Make Your Dealership Stand Out – Part 2


Part two of a two-part series

What differentiates your dealership from the dealership down the street? In part one of our two-part series we shared some relatively simple steps you can take to make your dealership stand out. Now, a few more ways to help you distinguish your dealership from the competition:

  • Help customers find your dealership online.

    Is it easy for customers to find your dealership online? There’s a simple way to find out. Look for yourself.

    Sy Simms was a clothier in New Jersey whose advertising slogan was, "An educated consumer is our best customer." The internet has created a more educated customer. It offers many proven ways to engage, attract, and retain customers like never before. Exploring ways customers find and select a dealership, and ways to enhance the probability that they’ll select yours, is a great place to start.

    Your website is your new storefront, and there’s a science behind website customer conversions. Using the right techniques, and crafting the right message, will help you capture more customers. Helping people find your dealership is crucial. Website “awareness ads” call attention to where your dealership is located by giving the viewer relevant call-to-actions like “Get Directions” or “Call Now.”

  • Publish customer testimonials on your website.

    Customer testimonials are recommendations and positive reviews from satisfied customers about your dealership. They’re a way of telling website visitors that your dealership has value and that your customers are happy. Testimonials can deliver a substantial boost in sales and service, turning customers into dealership ambassadors.

  • Focus on your "Why buy here."

    Why should a potential customer buy from you? Anyone shopping for a new or pre-owned unit knows they have many choices. Making a choice gets even tougher when it comes to choosing which dealership to buy from.

    Why is your dealership better than all the other powersports dealerships in the area? Do you know? Does your staff know? If not, how do you expect potential customers to know? If you do know, don’t keep it to yourself. Brag about your dealership. If you don’t brag, don’t expect others to do it for you.

  • Create your value proposition.

    Constructing your dealership’s unique value proposition is crucial to accomplishing your marketing goals. It’s not enough to say, "We sell brand X." While offering a highly desirable brand should be part of your value proposition, alone it’s not enough of a differentiator. However, if you offer an impressively large selection of new and pre-owned makes and models and sell them at discounted prices, that’s something to broadcast.

    Is your dealership conveniently located? Great! Do you offer any value-added packages, like free oil changes or complimentary service loaners? Awesome! What about your staff? Are they Chick-fil-A employee-level awesome or just average? When Mr. and Mrs. Customer enter your showroom, does it look nice and feel comfortable? Are the desks free of clutter? Is your staff professionally dressed, their faces beaming with friendly smiles? Do they enthusiastically greet visitors with a welcoming phrase like, "Welcome to ABC motors. I’m Tim, how can I help you today?"

    Little extras, including things you might take for granted, go a long way. Is your customer lounge clean and supplied with free coffee and snacks? Do you have Wi-Fi? Is there a children’s play area? Are your bathrooms clean, like sparkling clean? It matters.

    Often, as we begin to dive into what "sells" about a dealership, we uncover opportunities for operational improvements. If you’re not confident that you can describe your dealership as a friendly, welcoming, stress-free environment, customer service training might be in order. If you know that your sales process (if you have one) takes too long, consider some process and procedure changes.

  • Evaluate your dealership.

    Can a shopper fill out a credit application on your website? Can they get a trade appraisal? Better yet, will a salesperson deliver the unit to their home and allow them to complete the sale when it is convenient for them?

    Are your pre-owned units inspected and meticulously reconditioned to ensure quality and reliability? Does your dealership hold community outreach events, such as food drives for the homeless; child I.D. days; cookouts when the weather is warm; giveaways; contests; promotional events with music, food, and door prizes? Is your dealership a “destination”? These are all wonderful things to highlight in your “Why buy here” message.

    The possibilities are endless when you start brainstorming about how to move from “just another dealership” to “THE BEST PLACE TO BUY A VEHICLE.”

“For want of a customer, the sale was lost. For want of a sale, the salesperson was lost. For want of a salesperson, the dealership was lost. For want of a dealership, jobs were lost.”

About the Author(s)

Tim is a manager for Dealership Solutions and has been with the firm since 2020. Prior to joining HBK, he spent over 25 years in the automotive, powersports and RV industries at the OEM and dealership level. He has a history of success turning around underperforming dealerships, increasing sales volume and F&I income while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. Tim is experienced at training and motivating staff to enhance productivity as well as implementing strategies to increase revenue and profitability.

Tim attended Emory University and the University of Florida. He is a member of the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals (AFIP). He has been a featured speaker at NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association), RVDA (Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association) and the AIMExpo (powersports) and his success has been highlighted in Powersports Business Magazine.

Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.