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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

Method number two: Strike a deal with the dealership. Dealerships exist to make money, and the sales staff is almost exclusively paid commission. So get a meeting with the decision maker; at our shop, we've found that the fleet sales manager or general manager is a good place to start. Tell them who you are and what you do, and then ask what their "buttons" are. Maybe they want to offer this as a value-added service to their customers. Maybe they like the idea of the sales staff being able to earn a commission from you whenever they refer the purchaser of a new truck needing graphics. This is an interesting program that a dealership can put in place that will help their sales staff earn more money, but not at the cost of the dealership. We've found that a car salesperson could make $200 for selling a car and another $200 for referring a full wrap (as you can imagine, the sales staff typically are all for it).

The key to using this method is to make sure you're pitching the right program to the right person. You need to first win over the dealership, put the program in place that makes the most sense for them, and (only if invited) present to the sales staff directly. In an ideal world, you could also provide specifically designed sales materials and leave behind a point-of -purchase display that markets wraps to their customers. Beware: Even with all of these things in place, you still must service this program monthly or bi-weekly or they might forget who you are, lose interest, and throw away your display.

Method number three: Sell your products through the dealership at wholesale. This is a more complicated model, but it has its merits. Dealerships are already in the business of buying aftermarket parts such as wheels, audio systems, GPS systems, and/or body kits and then marking them up for resale. Targeted correctly, the graphics products you sell can follow the same path.