Automotive Marketing That Works

by: Sharon LeBlanc
Consultant: Training and Research

The greatest writers of all time do it. Advertising agencies depend on it. The malls do it. Automotive dealerships can too! Appealing to a person’s 5 senses (see, hear, taste, smell, touch, which includes physical feelings) creates sensual responses that captures buyers, awes them, holds them, and provokes them into spending their money. Isn’t that what you want?

People drive to the Toronto Eaton Centre or Central Park just to see the breathtaking Christmas decorations. Stores spend fortunes for colourful visual displays to attract customers into their stores, and even more to keep them once they’re inside. Do you see smiling faces on the sales staff? Walk into Williams-Sonoma and smell the aroma emanating from breads conveniently being baked at their entrance. This is no accident. The Body Shop gets accolades because they’ll take merchandise right off top shelves and open bottles so you can smell the fragrances andfeel the supple, creamy textures of products on your skin. Like the background music you hear? It can either drive you out of the store or make you stay to listen to the next tune. Do you hearthe welcoming gestures of the sales staff? Taste? Would you care for a refreshment and a cookie while we close this sale? Sore feet? Just step from the hard-surfaced floors outside, and feelthe cushiony, soft carpets inside our store. How does the store make you feel? Appreciated? Intrigued? Comfortable?

We all know the gimmicks of selling homes. Display fresh flowers. Place fragrant, lavender cloths in air vents, burn a candle that smells like freshly baked, apple pie. Light a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace. Play soft music. Leave out a bowl of mints. And the list goes on. It’s the psychology of sales and marketing genius. It works. It’s tried and true. And it’s so easy.

Try making your automotive SHOWroom just that, much more than an area where cars are displayed and serviced. Decorate your showroom and on-site café with authentic automotive décor such as retro gas pumps, eclectic steering wheels, white-wall tires and funky rims, or classic brand signs from yesteryear. Is there ample room to sit comfortably while the customer makes a selection? Show informative automotive videos, play intriguing music that entices one to linger a little longer. Create a sensual delight!

Make your dealership a fun and sought-after destination, not another bland experience of having to shop for a new car. Expand your service, and offer conveniences to customers as they shop: get cash from a bank machine; pick up concert tickets; play a video game; feed and admire the tropical fish; shop for gifts in a boutique (automotive of course); get a manicure; use the provided Internet connection to pick up emails; or watch your favourite news program. Make your dealership a happening place.

Because so many potential buyers are now shopping on-line, offer what you can’t buy on the Internet: gas in your tank, an oil change, a car wash, a bowl of homemade soup, or cash in your pocket. Reach out to the community. Offer a free service to check out kids’ bikes for safety (advertise that). The kids will all come with their parents who, once there, just might check out the latest new car models. Offer a job fair in your showroom for potential dealership positions. Once there, give them coupons to entice their return. That’s clever marketing…..

So, Mr. Dealer, what marketing genius is there in your showroom? Minimal expense! Maximum results!

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