Authenticity. It’s a word that’s tossed around a lot, but what does it really mean for your brand, your consumers and your bottom line? As it turns out, quite a bit, actually. Consumers are adamant that the businesses they support convey a genuine sense of self, communicating their missions, as well as the ways their products and services fit into the lives of those in their target markets. Because car shoppers have so many choices, it’s essential your dealership let shoppers know exactly who you are, what you stand for and how you’ll work to give them a positive experience — every time they set foot in your showroom.
Authenticity is an especially important characteristic for younger Millennial and Gen Z consumers, as they base many of their purchasing decisions on whether they identify with specific brands. Get the most out of your sales and marketing talent and try some of the following to ensure you’re resonating with your audience and coming across as a truly authentic brand:
- Talk Like Your Customers — Don’t worry about using five-dollar words or flowery language; instead, use terms, language and jargon your customers can relate to. This goes for written communication, too. Instead of using confusing terms like “in progress,” let shoppers know if paperwork will be completed “in two days.” By being clear and avoiding confusion, you’ll automatically be more authentic.
- Be Original — It’s OK to stand apart from the crowd; after all, that’s one of the ways you’ll get noticed. Let customers know why your dealership is the real deal and let them know all the things you do differently. Think all service should come with a free car wash?Let everyone know. Do you offer Saturday Car-Care Clinics for local consumers? Shout it from the rooftops. However you stand out, make it known — it’s part of your brand personality.
- Tell Your Story — Is your dealership family-owned or have you built a brand-new business that caters to a growing city? Tell the story of how you came to be where you are. Good stories have a knack for capturing consumer attention and keeping them interested. They personalize your brand and give shoppers a reason to care about what you’re doing, selling and saying — so take your time and tell a story that’s compelling.
- Interact and Share — Today’s consumers are more connected than ever before, and many are eager to interact with brands. When you take the opportunity to participate in discussions, answer questions and share content, you’ll be engaging your audience and letting them know your dealership is invested in cultivating lasting relationships. Focus on thriving social platforms where you can establish your brand presence and connect regularly.
- Be Transparent — Whether it’s in-house or online, strive for open, honest communication with every shopper. Today’s consumers want to know that what they see online is what they’ll find on your lot, and they want to know pricing is accurate and up-to-date. When it comes to maintenance and service, customers are looking for upfront insights regarding what they need and what they’ll be paying for. The more you can educate and share, the more authentic you’ll be to your customers.
Great brands stand the test of time because they resonate with consumers, they’re honest, they’re bold and they have a story to tell. Your dealership is well on its way to being all these things when you set your sights on getting real with your customers. Authenticity is a big deal, especially now, in a market that’s full of competition. Other dealerships may sell the same makes and models as you, but they can’t replicate your brand identity. So get out there, build your brand, be authentic and conquer the market!
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