Is Hard Sell Automotive Marketing Dead?

2008 is the make it or break it year for auto dealers. It’s your choice where you will be. You have to make the decision to take a leap of faith or duck your head in the sand and do nothing. Hide from the reality that you control your destiny. Which path will you take? The “Same is Lame Road” or the path less traveled.Is the Internet the solution?The Internet is a good tool, but that’s all it is – just another medium. It’s no different than the newspaper, radio or TV. You can’t dump your whole operation online. If you do, the consequences could be devastating.The internet has caused great change in the consumer. It has caused them to think different, act different and be educated differently. Today’s customer demands and responds to information-based, value-driven marketing rather than the traditional hard-sell auto advertising tactics we’re used to implementing. So is hard-selling over for good? For those of you who use hard sell marketing – just the thought will make you squirm in your seat but for those of you who have never experienced it – hold on tight.Hard-sell automotive advertising can’t be thrown out the door. It has evolved into a better, more effective, finely tuned machine. So what’s the big change all about? Education. Yes education. Today’s consumer is seeking more facts now than ever before. They want to be well-informed before their emotions kick in.Traditional automotive marketing was all about the dealership, the vehicles and the features. Consumers don’t care about those details. They want to know how you can help them with their situation. What solution can you bring to them? You need to take them by the hand and deliver yourself as the expert that can solve their problems.You must first define what their problem is and then lay out a well-planned solution. Is it financing they can’t obtain? Are they upside down on their current vehicle? What solutions can you offer? Your answers must be clear and easy to follow. You care about their challenges and want to help them. You are the obvious choice.The Challenge:The solution has to be delivered in an easy accessible manner without obligation or commitment. You must give the perception of value first. Today’s competitive market requires you to deliver the value upfront to gain the trust of the customer.”So where is the hard-sell in this”, you might ask.That’s where the evolution of the machine comes in. The hard sell sneaks up on the customer from out of the blue. They never see it coming because they have invited it in. That’s what education based marketing is all about.Cloak and dagger marketing is the kind of marketing that affects people emotionally but sneaks up on them logically. Buying decisions are based on emotion and backed up with logic. The internet has put a new spin on this rule. With the rise of the Internet, people are looking for logic first. Education based marketing gives them what they are looking for and they freely invite the emotional side in. That’s what closes the deal.Sound easy? Don’t be fooled. There are a lot of pitfalls that can lead you off your path.

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