Auto dealerships are in a unique position. Other than purchasing a home, buying a car is one of the most expensive and significant decisions an individual can make. As most dealers know, the process of creating a sale depends on the genuine connection the sales staff can make with potential customers. One of the best ways that some dealerships have strived to strengthen their connection to consumers is by immersing themselves in the community they serve. Since dealers are facilitating the purchase of one of the more pricier items in a community member’s life, it has come to be expected that they will connect with the community at large in some way. While this can turn into charity work, it can also evolve into partnering with local businesses for a mutually beneficial scenario. Here are four advantages to sharing a community network.

Market the Dealership Without Seeming Over-Promotional

In today’s world, consumers like to feel like companies they work with are authentic and genuine. If something seems too promotional or commercialized, then customers will look the other way. One of the best ways a dealership can market their products is by connecting it to another business’ offerings. Beaver Toyota in Metro Atlanta does an awesome job of this. A March blog post highlighted three locations the dealership recommended for a weekend bed and breakfast getaway. The blog ended with the company suggesting consumers escape for the weekend with a new or used Toyota. It excellently connects a recommendation to the company’s products.

Show the Dealership Truly Cares About Issues That Matter to the Community

Contrary to perception, charities and nonprofit organizations are also local businesses. Donating to them is a great way to show the dealership is committed to not only profiting from the community but pouring back into it. However, some creativity can go a long way in cementing the dealership as an active community participant. One good example of this is Camelback Toyota in Phoenix, Arizona. The dealership partnered with the local humane society for a raffle. Customers could purchase raffle tickets at the humane society’s website for a chance to win a car donated by the dealership with all proceeds going to the humane society. Not only is this a kind gesture, but it is a great marketing tool for Camelback.

Provides Incentives for the Creation of a Rewards Program

Creating a rewards program is an excellent strategy to keep customers coming back for routine service repairs like tire alignments, oil changes, and tune-ups. However, dealers can sweeten the pot by adding in incentives from local businesses. The Friendly Auto Group in Poughkeepsie, New York used this as an extra motivator to encourage customers to participate in the dealership’s My Friendly Rewards program. Customers can use coupons given by the auto group for various local restaurants and salons. As long as they present the My Friendly Rewards Program card with the coupon, then customers can reap the benefits.

Show Appreciation to the Community

Partnering with other businesses gives dealerships the opportunity to say, “Thank You.” A little recognition is not only a good thing to do, but it also paves the way for favorable reviews and possible referrals. Audi Honolulu had the right idea when they partnered with Yelp Hawaii for the launch party of the new A3 Sedan. The dealership invited elite yelpers to join in on the VIP festivities, and the whole night was catered by a local restaurant, who likely gained some new customers. This was an impressive way to get in the good graces of a group whose opinions matter to many, and show the dealership has no problem putting on a special night that involves members of the community.

The Wrap Up

Partnering with local businesses is an excellent way to expand the reach of the dealership, and connect the dealership’s brand to a beloved local business. It shows the dealership is not just there to sell cars but is also an active member of the community who is willing to donate or create incentives for those in the city. This adds to the authenticity and transparency consumers are now looking for in companies they buy from. So if dealers are wondering how to begin strengthening the connection with buyers, they should start by making some inroads with the local businesses who also serve them.

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