Oldie but goodie – originally published in March of 2015.

Just dove past a billboard for a dealership where the basic message was one of car dealer self-loathing; it went something along the lines of “don’t like car dealers, neither do we.” While psychologically this might not be the healthiest way to approach your business, it is comical how often this happens across the country – the new ad agency comes in and their ‘original’ and brilliant idea is to juxtapose the fact that everyone “hates car dealers” with the marketing message that their client is “not like other car dealers.” The fly in the ointment is that the client is a…. car dealer.

The basic fact of buying a car is that it is not a simple task. It is expensive, it is complicated, there are almost too many choices and definitely too many things to sign, emotions can sometimes play too large a role, and there pretty much is no getting past the fact that negotiation is involved. It does not have to be ugly or confrontational, but the dealer and the customer have to work out the details of the transaction. Together.

As an industry we have done ourselves no favors. Stories of lousy buying experiences started somewhere, but the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the time dealers do a very good job and the customer is happy and satisfied and we don’t live up to the old stereotypes. Occasionally someone does a lousy job of communicating – and as we have said many times it usually is us – and then people go right back to the hackneyed stereotypes of us slimy/slick/shady/shifty car dealers.

There are great dealers out there. There are lousy ones. But on balance you’ll find that dealers only care about one thing, and it is having satisfied customers. Satisfied customers tell others about their experience. They don’t post scathing reviews – on Yelp usually – that have to be responded to. They get their car serviced at the dealership. And they come back when they need another car. A happy customer is way more satisfying – and much more effective in the long run – than any of the old games we are accused of playing.

Are we perfect? Nope. But we respect our industry and more importantly we respect those who choose to do business with us. Every day we strive to do well by our customers, and that is the best message that any dealer can be out there talking about.