Monday, April 03, 2006

Car Dealers...yikes!

I'll start by saying there ARE some great car dealers out there. I remember Rick Kehr, the GM of Press Kool Chevrolet in Okemos, MI. Rick is to this day, a stand up guy, an honest businessman and someone I'd recommend you to do business with. He also "gets it" when it comes to building your brand. I'll tell you how he did it in just a moment.

But first...

There are 4 men in red jumpsuits, kneeling in front of a row of cars & pointing at the camera. They say together in an odd little Car Dealer Kumbaya Chant "We'll see YOU in Victory Laaaaaannneeee!"

Then there's this guy:

"I'm out to sell 150 cars this month & I need your help" Right. I'm going to "help" you by buying a car? C'mon man. I buy a car for ME, not to "help" you.

One of my favorites...just because he's got a funny name: Bunky Gandy. Yep. Bunky Gandy comes on my TV and says that he's right next to the fire station. Here's the problem: Bunky's business is the "Auto Exchange", but he forgets to tell me that. Only by seeing the sign behind him in the camera shot do I ever find out what his company is NAMED.

These car dealers here in Charlotte are typical of a majority of car dealers around the country. They're so busy trying to outscream the guy down the street, that they've not even thought about why YOU should come in the door. IF you remember anything about these guys, it's the silly jumpsuits, the outrageous claims and the "cheese" that we've associated with car salesmen for all these years.

Hey, what about Rick Kehr, the guy I liked from all those years ago? Rick "got it" and built his brand. At the time, I was hosing a morning radio show and Rick did a live commercial with us each day at the same time. However, instead of yelling prices & rebates & monthly payments, we just talked about the news of the day, then we'd segue into ONE idea; one day it would be Mrs Williams' Impala in for service, the next it would be how they helped a newlywed couple buy their first new car...each day it was one story that made me feel comfortable with him. After giving the story of the day, it was wrapped by simply saying "'s a better way of doing things." See? Simple. And they sold a record number of cars. Without pushing price & item, without screaming like a ninny. Without wearing stupid red jumpsuits.

Rick told me "Why", then waited for "When." What are you telling your customers?


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