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All posts in Automotive Dealership Support


What is your dealership doing to stand out from the crowd?…and it really is a crowded competitive market. As consumers decide on the car they want on-line; the next obvious decision is “Who am I going to buy from?’ This is where differentiation plays a vital role in clarifying what makes you the right choice. You can’t always categorize your demographic into male, female, 35-54, affluent, family, youth…the list goes on. You have to be all things to all people and if you can’t figure that out, you can be sure your competitors will be trying.

At the Big Picture Imaging Inc. www.gobpi.ca, in association with the Dealership Design Group, we start with the fundamentals. We want to get down to the core of what you, at the dealer principal level,  consider your approach to attracting and more importantly maintaining your customer base. We have heard the “We treat you like family” line so often now most people automatically filter that out as white noise. It’s time to get creative. Here are a couple of important things that could be your claim to fame.


You opened your first dealership in 1971. Do you know that is 44 years in business. Do not underestimate the value that presents to a customer about to part with a big chunk of their personal monthly revenue. If you got it flaunt it. We can help deliver images that reinforce the equity in that history.

 Community Activism

It’s harder to really play this card if you are one of many dealers in an urban area, but if you are the only dealer carrying a brand in a smaller town. This is important. It has to be real too. If you are going to shout from your rooftop that you care about your community; be genuine and receive the benefits that are incremental to the benefits of supporting your community. One dealer we know keeps track of the percentage of people who use their boardroom for community meetings, that come back as customers. It’s a double digit percentage. A graphic illustration on one of the walls in there that shows dealer involvement in the community speaks quite clearly about what matters to you, is them.

 Best value for the dollar; not cheapest

At the very beginning of the relationship stress value. Low price does not usually equate to best value. How do you give them MORE for their money. Is it professionals who give them a reason to buy, versus selling them the left over ice that the Eskimo didn’t need? The message of value is an important message to promote, but it has to be real. If everyone on staff doesn’t buy into the program, customers can spot a fake a kilometer away.

 Fair Dealings

A great way to do this is by having a testimonial wall. A percentage of your customers are what are called by Malcolm Gladwell, Marketing Mavens. If they are thrilled with your service they will tell the world for you. Recognize these people. Get a testimonial from them and place it on a wall that potential customers can’t help but notice. Are you taking potential customers on a tour of your facility? You should be and you should have a planned tour that reinforces why they will prefer coming back to you instead of that place where they can’t help but wonder if someone is taking advantage of their lack of knowledge.


Do your hours reflect what’s best for your customers or what is best from an operational standpoint? Do you offer shuttle services that make it easy for their vehicle to be serviced without them having to grit their teeth in agony while waiting…and waiting, Do you offer space where people can get work done while waiting. Do you use greeters to ensure every customer is acknowledged and accorded respect for them having chosen your building to have their automotive needs fulfilled.

If this is you; how can you communicate these issues so they can become a part of the equity in the brand that is YOUR dealership? We do it with the right communication images to reinforce the reality of what you offer. Not platitudes. Turn a blank wall into a communication medium to clearly let your customersAND reminds your staff every day, that the customer really is your priority. Not necessarily their wallets. Convince the customer that they really are the important issue and their wallets have a habit of being somewhere nearby.

When you first read that question, your first glance might precipitate a reaction of “Huh?”, but let’s start by considering what both environments have in common.

Both are places where people want to be educated towards making buying decisions. Another very important component of both is that it is where people come together to find people who can answer questions. Establishing productive relationships between people is the absolute fundamental function of both environments. Once this is clearly understood, the objective of establishing functional environments that facilitate those relationships should be what drives the tactical executions that support a communications strategy.

An effective trade show booth should stop a visitor first, so anyone manning the booth can establish a relationship with a capacity to support. An effective automotive dealership environment should do the same thing.


With the paradigm shift of consumers doing most of their automotive research on-line; the value of the environment they ultimately choose to do business becomes much more important. They already know what they want. They need to now choose and establish a personal relationship with a consultant they can trust. The graphic enhancements within the dealership support that critical issue. Bombarding a customer with sell, sell, sell is not conducive to making them want to buy, buy, buy.


Communicating the “value added” that a dealership offers is that point of differentiation that allows for why they should choose your dealership over a competitor, both alternative brands and same. Understanding what your fundamental principles are and illustrating them clearly, while not stealing the thunder of the product is a balancing act, that when successfully executed, puts the emphasis of allowing the personal relationship to grow.

This applies to any retail environment. Use interior signage with a softer approach of communicating lifestyle benefits your customers can relate to, so the ground troops have a more receptive audience who are open to reasons to buy. That’s what closes deals in a trade show booth, or on the showroom floor of an automotive dealership.

Who is BPI? Big Picture Imaging is led by  Brian Spiteri  www.gobpi.ca . Brian’s background in consumer packaging marketing, combined with action oriented sales management, drives ideas associated with finding that balance of motivating action with an effective aesthetic. BPI converts ideas into the concrete applications including production and installation. Contact me at: brian@gobpi.ca  BPI is also a partner in the Dealership Design Group where we partner with JMPort Design in creating effective automotive environments Dealership Design Group


The environment that your retail operation has to do more than just house your products. It needs to communicate to your customers a reason to patronize your store. Whether you are selling computers, sunglasses or automobiles; how your environment triggers emotions is very important to turning a browser into a buyer.

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Email: brian@gobpi.ca