“Our dealers win the sales because they’re able to stop talking about the price of the car and start talking about the value of choosing one dealership over another.”

“Price is only an issue in the absence of value,” says the vice president of a Minnesota loyalty and rewards company. Specifically, the company focuses on automotive dealerships, specializing in value-added rewards designed to give dealers an advantage in the negotiations that bog down automotive purchases.

Here’s how Access Development and the loyalty and rewards company have helped dealerships across the nation close more sales at higher gross than their competitors.

The Problem

Every car dealership is selling the same vehicles as their competitors. This results in competition based on pricing, with a couple hundred dollars often being the deciding factor in where a customer will spend over $30,000.

“People look for price breaks, and dealerships often cut their own throats to make it happen,” says the company’s president.

Dealerships come to the company for value-based rewards packages that make pricing differences irrelevant, or as the president calls it, the “Why Buy.”

Initially, the company built its own discount network. With a concentrated internal effort, they were able to negotiate coupons from seven regional businesses and a local gas chain. Those printed offers would then be stuffed into fulfillment packs handed out by dealerships in Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

The program proved the concept could work, and people were motivated by the everyday value of the offers. But the limited scope of merchants and manual fulfillment made it difficult to scale the program outside the existing region, leaving opportunities and additional revenue on the table. The company needed a national partner with a national merchant network to make the concept work on a large scale.

The Solution

Access Development provided the national network and fulfillment options the company needed. The two companies have partnered to build over 30 custom-labeled programs for dealerships across the US over the course of more than 10 years.

The goal of each program is twofold: Add enough value to make price differences irrelevant, and create engagement to bring customers back for future purchases.

“The initial offering is a ‘Why Buy’ for today, but it’s also brand reinforcement,” the company’s vice president says. “Why would you go anywhere else, when you got all this great stuff for buying your car here?”

Each program features deals across three common consumer spending categories: dining, recreation, and shopping. The programs are labeled for the specific dealership, including an online web portal, mobile coupon app, and custom card.

“We want the customer to never stop thinking about the client (dealership),” the vice president says. “It’s why we issue a card to each member, so they can be constantly reminded that they got this great value because they chose a particular dealership over another. It’s a brand reinforcement tool.”

The Results

“What Access enables us to do is help our clients close more deals and make more sales at higher gross, because customers can see more value,” the president says. “When you buy your car from our dealership we’re going to help you save thousands of dollars on things you do and buy every single day.

“We’re able to pack unmatchable value into the deal, which helps dealers close at a much higher rate.” The president says he often receives calls from dealers who have managed to close sales despite being underbid by $700 or more by other dealers. “Our dealers win the sales because they’re able to stop talking about the price of the car and start talking about the value of choosing one dealership over another.”

Over the course of ten years working together, the president says he’s been approached by other merchant discount networks, but none compare to Access’ level of service and quality.

“I’m aware of the other discount programs out there, but we stay with Access for a couple different reasons,” he says. “One, the level of service offered is second to none. Access is hands-on, we talk all the time. 

“It’s also the quality of the offering – not just the quantity – but the presentation of the offers. Ease of redemption and usage for the customers is important. Access makes it easy and it’s a really big selling point.”

The vice president adds: “Access is literally the only vendor that reaches out for account assessments. They bring a personal touch, and the constant improvement in the product is what keeps us totally onboard.”

After ten years of partnering, Access and the loyalty and rewards company continue to grow their value-centric rewards model to dealerships across the US.

“With Access, we’re able to bring in hundreds of thousands of additional benefits, which gives us the opportunity to expand to any market at any time,” the president says. “Access allows us to plug and play anywhere.”