If we penned a list of the most meaningless claims we can make about our dealerships, I suggest good service and value should top the list. Wait a minute, youre thinking, arent those the very things we want to give our customers? Answer: Yes. Problem: Every dealer in your market area makes the same claims whether they actually deliver on them or not! To make it worse, so does every car dealer, appliance dealer, lawn mower dealer, RV dealer. . . well, you get the idea. The bottom line is the customer simply blows off these claims as meaningless ad jargon.
Whats really needed in our industry is for some dealers to run ads that promise lousy service and poor value! Now that would differentiate dealers. And, theres no doubt we have dealers among us who live up to such claims. But since no one seems willing to run those ads, just claiming good service and value wont cut it.
Today, differentiating is the key to successful advertising and promotion. Think about this: Were always urging our salesmen to tell prospects about what makes our dealership different from the other guy in their sales presentations, but then we just mindlessly throw in the words service and value in our promotional materials.
A dealership can differentiate itself in many ways by the unique things it does or offers. For example, good service takes on real meaning when you advertise Our Service Department offers convenient drive-thru winterization service as does the Marine Center in Indianapolis. The customer pulls up, waits in the showroom with fresh coffee and TV while Service completes the job.
What about value, another word that has lost its impact.
First, creating new things is not the key to creating value. After all, value is not what we think it is. Only the customers decide the worth of something with their checkbooks. So, value, like service, must be differentiated and promoted. When every customer purchases a boat at Marine Connection in West Palm Beach he is given the cell phone numbers for both the operations manager and the general manager, and is encouraged to call any time they need assistance. Real value has been added for the customer.
The point is, if youre just claiming your dealership offers better service and value," but dont define how and why, youre trying to claim youre better. You really need to be showing that youre different. Be better because youre different!