I attended the Automotive News Marketing 360 conference here in Los Angeles yesterday. The keynote speaker was David Mead, who talked about “Start with Why.” You can look that up online for more details. Suffice to say I thought it was kind of touchy feeling at first. But as he talked I began to see that dealers need to think that way more and more.
What way? More broadly, thinking about why customers would want to buy one brand of car rather than another brand. All cars are pretty good these days, after all. How can one brand stand out? That is a question for manufacturers, of course, but it is also a question for dealers to ponder.
For a brand, it is important to decide on central message and “pepper everything with your meaning,” said Mead. For example, Jeff Conrad, SVP and head of the automotive division at American Honda Motor Co. talked about how Honda makes the “Power of Dreams” central to all its marketing.
There is also the question of why buy from one dealership versus another one. Indeed, the question of why buy from a dealership at all will become more and more relevant.
For dealers, that “why” involves offering exceptional customer service throughout the life of the ownership cycle so that customers will return to your dealership for parts and service and the next vehicle purchase.
There, said Mead, is where creating an “authentic, real relationship” is crucial. “That becomes more important as things become more homogenous,” he said.
So, on to this week’s issue. We talk a lot about the importance of having a good succession plan in place so your dealership can thrive. This week, our friends at Moss Adams discuss another plan you should have in place – a way to handle the tax on the sale of your dealership. Starting that planning as early as five years before a sale can help you to thrive after the sale.
Also this week, Chris Koenig of Bellavia Blatt & Crossett reminds us to play close attention to assumed liabilities in the APA. If you end up having to pay for the DMS contract long after the sale, that could produce some failure-to-thrive symptoms.
Of course, we also have Transaction News.