In the automotive industry we usually connect the word disruption to some up-and-coming vendor program, product, or new technology. When really disruption comes from how these things introduce new habits, adjust how you communicate, and/or change your approach. You may not need new products, services, or technology to create a disruption in your market, all you may need is to reflect and change.
With technology having affected the way people consume and engage, becoming a force of positive disruption in your market is well within your grasp. Retail automotive has a never-before-seen opportunity to show with clarity how it has evolved to rise to the consumer challenge to “do better.” No longer is the showroom a place with fancy-suited strangers and cold metal, the most competitive dealerships are bringing the showroom, and their people, to their customers, creating more open and sustainable relationships. Social media has given us a spyglass into the lives of others, making people realize their own humanness is not so abnormal. Consumers are driven to engage with individuals and business they feel they know, trust, and relate to. Further reenforcing that people buy from people, and relationships matter.
The key to disruption is not missing the point of disruption. Stop doing what you have always done. Consumers are clear about their needs, how to meet their needs and expectations, are we listening? They do not necessarily need more technology; they need more communication with clarity. Your customers expect their in-dealership experience and online experience to be cohesive. They want a process that is mindful of the buyer, a business that is community-aware and, believe it or not, a long-term relationship with you.
Disruption is a mindset; it is when you genuinely care as much for the people you employ and the people you are selling to as you do your sales.
Disruption mindset starts with leadership, it is creating the culture for employees that mirrors the experience you want for your customers. It is building long term relationships with your customers by fostering long term tenure with your employees.
You’re thinking, all that’s great, how do I achieve disruption?
1. Does your employee culture reflect the experience you desire for your customers?
2. Do your customer’s in-dealership experiences and online experiences feel cohesive and transition smoothly? Does it feel like a singular purchase experience?
3. Do you have a social presence sharing outside of what you earn a profit from? Is it a place your customers return to after the sale?
4. Is your dealership website a virtual showroom only for vehicles, or is it also a meet and greet for your staff?
5. Are you actively listening to your customers' needs and expectations?
“But tackling some of those would be like opening a can of worms.” Open that can of worms, friend. Without conquering these things, none of the disruption you achieve in your market will be sustainable.
Combining her love for the car business, a passion for marketing, and over 20 years of experience in retail automotive, Aja has earned a reputation of success by helping clients build solid marketing foundations. Leading with a unique hands-on approach, and focusing on caring for the basics before spending, Aja has guided dealerships and ad agencies to strategies resulting in greater profit and customer retention with lowered expenses. Aja continues to consult on marketing, strategies, and creative solutions with customized service offerings. Teamed up with DealerApps, a leader in response capturing and tracking, Aja shares her expertise with agencies and dealerships alike.
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