A key element of advertising is knowing what to emphasize to your potential customers. This means understanding your customers, their wants, needs, and fears. Of course buying a car is an enormous investment for most people and they want to know they’re buying from a reputable dealership and are protected from anything going wrong.
So how should you convey these ideas in your advertising? One great way is with surety bonds. Although all auto dealerships are required to be bonded, most don’t take advantage of the sense of security this can provide their customers. With customers and dealerships gaining a better understanding of just what is a surety bond and how exactly it works, all sides can benefit. So, how can you incorporate this information into your advertising? Find out below.
Why Your Customers Should Know You’re Bonded
Being bonded has an important meaning: it means a bonding company has taken a long, hard look at your auto-dealership and decided you’re reliable enough to be bonded by them. Being able to clear this hurdle with your outstanding credit score and business finances, and the level of trust this represents, is something which can speak volumes about your business to your customers. So why not tell them about it? Knowing you’re bonded and what this means is reassuring for anyone making a large purchase from your business.
But being bonded has additional benefits, on top of helping to boost your reputation. It means you’re providing insurance for your customers, so if they have a claim against you they can be assured that it will be paid in full. Of course, you’ll want to avoid triggering a claim, but it’s good for everyone to know that they don’t have to worry if things go wrong even accidentally.
Explaining Surety Bonds to Customers
The next question which naturally arises here is how to answer the all too common question, “what exactly is a surety bond?” Sadly, most Americans are simply not familiar with this important financial tool and how it affects them. So, it’s a good idea to begin with the basics: explain that a surety bond is a type of insurance for the consumer. This can be summed up as easily as: “We’re bonded, so you’re protected!” While the details can be complex, this essential idea is simple enough to be explained to any customer through a variety of mediums.
But beyond using simple explanations in advertising, when you’re on the showroom floor talking to potential customers, you need a different set of tactics. This is when you’ll have the time to more fully explain what a surety bond is and why it’s important for all customers.
The best way to explain this succinctly is to say that a surety bond is a promise to them, the buyers. This promise is for the successful delivery of, in your case, the vehicles promised in a contract, and if that promise is not met, then they are guaranteed compensation by the bonding company. Put simply, it’s a real guarantee, and not one of the empty ones we see too often in advertising.
How to Avoid Claims
Of course, coupled with the benefits of being bonded is your desire to prevent claims against your bond. You should start by not falling prey to the misconception that a surety bond is insurance for your business and will help you avoid paying for claims. Surety bonds are really designed as insurance for the general public to protect them against any fraudulent behavior by you, whether accidental or not.
Obviously, all of this should be avoided at all costs. But fortunately, avoiding triggering a claim isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. The most simple and obvious approach is to keep the promises made in your contracts. Keep in mind that if you do happen to trigger a claim, you could be facing big legal bills, losing your license, and harming your reputation.
But beyond this, you should try to work out any client issues prior to a claim being filed and always make sure everything is well documented. Context can help a lot, if it’s clear that, for example, the non-delivery of some vehicles was caused not by you but by the carrier responsible for delivering them; this can make a difference when the claim is filed.
So, to put it simply, make sure you fully understand the terms of any agreements made with customers, and try your best to resolve issues that arise before they get to the claims filing stage. At the same time you educate your customers about the bond and the advantages it gives them. When all of this is done right, everybody wins.
Of course, if you have any other questions about surety bonds or want to get bonded, check out JW Surety.
Do you mention your surety bond in your advertising? How has it affected your business? Let us know in the comments!
Eric Halsey is a historian by training and disposition who’s been interested in US small businesses since working at the House Committee on Small Business in 2006. Coming from a family with a history of working on industry policy, he has a particular interest in the Surety Bonding and Automotive Industries and Professional Certification; he loves sharing his knowledge of the industry for JW Surety Bonds.