An Uncomfortable Marketing Secret

In a perfect world, everybody would love your advertising. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect. Most dealers design advertising campaigns that won’t put anybody off. And in doing so, they unintentionally create advertising that is ignored by almost everyone.

We are slaves to the numbers. Advertising should be all about the results! This year marks our 15th year writing car ads and helping dealers make their advertising more effective. And for 15 years our friends and family thought that the commercials we create are stupid. “Why would anybody ever respond to something like that?” But we’ve tried every approach and our “stupid” approach is the clear winner.

In order to attract prospects and customers, you have to remove your ego and think about what your prospects and customers want. You have to forget about your cars and your service and how great you think it all is. Instead, think about how you can make your prospect’s life better, solve their problems or make their life easier. Doing this will draw people closer to you. Don’t be afraid to have fun and stretch out of your comfort zone.

We believe that most dealers have a natural ability to communicate, market, and sell their dealerships in a way that makes them attract, pull, and gravitate customers. But the problem is they’ve just never “cultivated” that natural ability. Learning how to attract customers instead of chasing them is the only way to run and market a profitable dealership today.

And, believe it or not, a natural part of attracting customers is offending a percentage of people. You have to take a position, an edge, and stake your claim. If you try to be politically correct, your message will be sterile. The middle is the riskiest position to take.

So if some people aren’t turned off by your ads, they’re not working. An indicator of truly effective advertising (the right message that gets attention, with a lot of frequency) is that some people will hate it. The law of averages says that a certain percentage of people will reject it. Those are the breaks. But ask yourself what you’d prefer? To sell a heck of a lot of cars each month or to be selling just enough to get by—remaining under the radar and avoiding criticism? We think being different is worth the sacrifice. Remember—you are in business to make money selling cars, not to win a popularity contest.

Develop immunity to criticism right now. It’s easier said than done, because as human beings we naturally worry about what other people think. This worrying is rooted in fear—the fear of rejection that exists in all of us at a fundamental level. But, as a business leader, you must be fearless! It’s a job requirement.

Taking the risks necessary to motivate people to action will result in more traffic and ultimately in more profit. And remember–if your advertising is not being criticized, you’re not being noticed. And that would be the worst advertising sin you could make.

We’ll leave you with these sage words of wisdom from a personal mentor and get ready to advertise with gusto! You’ll be the better for it.

Small doses of advertising result in nothing, obviously. It’s like giving a sick person half the medicine he needs. It just causes more suffering. Give the whole dose, and the cure will be certain and decisive.

P.T. Barnum

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1406.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller


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