Telling and Compelling: How to Tell a Story Your Consumers Can’t Resist

Why Is Telling a Great Story Important?People remember stories. In fact, even before writing was a preferred mode of communication, stories were being told and passed down from generation to generation. And people remembered them because they were interesting, captivating, and they left pieces of themselves behind to be told again and again. Even with all the modern technology and communication tools of the moment, it’s still important to remember how to tell a great story—especially if you’re talking about your products and services. The way you tell your dealership story determines whether or not your message will stick with consumers.

The marketplace is crowded; in fact, it’s teeming with dealerships just like yours that are trying to be seen, heard, and understood by potential customers. While anyone can hop online and attempt to woo consumers, the most convincing businesses are the ones with compelling stories to tell. For this reason alone, it’s up to you to highlight the ways you stand out as a dealership. What makes you different? What things is your dealership doing to reach out to consumers, create relationships, and stand out in the community? Chances are, there are plenty of memorable stories just waiting to be told—and those are the things that will resonate with consumers and bring them to you when it’s time to shop.

There’s a fundamental difference between plain content and a compelling story—a difference that is critical because of the impact on consumer behavior and perception. Content can be forgotten; it can be easily brushed aside and swapped out for the next story, picture, or video. However, a compelling story creates an experience, a way for a business to connect and create a relationship that’s not easily forgotten. By telling your brand story and reaching out to shoppers in a way that creates a more solid connection, you’ll be sharing the pieces of your dealership that are unique and showing consumers you have a compelling reason for them to be interested in you.

Science tells us storytelling is actually something our brains crave as a way of helping us relate to what’s being told. A process called neural coupling, helps us turn stories into our own ideas and link them with our own experiences. In other words, we are able to relate and engage more with what’s going on when information is delivered in a story format, rather than in the form of direct data. With so many businesses delivering consumer materials via direct data, strong brands are realizing they will stand out from the rest by telling compelling brand stories and earning front-of-mind presence with consumers.

Consider GMC’s “Sharp American” film that premiered during Fashion Week. Created to highlight precision, design, and attention to detail, this commercial aims to link the class and style consumers desire in areas like fashion, music, and photography with the sleekness of the GMC product. With this film, marketers have created a story that sticks with viewers and creates a feeling and an experience, rather than simply an advertisement, thus tapping into the power of storytelling.

What Makes a Great Story?

Everyone has a story to tell, and that means your dealership has a story—a compelling way to draw consumers in and let them know what you have to offer. We all remember the “once upon a time” tales from childhood, and although that’s not what we’re talking about now, there’s a reason those stories stuck with us. There are some lessons we can remember, some tales we can repeat by heart simply because they resonated so effectively when they were told. Those are the stories your business needs to share with consumers.

There’s no magical storytelling equation. If there were, every writer, business, and marketer would have copyrighted it by now. Instead, the secret to a perfect story lies in the way you tell it and in connections you make during the telling. When thinking about your consumers, instead of “once upon a time,” think about answering questions like:

  • What matters on a daily basis to my consumers?
  • What key elements are shoppers seeking in a dealership and in a lasting business relationship?
  • Are there things the dealership is doing in the community that consumers relate to and find valuable?
  • How are consumers’ lives affected by the service the dealership provides, the events we sponsor, and the connections we make?

 When you ask yourself these questions and start to think about things from a consumer point of view, you’ll likely discover a bounty of connections just waiting to be made with your audience. The great thing about telling your brand story is that, in addition to connecting you more solidly with potential customers, you’ll also be creating a more multi-faceted picture of your dealership. While selling cars and providing great service is what keeps you in business, you can stand out for other reasons as well. In fact, when you begin to share common interests with your consumers, you’ll gain an even broader and more interested audience.

 Recently, a local auto dealership hosted a pet adoption event. Anyone who has ever worked at a dealership knows dogs don’t write the checks—but what happened at this event was pretty impressive. The weekend-long investment on the part of the dealership wasn’t structured around selling; instead it was about community outreach and creating valuable connections. After spreading the word via its social media outlets, the dealership was bustling throughout the weekend. Not only did animal lovers come from miles around to either donate supplies or adopt new pets, but in-market shoppers visited the dealership AND purchased vehicles because they discovered a common interest. By sharing with the community and showing a relatable side of themselves, this dealership was able to make new and lasting connections.

Consumers Seek Connections

As broad as the marketplace is for us, it’s even more daunting for consumers who are trying to navigate the myriad brands and options in order to settle on the one perfect fit for them. They are looking for something that stands out in the crowd—and this is where you get the chance to be the hero of your own story.Shoppers can look online and find the exact makes and models you sell at several dealerships in the area—but what they can’t find is another YOU. Personality, your brand story, and the way you interact with those around you are all things that uniquely define you and make your dealership stand out in the crowd.

Today’s strong consumers will look past brands that don’t seem relevant, so it’s important to find moments and stories that are shareable and interesting. Storytelling is here to stay; it’s been here for thousands of years, and although it’s evolved with time and technology, it remains a viable way to connect and communicate with those around us. Your story is your brand, it’s the way you connect and share with consumers, and it’s how you interact in the community. It’s what makes your dealership unique, and by telling a compelling story, you’ll build a strong network of individuals who recognize everything you have to offer.

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