If there’s one thing that’s going to help you sell more cars, bicycles, trumpets, or widgets, it’s going to be your USP.
Let’s start by getting clear on what a USP is: in short, a USP is your unique selling proposition.
It’s something that your brand does differently or better than the competition.
What is a USP for a Car Dealer?
If you’re a franchise store, it needs to be what your store does differently; not what Ford or Chevrolet do differently. Why should people buy that F-150 from you and not the other Ford store that’s a similar distance from their house?
That USP should clearly separate you from your competition. It should take your commodity product and make it an exclusive one. Pretend you’re a gas station owner trying to explain how vital it is to buy gas from that store and not the other five in the same neighbourhood. Maybe you guarantee full-service fills in under 5 minutes, provide a free car freshener with every purchase, or dance the disco while they fill up their car - whatever it is that you do differently, don’t be afraid to shout it from the rooftops.
Everyone has a warranty, everyone has “great service and unbeatable prices” -- what do you do that’s truly unique and worth someone’s time to consider? Talk about that. Make it the star of the show across your website, personal pages, ad placements, and bumper stickers.
Brand Doesn’t Go Bad
That’s right. OEM promotions expire, sales end, flashy creative campaigns from your franchise don’t last forever. What would you do if there were no price discounts or “exclusive” offers to show your customers?
Your brand will carry you through both good times and bad if you take the time to develop that clear, branded USP. Brand doesn’t expire or go bad. Your brand is like your personal reputation (or personal brand) in the sense that it’s what people know about you and what they associate with you.
1. If you’re not advertising a truly valuable monetary offer, you should be advertising brand.
2. If you’re advertising a truly valuable monetary offer, you should still be advertising brand.
3. If you’re not advertising at all, you should be advertising brand.
4. If you’re sharing anything, let it be your brand.
5. If one part of this post sticks with you: let it be this one.
Mystery Shopping USPs & Real Life Examples of USPs in Action
Not that long ago, our team mystery called a Hyundai dealership. We said, “Hello! We’re interested in a specific SUV, and want to know why we should buy it from you instead of the Hyundai dealer in the other nearby city.” What did the sales rep say?
“Well, we will take care of you, you know, we really do offer service with a smile!”
Of course, we don’t doubt that they’ll deliver exactly what they promised. But the issue here is that every other dealership offers the same, or so they say. What else can you give me?
Give me your brand, tell me a story, and offer me an actual reason to choose your dealership: not uncomfortable slogans from the seventies.
Last fall, I was in the market to purchase an RV. We were looking at two similar units from two different dealers. What made me choose the one we purchased?
They offer two-hour, custom, live demonstrations of how to use your specific RV upon delivery. As two tiny people with no experience towing or setting up RVs, that was exactly what we needed! The RV we chose was actually $2,000 more than the other one, but we wanted that white-glove service and confidence. The USP sold us.
The only downfall? We had to go there to find that out. If we knew that from their website, we wouldn’t have even considered the other location.
Looking at the Full Picture
During one of our recent (and exclusive) Flex Office Hours calls, we spoke with Bob Lanham, Head of Automotive Retail at Facebook.
He didn’t share a quick-fix hack to make your Facebook ads sell 100s of extra cars each month. He shared the value of putting up to 70% of your paid media/ad dollars into brand campaigns!
Why? Because sharing your brand is impactful, sharing your brand brings customers closer to you, intrigues them, makes you memorable, helps accelerate the buying journey, helps foster increased LTCV (lifetime customer value), and helps you sell more cars!
Bob also shared some long-held Flex beliefs in that marketing is all-encompassing; your marketing efforts aren’t the in/out dollars from an ATM - they are the machine itself. That machine has tons of moving pieces (salespeople relationships, Facebook ads, Google Ads, email marketing, dealership reputation, return customers, community involvement, and many more!) that all play small, yet vital roles in the outcomes of your marketing efforts. Those efforts should be measured as a sum of the total parts: not in silos.
If the message that comes across through each of these channels is one with value that is worth remembering: customers will do just that.
And you’ll sell more cars.