Making Yours a “Destination Dealership”
If you look at and listen to most car dealerships’ ads, you’ll often notice a focus on selling specific vehicles, usually at a low advertised price. But in today’s world of online price transparency, it may take more than a low price to get customers in the door.
That’s why, instead of emphasizing price, some owners are striving to create a “destination dealership” by developing a customer-first culture. The idea is to shift the customer’s mindset from one of finding the lowest priced vehicle to one of finding the best vehicle for their needs at your store.
Customers might visit your dealership for any number of reasons. Maybe they saw one of your ads or found your website. Or perhaps they live nearby or someone referred them to you.
But once customers walk through your doors, your goal should be to provide such outstanding service that they’ll have no desire to visit another dealership, now or ever again. By doing so, you’ll not only increase your current sales, but you’ll also build loyalty. And that allegiance could result in repeat sales to the same customers for the rest of their lives.
Strategies that work
Here are a few strategies for making your store an irresistible destination:
Teach all of your employees basic customer service skills. Among other things, these skills should include answering customers’ questions truthfully and completely and treating all customers equally — with respect and without prequalification or judgment.
Cross-train employees on every aspect of the business. For example, your salespeople should understand how the service and F&I departments work so they can clearly explain their value to customers. And your greeters and administrative employees should understand the sales process so they can work with salespeople to help ensure customer satisfaction.
Make your store an inviting place to visit. Of course, your dealership should be kept neat, clean and tidy at all times. It also should be well lit and inviting so customers feel safe and welcome when they approach the door. Look, too, for opportunities to showcase your use of the latest technology and equipment.
Be actively involved in your community. This might include sponsoring area youth leagues, participating in school fundraising drives and volunteering to help area charities. Don’t be shy about promoting your community-involvement efforts so customers know what you’re up to.
Be “the one”
Of course, there’s a place for vehicle advertising and promotion in your marketing plan. But implementing strategies such as these can help position your store as the preferred dealership in the minds of your potential customers.