Ben Garside: It’s important to try to improve – so may the force be with you

Time 9:36 am, January 18, 2016

I MAY BE that sad guy but on December 17 at 12.01am my fiancée and I sat down in our local cinema to watch those great words ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’ followed by a scrolling logo, text and the brilliant theme tune of Star Wars.

Yep, that’s right – I went to the opening showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at midnight. Needless to say, every film buff, Star Wars geek and cosplay person from around my area was out in force, meaning the cinema was rammed and rowdy.

This visit to the cinema got me thinking; just how many times can you rework something? I mean, this is the seventh edition of the Star Wars franchise and it seems to just be improving episode upon episode!

In marketing, we talk about garnishing. This is the process of getting an idea and improving it. So that people like our adverts we do one, trial it, review it and then see how it can be improved. This leads to us doing a slight redesign or addition (garnishing).

In car sales, I’m sure you can do the same with your sales techniques and marketing. I’m not a car dealer but the sales and marketing foundations are the same no matter what the market.

So, for instance, with building rapport, at some companies this is probably just a simple question, asking about the customer’s family or friends, usually to help them when they’re looking at what they’re purchasing the vehicle for. But as we know, building rapport is a two-way street. You then need to be personable, giving them the real you. This is so they don’t think you’re just trying to butter them up. You’re more than likely already at this point, so ask yourself what’s the garnish?

Maybe it’s about being you more, finding a common ground, or maybe it’s about really questioning them and their reasons for the purchase.

Communication is another aspect that garnishing can help, not just when talking face to face but by any medium. For instance, if you currently send a letter thanking them for purchasing a vehicle, then what about garnishing that with a possible voucher for a customer referral or offering a free or reduced price on their next MOT? If they get used to coming to your dealership, they will more than likely come back for their next vehicle. Other areas to assess are adding colour to black and white images, etc. It’s all garnishing.

What you should be getting from this article is that I’m going against the grain of the saying ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. This is a self-limiting theory to me and shouldn’t be used.

Star Wars films could have stopped after the first trilogy, as it was probably the greatest trilogy of all time. They didn’t, though. They went again and now they are going again once more.

I’m not saying we’re film-makers, but the essence of trying new things is really important and trying to improve is even more so.

Ben is marketing manager for First Response Finance. Call him on 07817 518739 or email [email protected]

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