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What’s your dealership’s unique selling proposition?

Establishing or refreshing your dealership's unique selling proposition isn’t rocket science. Consider a three-step approach.

Can you rattle off two or three reasons why customers should choose your store over the competition? If not, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and identify your dealership’s unique selling proposition (USP).

Let’s first define a USP. At its core, a unique selling proposition sets a business apart from its competitors. From a dealer’s perspective, a USP answers the question, “Why should a customer buy a car from your company rather than from a dealer in the next town?”

The net result of an on-target unique selling proposition (backed up by appealing benefits and advantages) is greater market share and a better bottom line. 

Identifying a unique selling proposition

Establishing or refreshing a USP isn’t rocket science. Consider a three-step approach.

Determine what customers want

Take a look at your customers and any new groups you hope to target. What are their pain points and preferred buying experiences? You might find answers in feedback surveys or focused research. You’re looking for what problems can be addressed through your dealership’s USP. Perhaps this might involve no-haggle pricing or shopping from home.

Bring it all together

With a better idea of customer preferences, compile the individual benefits offered by your company. This could involve services like free oil changes, repair loaners, or a lifetime powertrain warranty. Chances are, your dealership already has stand-out characteristics like these but they may need to be spelled out. In particular, look for benefits competitors don’t offer. 

Importantly, these advantages should be concrete and definable. Avoid grandiose promises like “the best car buying experience” or “the lowest prices” to keep your USP authentic and believable. 

Fill in the gaps

Ideally, you’ve already performed a competitor analysis to identify how your dealership stacks up against these rivals. This assessment should include where your business is lacking in terms of benefits. Use this USP development process to identify new perks that leapfrog the competition. The one-year free maintenance they offer could be turned into the two-year offer you provide. Likewise, you could spot an opening for an exclusive benefit no one else includes. 

Putting a USP into practice

With a finely crafted unique selling proposition in place, it’s time to integrate it into your marketing and sales efforts. Once you’ve crafted your USP, it’s crucial to integrate it into your marketing and sales measures. This includes both online and offline channels, such as your website, social media, email marketing, print advertising, and in-store signage.

Online marketing

The USP should be prominently featured on your dealership’s homepage and landing pages. Likewise, this messaging should carry over to social media channels and be featured in email campaigns and other digital outreach.

Offline marketing

Print and broadcast advertising, direct mail campaigns, and showroom signage also need to embrace your USP. This helps reinforce branding across multiple platforms.

Sales efforts

Sales staff should be trained to incorporate USP elements into their conversations with shoppers. For instance, maintenance questions can be answered with information about free oil changes or service loaners. Make it a benchmark that every initial customer interaction should include a reference to at least one aspect of the USP. Track this information.

Taking a USP to the next level

Look for opportunities to collect customer testimonials and reviews related to your dealership’s USP. Promoting positive words about shop-at-home services or extended service department hours brings your USP to life in customers’ minds. These testimonials validate your unique selling proposition and remind customers why your dealership is better than the competition. 

Keeping a USP viable

Like all marketing efforts, a USP shouldn’t be static. This means regularly reviewing customer feedback and monitoring the competition for needed adjustments to your dealership’s unique selling proposition.

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David Goldberg
David Goldberg
David Goldberg is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He brings a unique combination of dealership experience, a lifelong love of automobiles, and a journalism background to his writing for CBT News. He has a BA in journalism from The George Washington University.

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