Here’s the scenario: You have the greatest product or service in the world and customers will beat a path to your door with fistfuls of cash. All that could well come true — assuming you create and execute a strategy in which customers are made aware of what it is you are selling and they are educated as to why they need it.
Your Mom Loves It, but Would Anyone Else Buy It?
If the product or service truly is unique, you need to identify a potential market for it and then explain to them what it is, how it works and why it will make their life better. If it is superior to the competition, you need to explain how and why. Don’t try to simply tell the market what it wants; that will never end well.
The first step is to determine who your customer is, which requires answering a barrage of questions. Who might want your dealership’s vehicles and services? How big is the potential market? Can you sell enough to make a profit? Are consumers currently buying similar vehicles or services now? Are they happy with them? Are they readily available? How can service be improved? How does your dealership’s offerings compare in performance and price? Why is yours better? Ignoring even one of these questions could lead to vehicles that sit on the blacktop gathering holding costs.
There are few vehicles that appeal to all groups and ages, so zoom in on exactly whom you are targeting. This will impact marketing decisions. Don’t rely on slogans to create demand — if customers don’t perceive a need for your dealership’s vehicles or services, they won’t buy them. Millions of people love the Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl commercials, but only a fraction drink Bud.
There’s no doubt consumers make judgements well before stepping foot into a dealership based on its appearance and reviews, so make sure you are paying attention to how your dealership is perceived in the community.
Spread the Word
Advertising via print, digital and social media venues lets consumers know what your dealership offers. The question is: How much of each? That depends on your target market; persons between 30 and 60 years of age are more affluent than younger folks and, thus, more likely to buy most products. However, some vehicles and services might be perfect fit for a younger market who spend most of their time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another venue. This is where your homework comes in. Do the research to make sure you choose the right venue.
Test the Waters
When starting a new marketing campaign, seek the input of customers so that you can determine what works or doesn’t. Don’t disagree with them or try to change their mind; they buy it, so they are right. While you absolutely can create a demand or increase market awareness of your dealership, it requires respect for the consumer to do so. Hopefully you’ll only need to make minor revisions, but don’t be afraid to start all over. You are not done when the campaign is in full swing. Every so often make time to talk to customers. Monitor relevant online forums to see what folks are saying about your dealership. If all is working, leave it alone; if you need to make a tweak, touch it lightly; above all, listen to, respect and respond to your customers.