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Dealing with Automotive Dealerships

(September 2008) posted on Tue Sep 23, 2008

Four methods for partnering with dealers.

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By Jared Smith

Should you sell to car dealerships? The short answer is, yes, you should sell to almost anyone who wants to buy your services. Car dealerships have company cars for sales staff, fleet trucks, parts trucks and even the occasional sponsorship vehicle used to promote an event. The opportunity is there and, given the competitive nature of their industry, car dealerships must be masters of marketing. They use balloons, hot dogs, and even inflatable gorillas to try to drive business to their lots; it would only make sense that they have their own vehicles wrapped as well. So with the correct sales materials, pricing structure, and portfolio in hand, it shouldn’t be too difficult for your shop to get the sale.

But you may also be able to grab some of the larger action at dealerships: providing wraps to their commercial customers. Someone is wrapping all of those blank white Chevy and Ford vans, Sprinters, and Isuzu trucks they're selling-why can't it be you?

Four methods to success
Bluemedia has been down this road and has some trial-and-error results to share when it comes to dealing with dealers. We've tended to rely upon four methods that seem to work with the dealer population.

Method number one: Hire a dealership specialist. In order for this scenario to work, you must service a city that has a market large enough to support a number of dealerships to keep your sales person busy. This person will need to learn the language of car dealerships, find out what they care about (and what they don’t), and craft a strategy that works for your shop and the dealership. This person will need to stay in front of the dealership with some level of consistency because there seems to be a relatively high turnover in their staffing. This method also relies heavily on the personal relationship. In order for a dealership to have the trust and peace of mind to send work and referrals to a single graphics specialist, your dealership specialist must communicate very well and always deliver on commitments made.