As a dealership or a sales person, you can focus on several business models. While many of them can be effective, only some will allow you to dominate your market.
Consider the following business models. If you could pick any one of them, which one would you choose?
A business that focuses on creating satisfied customers. Clients are pleased/satisfied with how a service was provided and will consider buying again.
A business that focuses on creating loyal customers. These customers were not just satisfied; they were happy with their service or purchase. When asked, they will recommend you.
A business that focuses on creating raving fan advocates. Not only will they return to buy from you, but they want everyone else to know about you. They will actively urge others to consider you only!
Which type of customer would you rather have? You probably chose raving fan advocates, and you’re right – the goal should be to create as many of those as possible! If you learn how to create advocates, you will have a unique competitive advantage.
But how could a dealership go from having satisfied customers to loyal ones, and to raving fan advocates?
Most dealerships have satisfied customers when they have good consistent processes in place. So, if your sales team members follow the basic road to the sale, use effective scripts, and build value in your product, they will most likely create satisfied customers.
To get to the next level of loyalty, you need to add efficiency to your process. The more efficient your process, the more loyal your clients will be. When your team can do something better or faster, it removes the uncomfortable tension of the “back and forth” and sets you apart from your competition.
Finally, to create raving fan advocates, your process must become proactive and empathetic. Advocacy happens when a person feels a deep connection to a cause or a person. Advocacy goes beyond transactional selling (satisfied customers) or even relational selling (loyal customers) and must become generational selling. When your sales team learns to be proactive and use empathy, they will create raving fan advocates.
Let’s examine how you can create the three levels of customers using these examples in your process: the greeting, the management TO, and handling in-bound calls.
Satisfaction happens when a sales person delivers the standard industry greeting, which some call a “professional greeting.” It typically includes shaking hands, welcoming a customer to the dealership, and exchanging names.
Loyalty begins to grow when you incorporate efficiency into the greeting. For example, instead of saying “How may I help you?” a sales person asks, “What information can I get you today?” It’s more efficient because the sales person understands why the customer is there.
Advocacy happens when proactivity and empathy are added to the greeting. In my training, I share that there are five ways a customer could feel when they first arrive at a dealership: they want to talk to someone, they are willing to talk to someone, they’d rather not talk to anyone, they don’t want to talk to anyone, or they don’t feel they need to talk to anyone.
If customers can be in any five of these psychological states, shouldn’t we teach five different ways to approach and greet them based on their body language, verbal, or other clues? When you talk to a customer with appreciation for their psychological state, they start feeling like you are sympathetic to their needs.
Adapting to your client activates a psychological principle called liking and familiarity, which causes people to feel comfortable with those who are similar and familiar to them.
It adds to the customer satisfaction level when a member of the management team makes a point to introduce themselves. At most dealerships, it’s done when the customer has either agreed to purchase or is about to leave.
You can start building loyalty when a management introduction is done much earlier in the process, as early as 5 to 10 minutes after the greeting. A manager typically says something like, “If I can help with anything, just let me know!”
To create raving fan advocates, a manager doesn’t just do an early introduction or offer help. He edifies the sales person and makes the sales person the focus of the TO. Consider saying something like this: “Let me share a few reasons why [name] is a great person for you to work with, and why you’ll enjoy letting them help you today ….”
Doing a TO like this uses a principle in psychology called higher authority. It will help increase the sales person’s ability to influence the customer to do business.
With call handling, satisfaction is achieved when your team has been trained and knows how to address common questions, such as pricing, trade, or payments. And, of course, they need to know how to set appointments.
To take it to the next level of a loyalty-based experience, your team should manage a caller’s expectations. It happens when a team member offers information and choices, and shares how the process will unfold once the customer arrives at the dealership.
To create raving fan advocates and “out experience” your competition in this area, your team must add proactivity and a wow factor to the process. Roll out a red carpet, add a big red bow or balloons, and have a sign that says, “Specially reserved for [name].” Also, how about putting a thank-you card on the dashboard, a fresh bottle of water, or even a small gift bag with your branded dealership swag?
Yes, all of that for an appointment! My clients who do this enjoy higher appointment show and closing rates. It’s because these actions activate the psychological principle of reciprocity and increase the customer’s desire to do business!
Examine your processes today to see where you can add proactivity and empathy and offer the type of service that makes the customer feel understood and appreciated. It will help you get on the path of creating raving fan advocates to dominate your market!