Be the YELLOW car
6/12/2012 3:26 PM
I was having a conversation with a friend, Jim White of Al Deeby Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM in Clarkston, while looking out the window at this totally BA yellow pinned-striped Dodge Charger. I mentioned how, at one time, I was thinking about buying a yellow car, but didn’t because I had heard that red and yellow cars are the most frequently stopped by police.
Not only did Jim debunk this myth for me, he put another spin on it I had never considered. When you own a yellow car, you become recognizable. Extremely recognizable. Pretty much everywhere you go, people know who you are.
He’s right. We have a family friend who drives a red PT Cruiser with flames. We’ve spotted that car, and subsequently that family, everywhere. The mall, the grocery store, the kids school… we’ve even seen it on the highway miles from where we both live, and always know it’s them.
You want your store to BE the yellow car. You want your store to be the one with the flames people can’t get out of their heads.
Here’s the bottom line.
1) Take some time and find out what it is that sets your store apart from not just other dealers, but from all the businesses in your community. Make sure to ask people from outside the store because they’re going to have a much different perspective than you. Is your store family run? Does it have a unique history? Location? Are you big into community service? Whatever it is, identify and apply. Find out what it is, promote it and intentionally use it to your advantage.
2) There is no beating good customer service. Period. It worked for Kmart in the 70s and 80s just as it’s worked for Amazon.com for the last two decades. Find out what the dealers around you do, and take it a step further. Look at your own process and think of ways to go deeper. Have a customer coming in for a test drive? How about having their car prepped and waiting for them when they get there? And when they get back? How about having a second option available to test drive as well. If you find that you’re still trying to sell cars today the way you did ten years ago, you might find you’re selling fewer cars – and it’s not the economy.
3) Good business starts with roots in the community. Impress those closest to you and they’ll become your local sales team. Get involved with local events, especially causes, and let them work for you. Find out what you can do for other local businesses and they’ll be sure to return the favor.
4) Create and embrace your social media presence as you would the local chamber of commerce or the Optimist Club. Act like the people there are movers and shakers who can make or break your business – because like it or not, realize it or not – they are. Use it to create your own local community and magnify the shelf life of your community service or promotional events. Remember, it’s not about broadcasting; it’s about listening and engaging. If you look at your Facebook page or Twitter account or your Blog (yes, you’d better have a blog) like just one more bulletin board, you’ll blend in like every other gray car on the road. Dealers typically get all the local news, so share it via your social streams. Find out what your customers are talking about, and engage them in the conversation. Let people know you care.
5) Be willing to “know what you don’t know” and ask for help. The marketing options have never been greater, and admittedly more confusing. Don’t just do what you’ve always done because you don’t know how to take the next step. Ask, there are plenty of resources that can help you.
Take a look at the most successful dealerships and see what they’re doing different. Using Facebook and Twitter it’s never been easier to listen in on other businesses to hear what’s working for them. It used to be easy to say the guy with the biggest budget is going to win. It’s just not true anymore. The ante to get in the game has never been lower. So put some color in your business.
Be the yellow car.
Special thanks to Kathi Kruse @kathikruse