A typical problem in the automotive industry is that an ungodly amount
of cash is thrown into the advertising or marketing arena, with what
results? A silent telephone and an empty lot.
What does it take to get the phone to ring and the ups to show up?
What does it take to sell the number of units your store SHOULD BE
selling? What does it take to stop throwing your money away when it
comes to advertising or marketing your dealership?
In today's marketplace there are five specific plague-like
money-sucking pitfalls that infect many of you and your dealerships.
The rest of this article will shed light on these little-known
atrocities and show you how you can make your dealership impervious
while at the same time spike your advertising and marketing
effectiveness and see significantly increased profits.
Here are the Five Deadly Sins of Automotive Marketing.
Marketing Sin #1: Not understanding what marketing actually is.
Marketing is one of those terms defined in a lot of different ways.
Dictionary.com defines it simply as, to offer for sale or to sell.
This definition is misleading because marketing is a multi-step process
that ultimately should lead to sales. But defined that simply it does
not give us any information to learn from. Here is a good definition
for marketing: The quickest path to selling prospects and clients who
are properly positioned to be sold - without actually having to sell
That may sound confusing... to make it easier, let's define the difference between sales and marketing.
Sales: What you do with a person once they are in front of you or
on the telephone. A prospect or customer on the lot or on the phone
needs to be given a sales presentation. Everything you or your
salespeople do in front of a prospect is a presentation and should be
treated as such and executed systematically and dynamically.
Marketing: What you do to get prospects and customers on the lot or on the phone.
In a sense, marketing is pre-selling and positioning. You want to
set the stage for your presentation. You are the director of a
mega-profit-producing production. You want to get people excited about
what you are going to show, demonstrate and tell them. You want them to
have a certain perception about you and your dealership before they
ever step foot on the lot or call on the phone. You want to be
perceived in advance as a welcomed guest, a valuable resource, an asset
- not an unwelcome, product-pushing pest.
Marketing Sin #2: Not having an effective marketing system to sell your service.
Most people handle their marketing in a way we like to call spray
and pray. Just SPRAY it all out there and PRAY something happens as a
result. It's usually not very well thought out and is done with no real
rhyme or reason. It just is what it is. Separate pieces of a puzzle,
always changing, never measured and definitely not orchestrated into a
Your marketing should be like a musical score - written out in
advance, with movements and rests and harmonies exactly as they are to
be performed every time. The composer knows how the different parts
will affect the thoughts, emotions, and perceptions of the listeners
The music sets the mood and the tone and so should your marketing
set the mood and tone of your sales presentation and your dealership
Most dealers we meet are throwing spaghetti on the wall when it
comes to marketing and trying to find what sticks...then riding that
gimmick till it stops working. Then they throw more spaghetti in order
to find the next new gimmick.
This doesn't make your marketing job or your life very easy or fun
nor does it create a duplicable system that produces ongoing results
for you, making your dealership impervious to changes in market
conditions and ultimately recession-proof.
What you need to create a powerful and systematic marketing system
that pre-sells and pre-positions your dealership is all based on
response oriented direct marketing. Using direct marketing you can sell
yourself in advance and make the job of closing significantly easier.
Instead of just using your marketing to say, Here we are, we're
getting our name out there, here's how long we've been here and here's
our number in case you want to call us, you really want to use
education-based marketing strategies to get people to take immediate
action and then be persuaded to come to the conclusion on their own
terms that you are the only and best choice for them.
Notice we haven't said anything in here about vehicles. Selling
vehicles puts you in the commodity game and we will discuss that issue
in some of the later Sins.
You want to use strategies like making prospects call a 24-hour,
pre-recorded hotline message, visit an information-based, permission
gathering website or request/read an educational sales letter or
consumer awareness guide.
These are the type of marketing steps that educate, pre-sell and
position you as an expert in your field and in your market. This is the
kind of thing that can help you overcome traditional negative industry
stereotypes and give you an unfair advantage over all your competition.
Plus, there are many new methods of distributing your
education-based marketing material that cost very little and are
consumer-sexy, such as the Internet, email, blogs, RSS feeds and
How can you integrate some or all of these education-based direct
marketing strategies into a systematic marketing plan that gets proven
and consistent results? That's the question you need to be pondering
and creating answers to if you want crush the competition and
recession-proof your dealership.
About The Author
Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the nation's leading experts on
attracting customers and the co-authors of Gravitational Marketing: The
Science of Attracting Customers. Get important survival strategies and
tips for FREE by requesting their Automotive Emergency Survival
Marketing Toolkit For Used Car Dealers and Managers. To get your FREE
copy visit http://www.richdealers.com/articles.