How to Create a Truly Unique Selling Experience at Your Dealership – Paul Potratz, Dealership Branding Expert


Every dealer knows that in order to disrupt your competition and stand out in the market, you have to be unique. Here to tell us how your dealership can create a truly unique approach to selling is expert branding strategist Paul Potratz, owner of Potratz Partners Advertising.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Paul Potratz, welcome to another edition of CBT News. It’s been a while since we’ve seen you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule.

Paul Potratz: Thank you I appreciate it, it’s always a pleasure.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So let’s kinda dive in here and talk to us about the uniqueness of what businesses have to have in order to win today’s customer. What does it mean to be unique in your business and is it the same thing as a unique selling proposition?

Paul Potratz: Well unique selling proposition is just one part of really being unique, ’cause a proposition is like one word, and the way I always tried it when I’m doing consulting with clients. I always say, “What else is there? What type of buzz do you have?” And one of the terms that I use is are you remarkable? And they automatically think, well yeah, I’m great, and I’m like, no, no, no. What I mean is by re and then marketable in the way of marketing. Can somebody talk about you?

Paul Potratz: If I’m a do business with you, are they just gonna say, “Oh I got a great deal.” So then you’re not really being unique and I think it’s a unique perspective if we talk about a company like Carvana. Carvana definitely came out. They’re doing something that’s been … Actually selling a product that everybody has, cars. A product that we’ve been doing the same way, the same sales process for well into a 100 years probably. They put a completely new twist on it which allowed them to get free press. Get people talking about it at home, people talking about it in the office, because it’s completely different.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Can a business that has a lot of competition in the market, really be unique. For an example, can a Ford dealer really be unique?

Paul Potratz: Oh yeah definitely. In fact really if I was a Ford dealer, the question I would be asking myself is, how do I become unique because I really have to be unique because there’s so much competition. And if you go to one Ford dealer’s website and another Ford dealer’s website and after you go to 20 different Ford dealer’s websites, there’s nothing unique, there’s nothing memorable so as a consumer, the only thing that becomes memorable is who has the lowest price, which means loss of profits.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s exactly right. What are some other examples of businesses that position themselves with a unique approach?

Paul Potratz: You know there’s a story, I don’t know if you read the book about Steve Jobs, but remember when-

Jim Fitzpatrick: I didn’t.

Paul Potratz: Okay so when Steve Jobs with the iPhone, well actually the Apple products. They ran an ad and the ad that they ran in the newspaper was showed all of the product and the features of the product. It really talked about the product a lot. It was major flop. So then he came back out, that was after Pixar when he came back and he ran the ad and it was the product and it had two words. Any idea what those two words were?

Jim Fitzpatrick: No.

Paul Potratz: Think differently. So that’s what he did. So what he did is he made the consumer the winner. He made the consumer … It’s really cool that hey I think different. I have an Apple product. I’m not using a Star Tech phone or whatever it might be. So that would be a good example. Another example would be for example, T Mobile. T Mobile came out, and they said no more contracts. They got rid of the contracts when companies like Verizon are all about contracts. Progressive, another company. I mean, all of these companies have a tremendous amount of competition. Progressive came out and said, “Hey, we’re gonna tell you the prices of all the other different insurance companies and then you can pick the insurance company.”

But to bring it local, I’ll give you a guy that’s in Easley, South Carolina and it’s Toyota of Easley, Ryan Norris. So he decided he had to cancel his traditional advertising, and he said, “But I need something that would build my brand. I need something that’s unique,” and that’s what came. It was the Ask Ryan Series. So to kinda think about a car dealer that has a weekly Vlog, and he’s not talking about buy a car, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. He’s talking about leadership, motivation, hiring the ideal team, and he does talk about getting a good deal on a car, but it’s a weekly Vlog, unheard of really in the automotive industry.

So yeah, there’s a lot of opportunities to be unique and be different. But it’s much more than just a unique selling proposition, ’cause that’s just a slogan. That doesn’t create buzz.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So for the dealers and managers that are watching, will being unique increase sales? I mean, does it have a direct corelation?

Paul Potratz: Definitely I mean, because being unique means being memorable and when you’re memorable, you can spend a lot less money. Your budget can be so much less because your message is actually connecting with an individual. And instead of just price, price, price, price, and that’s the way they’ve done it for years, that there is no separation. Become unique, stand out and people will talk about you and it will become memorable and you can decide what type of unique really position do you want to take, how do you want to do it and that really gets into archetypes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Why don’t more business owners develop a unique strategy?

Paul Potratz: I could say the word fear could be one of ’em. That we see businesses that are successful that are doing a bang up job or at least we perceive they are. That they’re selling a lot. So we say, “Well that’s what they’re doing. So let me copy what they’re doing.” So that really takes away that unique approach and I think it’s also fearful too, to go a completely different direction than anyone else and say, “Well this is what I’m going to do.” Because part of being unique is it starts at the top. The business owner has to be the one that starts that process and you’re really putting yourself out there on an island. You’re really making a spectacle of yourself and I’m not saying that you have to get on TV and go, “Hey, me, me, me.” But it does take work. It’s not something that you can just write a check and it happens.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s for sure, that’s for sure. What steps can a business take to become unique?

