Do you know what the people who drive by your car dealership think of you? Do you have a reputation for being honest and open with your customers? Do they know they’re always going to get the best price you can give them and that you have a great service department to keep their vehicle maintained as long as they own it? Can they rest assured that you’ll give them the best trade-in deal possible for their old car?
If the answer to any of those questions was no, you have a problem, and you need to work on your customer service image. The sad fact is, even if you are completely open and honest, you don’t haggle over prices, you have a great service program, and you give great trade-in prices, you still probably have the opposite reputation. Why? Because you’re a car dealer.
Car dealerships are notorious for being a bunch of swindlers who are out to part hapless buyers from their money in exchange for a lemon. More and more, this is not the actual case, as dealers know that their customers have online access to list prices and competition prices and services available right on their phones. However, the reputation lingers.
You can actually use this to your advantage, though. How? Well, set yourself apart by creating ad campaigns about your honesty, how you won’t haggle, how everything is at list price, etc. Bring people into your dealership with the claim that you’re “not like the other guys.” Then be prepared to prove it.
If you have a car that looks like it’s priced higher than list, show your customers the differences that make it worth a little bit more. Does it have heated seats, a rearview camera, etc.? When you can point to the options that make one car worth more than another, you’ll be coming out ahead.
To sweeten the deal and put you even more in your customers’ good favor, offer additional service for the first year or two of the car’s life for no additional cost. Yes, your service techs will be doing maintenance for free, but every time your customer comes into the dealership, that’s an opportunity for him or her to spend more money with you. They’ll also be more likely to talk to their friends favorably about you when you hold up your end of the bargain. That’s right. You can really set yourself apart just by being honest and straightforward and doing good business. Showing that you’re not like other dealerships is a great way to use that bad reputation to your advantage.