I have spoken in the past about the need for humanizing the automotive retail environment. To progress our business forward, you must put the DNA of your dealership under a microscope. How do I humanize a dealership, you ask? Social Media, Reputation Management or Reputation Marketing, and Branding are often seen as the latest trends that dealers have to be a part of to be competitive rather than the solutions to problems that exist in our dealerships. Humanizing a business requires much more introspection and preparation.
To humanize the business is to break down those walls that shoppers come to us with. We train our sales teams techniques in hopes of quickly finding common ground with the consumer to expedite the sales process and build trust. We try to show some personality through the décor, process, or talking points once a customer walks into the dealership. By creating a personality and illustrating who the dealership is online, you can start to bridge the gap and make yourself more approachable BEFORE they even step foot into your showroom!
The major attraction to Twitter is the easy access and approachability of celebrities and major companies. You can communicate and interact with them. Or you can simply have your concerns heard, not only by complete strangers, but by the companies/entities themselves. They often will support you with a comment or retweet of your experiences. Now, think about the companies you like the most and the ones that you don’t. Are they the ones most approachable? Do they not only market themselves well with a strong brand message, but have a good reputation as well? Chances are your favorite companies have a lot of these things going for them. So, why not create this same experience for car shoppers?
To humanize the dealership is allowing customers to look through the glass and get to know the people you have working inside. Let the customers see the DNA of the dealership. You control the microscope. Be the first understand to understand who you are and then share that same view with your customers.
Stop trying to show customers only what you WANT to be, but who you really ARE. Identify your strengths as a dealership and the things your customers like about you. Communicate with your sales team about things that resonate with the customers they are talking to. Then ask yourself… are you the quirky group, the serious group, the charitable one, or the funniest team? Your DNA makes up your dealership’s personality. Put it on display for the customer. Strategically design your messages based on what your demographics are. Is your dealership near a military base or near a park and ride stop? Moreover, do you employ those same people that match your demographic? Are you reaching those audiences to show them that you can make life easier for them? If you find your showroom attracting a certain ethnic community, are your sales teams bilingual or prepared to address their needs? Do your customers know that they can easily communicate with you?
Once you have identified the DNA of your dealership, you’ll know how to create a big-picture marketing strategy to influence your potential clients to the best of your abilities. Be transparent online. Share your dealership DNA. In car sales terms, let the customer look under the hood. Promote the genetic makeup of the salespeople within the dealership as that is likely the true personality of your dealership. You are not just the bricks in which the building is constructed. You are the people who bring it to life.