The profits of a business are totally dependent on marketing. Other-wise few, if any, sales will be generated. But, what is marketing anyway?

Marketing is doing what it takes to convince enough customers to pay the necessary price for your products and services to produce the desired profits for the business.

Let's discuss the eight secrets dealerships can use to greatly improve their marketing success.

Secret #1: Give marketing top priority. The primary reason any customer chooses to buy your products or services is because of effective marketing. The marketing process starts at the very beginning and continues forever!

It begins with ensuring that the product or service fills a need for potential customers, so they will want to buy it. The next step is pricing to ensure that the business will achieve profits from sales and that customers will perceive price to be less than their value of the benefits they receive.

Effective positioning allows potential customers easy interaction with the dealership to evaluate the product or service.

The final step is promotion, where the business communicates with their potential customers about the existence and benefits of the products or services to entice them to contact you to learn more.

Marketing is culminated in sales, by convincing customers that the value of their benefits exceed the price of the product or service. Successful sales only occur when product, price, positioning and promotion are fully completed. In fact, most businesses are marketing businesses. To succeed, owners must focus on marketing at all times.

Secret #2: Don't confuse advertising with marketing. Advertising is only a part of the last marketing step, promotion, and it occurs late in the game.

Dealers often think advertising is all there is to marketing, so they overlook the other three very important earlier marketing steps. Consequently, they lose the opportunity to control and develop over 75% of all marketing, which must be well done to allow advertising to succeed.

Secret #3: Don't base your marketing solely on your own opinions and desires. Dealers believe their power and freedom of choice, as the boss, means that they need not deal with the opinion of others.

"I am now my own boss" is only partly true. Dealers are in virtual control of either succeeding or failing to convince the real boss - the customer - to buy their products or services.

Too often, dealers try to impose their narrow opinion on their potential customers. If you don't consider the value and use of your product from your customers' perspective you will not convince them to buy your products or services.

Secret #4: Learn all you can about your potential customers. In-depth research of your chosen potential customers is a critical element of survival, and owners must learn everything possible about who their potential customers are, What they want to buy, why they buy, how they buy, and when.

Secret #5: Learn how to screen out undesirable customers. Dealers have the right and obligation to determine which potential customers they will agree to serve. They should screen out undesirable customers early so they can focus more attention on customers that they want to serve.

But dealers often do not know how to select desirable customers from the pool of potential customers they encounter. As a result, they often spend too much time, money, and energy trying to deal with a handful of hard-to-please customers who frequently demand lower prices at the expense of better customers, who go elsewhere because they were ignored.

Secret #6: Know and appreciate the value of your existing customers. Dealers often become so focused on getting new customers that they ignore their existing repeat customers. Few businesses can survive without repeat business. Repeat customers present a wealth of opportunities.

They frequently provide excellent feedback; they provide an excellent reference and referral service (read free advertising); they are the least expensive and most likely source of additional business, and their unnecessary departure causes substantial damage. Upset customers complain to at least five to nine others.

Secret #7: Create a positive identity that is distinct from your competitors. Most customers compare. They need a good reason to choose your product or service over others. You complete more sales when you understand your competitors extremely well and position your products or services for positive customer comparison.

Secret #8: Consider the overwhelming power of emotion on the buying process. The entire buying process is governed by emotional forces (some say over 80% of the entire process is emotional). Yet, too many dealers focus their energies on price and avoid the real emotional reasons customers will buy.

A dealer should know and feel the emotional connection potential customers will attach to the dealership, its products and services, and the way customers interact with the store.

The entire marketing program must address the emotional issues to attract and keep the right customers.

The normal human thinking process of deciding to buy almost always starts with an emotional need. The emotional need causes the customer to consider buying something to fill it. The search and evaluation of the possible choices of products and services is also frequently emotional, and additional emotional forces are often added.

The price issue comes in near the end and, in reality, the customer wants to know the price to help justify the emotional decision they have already made. In fact, the request for the price from a normal customer is a very strong buying signal (does the cost allow me to buy what I want and is it fair for what I decided to get?).

Dealers succeed when they know how to deal with this emotional process and permit the customer to complete this process through final payment.

What a wonderful opportunity! Dealers who take charge of learning all they can, succeed in their goals and have a ball along the way.

Bill Dueease of the Aspen Business Group is a business coach who specializes in educating owners to increase profits, reduce stress and gain time from and control over their businesses. For his free article: "10 insider secrets most business owners never learn," call 800-489-6818 or e-mail hawkeye@gate.net.