When purchasing a car for most it’s not just about the car. It’s about the experience. The experience including everything from sales, delivery and after sales. I know that in my family we have decided on one brand or chosen a different dealership of a brand because they weren’t the cheapest, but they provided the best experience.
For this post I’ll be focussing on something which all dealerships do, but some do it a lot better than others. This something is events. From Melbourne Cup lunches to new vehicle launches it’s about making us, the customer, feel special and involved. How do they do it successfully though?
Well, let’s have a look at how not to do it successfully first. Here we won’t name any names for the worst experiences as, well, we haven’t been back to them.
No. 1: Don’t give away a car to people who just bought a car
Whilst giving a car away seems like a great idea, and something which is extremely valuable it really loses its impact when the winner you’ll be giving it to has just bought a car to fill the need of why they just bought the car. Sure, they could sell it for the cash or give it to a child or family member but who wants to not really get some good benefit without lots of hassle?
Also, the last event where this happened there were no 2nd, 3rd or even lucky door prizes to build up to the car. So once the car had been given away, that was it. It happened and it was finished.
No. 2: Make sure there is good food, and enough of it
The lesson should be simple. Provide food for your guests and make sure they don’t go hungry, especially when your event starts when people might be expecting to have a meal. A recent event started at 6pm and had an advised finishing time of 10pm. Though, whilst there was plenty of beverages available and the MC had announced that there was plenty of food to enjoy, there was nothing to be found.
After doing some exploring of the venue (the dealership itself) I found a group of people gathering around an entry to a meeting room. Inside? The caterers dishing up the food, and not enough of it fast enough. It was a mess and by the end of the event, there was still a crowd around the door snapping up anything before it even made it to the floor.
No. 3: Goodies, goodies, goodies
The event being hosted is promotional. You’ll have a large number of people at the end of the night going home and hopefully spreading the word via word of mouth. Having a little goodie bag to take home with some caps, keyrings or little branded items go a long way and add to the satisfaction.
Too many events I’ve been to, including launches, have left me empty handed and with nothing to show for my time there and what I did there.
No. 4: Go easy on the alcohol
Yes, we like to enjoy some free grog but at an event where you’re celebrating owning and driving your new cars? Probably not a good thing when your customers were encouraged to drive them and display them outside the venue.
It’s even worse when the MC encourages you to drink up as the bar is free flowing. Not very responsible in our books when currently drink driving is a major issue on our roads in Australia.
So tell us, who’s actually done all of these things?
In our experience one Dealer has seemed to have hit the nail on the head not once, but almost every time. It’s a dealer on the south side of Brisbane called Motorline BMW. They also have Mini, Motorrad and Opel under the same roof but locals will know it as the BMW dealership.
Throughout the years there have been numerous launches, celebrity meet and greets as well as some great experiences. Here are just a few of the best recent events we’ve been along to.
BMW F30 3 Series launch
This event was the biggest and best event I had ever gone to put together by a dealership. You weren’t just there to see the cars lined up nicely with some banners, this felt like a German festival and it just so happened to be the full line up of cars there.
There was good food, and plenty of it. Everything from Pretzels, German Sausages, Chicken Burgers, and Popcorn as well as your beverages to keep you nice and refreshed. There was good entertainment. The band from the German Club was playing sets in the workshop which had been converted into a traditional dining hall.
The ladies were looked after in a champagne and beauty section for getting your nails done whilst nibbling on delicious chocolate brownies. Then there were the cars. Neatly presented with the full range available to see and best of all. No annoying sales people to hassle you whilst you were enjoying a drink and look through the car at your own pace. Sure if you wanted to talk about the cars there were people there but they kept out of your way. Great move.
Opel Moonlight Cinema
Opel is a new to Australia and unlike another new brand, Opel in Australia has some unique hurdles to get over and to help create the unique experiences Motorline gave customers the VIP experience at the Moonlight Cinema at the Powerhouse in New Farm.
Not only though did we have admittance to the movie, we had bean bags supplied (great because me and my guest forgot our blanket at home) and a goodie bag which was loaded. There was everything we needed to have a proper movie experience. Not only was there water and chips, but the latest magazine from Opel, two caps and a box full of great chocolates and lollies to munch on.
Plus there were again the sales people which weren’t the hassling type and the newest model on display to check out.
Do well and you’ll be rewarded
So whilst this has been a long post, hopefully this shows what some dealers are doing out there and perhaps why it’s worth checking out another dealer of the same brand because whilst you might get a better price elsewhere, that overall experience might be ten times better than anywhere else.
Also as a dealer if you’re reading this. Take note, if you put on poorly thought out events or don’t really offer much for people once they get there you’ll find that those customers when they’re looking for that next vehicle, they might just look elsewhere because you didn’t complete that experience.
Finally a massive kudos to the marketing team at Motorline. Keep it up!