at play with every vehicle purchase. Then factor in all the other variables that affect a dealership, such as the local market economy, presence of web-sales departments, swings in consumer preferences for vehicle type (which can work for, or against a dealer specializing in a particular make), and the availability or lack of good options in the used car market. It’s easy to imagine dozens of different dealership profiles, and to understand how they all differ from one another.
Understanding all this can be mind-numbing. Luckily, Client Command® helps make it a bit clearer, with analytics that show at a glance what’s working and what’s not. That’s the kind of clear vision every marketing and sales director can appreciate.