Some would say, I come by may know-it-all nature, love of all things related to office stationary and appreciation for marketing and advertising quite honestly. Growing up, I was surrounded by award winning advertising and stacks of books and papers on marketing from the industry leaders of the 70s and 80s. They say that brand recognition begins as early as age 2… Well, I call shenanigans on this statistic. As young as 12-18 months, I have watched my siblings and my own children display preference for certain characters and branding. From the Teletubbies to Elmo and from certain bottles of shampoo to the forks and plates they like best.
What makes both children and adults loyal to a certain brand? Some of the time, I believe it’s simply personal preference. We make a conscious decision based on our personal tastes, and what appeals to us, both as children and adults. This could be something like the body lines of a new model, vehicle specifications, trim and features or a signature color available from only one manufacture.
Other times, and most often, our loyalties are influenced by those around us. Parents, siblings, family members we look up to, such as aunts, uncles and grandparent who influence a lot of our early preferences. Mostly by direct exposure to certain brands or their own tastes, but also by their behavior and philosophies. I guarantee, someone in your family has said “I will never buy a <Major Car Maker Here>.”
Think about the car makers which you have a poor opinion of personally. Now ask yourself why you feel that way. Was it because your Dad said he thought they were garbage when you were 9, and you have felt the same way ever since?
Many moons ago, I decided I would never own a certain make of vehicle. The general consensus amongst my friends and family was that they were junk and unreliable. I have owned several vehicles from their competitors over the years. They were all adequate, but somehow lacking in one way or another practically. I once had a rental that was made by the manufacture, who I despised, and I realized… man, this is a really nice SUV. But still, I never bought a vehicle from them in the decade following the experience. I still believed that overall, this brand was not for me. And I have driven an SUV from their major competitor for the past 6 years now.
As my family grew, we set out to find an SUV which would better accommodate all of the people (and Car Seats, *groan*) which I was now required to shuttle around from place to place. We looked at foreign and domestic, pick up trucks and SUVs, crossovers and (*groan*) mini vans. Nothing seemed to fit the bill.
Then, I saw an SUV driving down the road that I really liked… Low and behold, it was from the car maker I had written off decades before. Long story short-ish, we bought one. We even went a couple of model years older than my current 10-year-old SUV, and I am still extremely pleased with my new-to-me SUV.
Change Facilitates Change
My entire perception of this Brand is changing. Because my Vehicle Needs changed and I was forced to explore outside of my comfort zone. As a sales person, you shouldn’t be afraid to present your prospects with an alternative solution to meet their needs. They may tell you they won’t consider a certain make or model, but if you ask what needs they are trying to fill with their new vehicle, instead of what they think they want to buy, you may be more successful at selling them.
It’s a widely known fact, that over 50% of car buyers leave the lot with a vehicle which was NOT the make and model they submitted in their initial lead as their vehicle of interest. And over 40% of internet lead submissions come from prospects who haven’t even settled whether they want a new or preowned vehicle, let alone the make and model.
You have more influence over the type, make and model of vehicle that you sell, than you may think. Avoid pre-qualifying your customers based on what they say they want, and focus instead on what they actually need. Then match vehicles in your existing inventory to those needs. You may surprise yourself with how often your recommendations are heard. Instead of pigeon holing leads by provider, view each lead, as an opportunity to sell your prospective customer the “Right” vehicle, regardless of source.
P.S. What Brands are you most loyal to, and how did they earn that honor?