Best PracticesDealership Marketing

Why Would Anyone Buy a Car From Your Dealership – Really?


[highlight color=”#fddcaf” font=”black”]We’re getting some conversation and sharing rolling this weekend with a post by Brian Pasch. He’s looking for the answer to what appears to be a simple question. But, is it?[/highlight]

Why Buy A New Vehicle From Your Dealership?

I love working with car dealers to create a comprehensive marketing road map that integrates traditional, digital, and social media marketing channels.

The more I work with dealers, I am finding that the dealers starting point to create a solid marketing plan begins with a simple question. This question seems to be difficult for most dealers and their staff to answer effectively.

The question is simple:
Why would anyone purchase their next vehicle form your dealership?

Create Your List in 3 Minutes – If you can

Before you read any further, take this quick test. Grab a piece of paper and give yourself three minutes to write down 3 or more reasons why a local consumer should buy a car from your dealership.

Do it right now and then let’s review what you wrote down; it’s not as easy as you might think within a three minute time frame.

If you are really interested in a test, call your sales team together for a quick huddle. Hand out paper and pens to everyone. Ask the sales team to write down five reasons why a consumer should buy a car from them in three minutes.

Let’s see what those responses look like. You will find that at least half of the team will not be able to provide anymore than 3 reasons in three minutes. Some will be tongue tied and others will get frustrated. I see this all the time when I ask this question.

Now that you have your responses, there are a few things that can be scratched off your list. Take a look to see if you provided any “white noise” responses from the list below.

Eliminate the white noise

The answers listed below are what I call “white noise” and they don’t differentiate your dealership from any local competitors:

  • We take great care of our customers!
  • We offer the best deals!
  • We treat our customers like family!
  • We have the largest inventory!
  • We have the lowest prices!
  • We are not like other car dealers!

If you included any of the white noise answers in your responses, cross them out. If you read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch TV you will see that these statements are used all the time from local dealers interchangeably.

So, without all the white noise, how many real points of differentiation were you able to provide in 3 minutes?

If you did provide more than 3 compelling reasons, you have probably taken some time recently to go through this exercise and already realized your marketing effectiveness had stalled. You needed a series of messages to cut through all the white noise. True?

Why is this exercise important?

Without a clear answer to this question you can’t have an effective marketing strategy. Without this list you cannot create a consistent marketing message. Every customer facing employee must know these points by heart to reinforce your dealers marketing message. All their actions should reinforce the “Why Buy From Us” message each day, especially during a phone call!

Share your reasons why…

If you took the time to go back and list 3 or more great reasons why consumers should buy from your dealership, take a moment and share them here in the DealerRefresh forums.

This is a more critical task than you might think. Imagine the power of getting a clear message that was supported in all that you do at the dealership.

Lets get startedclick here to share your reasons why anyone would purchase their next vehicle from your dealership.

[highlight color=”#fddcaf” font=”black”]Let’s all do ourselves a favor and participate in this quick test. Feel free to comment around this post/topic below in the comments BUT click here to SHARE YOUR REASONS over in the forum.[/highlight]

Brian is the founder and PCG Consulting Inc. Brian offers consulting services to assist car dealers develop the strategies, processes, and reporting n...
  • B
  • March 31, 2013
Your question is spot on, thank you. I, and others, call it the "value proposition" as in what is the "value proposition" a store offers the consumer? When I ask, and I do it frequently, rare is that a sales team member, manager, GM, or dealer can provide anything more than what you so appropriately call "white noise." "Great prices", "great service department", "great customer service" and other drivel is all most can muster in answer to the "value proposition" question. It is the result of poor, but cheap, training.

We know there are three reasons a consumer would consider paying more for a commodity (new vehicle).  First, if the sales team can show the prospect an “unrecognized problem”, they differentiate themselves from most dealers who rely on that age-old retail branding strategy that relies on their ad campaign screaming that “price sells cars”. Secondly, by offering up an “unanticipated solution”, the sales person sets his or herself apart from the order takers that dominate the retail automotive landscape. And finally, if the dealership sales team understands how to position themselves as a “broker of capabilities”, the prospect sees the dealership in an new and more complimentary light.  

We help a dealer’s sales team develop a value proposition based on those three value drivers, unrecognized problems, unanticipated solutions, and broker of capabilities. Every dealer (well, most) has a value proposition to offer the consumer, but few understand how to communicate it. And very few teach the sales team what value drivers are, much less how to communicate them.
I've asked several dealers this this same question over the years and did so just a few months ago during a marketing meeting at a dealer I work closely with. Needless to say the meeting turned into a very deep and though provoking session. 
What prompted the question was whether or not the dealer was ready to voyage into some "traditional" marketing - yeah, I know that sounds backwards but this dealer hadn't spent a dime on any traditional branding channels (TV, Radio, Local Print, Outside Events) in over 5 years. I'll add that over the last 3-4 years they've continued to increase sales year over year with only Online and Direct marketing.
My recommendation before doing so, was to find the dealers "Core Branding Message". I asked the GM and others attending the meeting - What would anyone purchase their next vehicle form your dealership? REALLY, why would someone buy a vehicle from you?
I received the same lame answers most dealers respond with, which I will share over in conversation posted in the forums per tour request. 
I like your recommendation on asking your sales and service staff the same question. It could be a real eye opener as your staff share their reasons, or there lack of. I have a few ideas to add to this and will do so once the conversation heads down that direction.
  • C
  • April 3, 2013
BigRichThis is such a great question and one I've been working on for the past few weeks. I recently read a book called "The Challenger Sale" (by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon), and it discussed this exact question in great detail. 
They preface everything by proving that it's no longer enough to just provide the basics anymore. They also wrote off the same "white noise" examples listed above and then demonstrated just how little the things we think are most important, like quality, a fair price, or outstanding customer service, are actually valued by customers while choosing who to buy from. If memory serves, only about 14% of what we perceive as having value, customers actually agree is important in making their final decision.
These things have simply become the new price of admission if we want to be considered at all , and in our customers minds, they are expected, not unique.
The book offered some good advice for coming up with ways to combat this and my Sales, Service and F&I departments, have been working together to come up with some good ideas we can implement.
We started looking for unique ways to add value to the ownership experience, instead of focusing on being the lowest possible price. Before long, we thought of a few unique things we could do, that would save customers time, save them money, are more convenient for them, and are not based on price.
So far, I've noticed this has helped re-frame the customers focus on what is really important to them, while giving them added peace of mind about doing business here. It also makes our offers harder to reproduce down the street, since it adds a certain layer of complexity and uniqueness.
Of course there are still the obsessive price shoppers out there, but those are the same people that are least likely to come back for service and have the greatest chance of trashing CSI/ISSI scores anyway since their perceived value is always so low.Back to work for now,  thanks again for the great topic. 
P.S. Jeff, you guys are awesome!