Paul Potratz: Well the first step you’ve gotta do is decide what do you want to be and that’s really getting in and understanding archetypes. And when I mention archetypes, a lot of people are like, I have no idea what you’re talking about, archetypes. But there’s 12 different archetypes and you have to decide what type of personality are you. So for example, one of the archetypes is the creative person. Another type is the every man’s man or every woman’s woman, however you wanna do it. But the every man is what it’s called and you’ve gotta decide what is that archetype that you’re going to be and you have to make sure you have that consistency and that message.

Paul Potratz: So I’ll go back to for example, like Steve Jobs. If I was to ask you to explain Steve Jobs, how would you explain him other than his black turtleneck?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, creative and demanding, right?

Paul Potratz: Yeah exactly. Creative, demanding, but he was the guy that really broke the mold and decided to go a different direction, that he wanted to create [crosstalk 00:07:49].

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah a trailblazer.

Paul Potratz: Yeah a trailblazer. So that is his archetype that he’s chosen and you don’t have to have one archetype, you can have a few like Steve Jobs has. Another really interesting individual is John Legere. You’ve probably never even heard of this guy.

Jim Fitzpatrick: No haven’t.

Paul Potratz: So John Legere, there’s a lot of people that have, but John Legere is the CEO of T Mobile and he was the guy that was in the suit, very stiff, short hair, typical CEO and he decided he was going to break the mold. And he grew his hair out, he wears the magenta shirts.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Now I know who you’re talking about. I’ve seen him on TV and now it rings a bell. I know exactly who you mean. He’s kind of out there but again, he’s a trailblazer.

Paul Potratz: He’s a trailblazer and Verizon if you look at their stocks. When he launched this new brand, this new unique approach of his business, it took a little while but then if you watch the Verizon stocks, they go shoop and they’ve never really recovered and T Mobile did this. So completely different and he’s got some really interesting stuff. Every Sunday, he does a show on Facebook Live called Slow Cooker Sunday where he’s in his kitchen and he shares a slow cooker recipe where he’s cooking and all that and thousands of people will join him on Facebook Live and then every couple weeks, I mean his hobbies are for example, he’s a marathoner and he lives in New York City and he’ll go for a run in Central Park and he’ll tell people, “Hey, I’m gonna be in Central Park. If you see me, stop me and oh by the way, I’ve got a few coupons for blank.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow that’s cool. What a great idea.

Paul Potratz: Yeah so a CEO but he’s built a brand about it and the business is not all around him. He’s just part of the business. So I think he’s really unique because he quit working in the business and started working on the business by creating a unique approach and it does, it starts at the top.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that is for sure. So talk to us about your agency and automotive and all of the things, all of the trends that you see out there.

Paul Potratz: Well I’m hearing … We all know this but it wasn’t that many years ago that we would look at traffic coming to a website and it was a lot of desktop and now it’s crazy the numbers that I’m seeing that 80% of the traffic is mobile and 10% is tablet and 10% is desktop. So the things that we’re doing, like when we’re consulting with our clients or working with them or whatever. We’re saying, “We really gotta pay attention to that traffic. Are we looking at our website on a mobile device or are we looking at it on our desktop and trying to make changes there.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right, that’s right. And certainly we’ve got digital retailing coming down the pike at us at a pretty fast clip, right?

Paul Potratz: Yeah. We have a number of clients that are doing the digital retailing or they’re using the different programs, whether it be a roadster, an auto fire or whatever it is. But it’s interesting how it’s changed in a short amount of time that a lot of individuals, a lot of people in the industry would say, “No people wanna buy cars on your website,” and it’s proven to be not true. What they wanna do is they wanna start the shopping process on your website, do most of the work on your website and then take the final delivery.

Paul Potratz: Granted, there’s still some people that wanna get the car delivered to ’em, but that number is so small. So getting your strategy right in that, understanding what the end result is, is important if you want it to work.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yep and you mentioned Carvana earlier in our discussion. Probably few people out there haven’t seen the ad yet or the TV spot from Carvana, that’s got the young lady on her sofa and she’s doing all of the shopping and up comes in front of her house, a truck carrying her vehicle, right?

Paul Potratz: Right and their showrooms. They just built recently, just a few days ago, they just went live with one in I believe it’s Philadelphia, somewhere in Pittsburgh, no not Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and just to see their showrooms, you talk about unique, it’s definitely unique, it creates buzz. But their vending machine showroom, I believe it holds something like 27 vehicles. That’s going to create or not going, it’s creating buzz in that market that people are going to work, “Did you see it?” And if you go to Instagram and you actually search for it, you will see a number of pictures that people are Instagramming it. So they created something that’s unique and now they have individuals all over the country, wherever their showrooms are that’s sharing that message, sharing that marketing. Doing free marketing for ’em.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Paul Potratz, creating distinction and being unique out there. That is today’s message from the owner of Potratz Partners Advertising. I wanna thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. It is always a pleasure and our viewers get a lot out of your insight. So thanks again, I appreciate it.

Paul Potratz: Thank you. Have a great day.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You too.

Thank you for watching the official news source of the retail automotive industry. This has been a JBF Business Media Production.