If you want to get the best out of any kind of data-mining solution, it’s worth the time to backtrack to your verbiage and rethink what you’re saying when you approach the customer. It is here that the differentiation between an “owner base” and a “conquest customer” is the most pronounced.

Typically, though, in this industry the same approach is used universally:

“Would you like to buy a car?”

“We really need your car!”

“What if I could pay you more than it’s worth?”

“I have a customer looking for exactly a car like yours! To compensate you, I’ve been authorized to take 10, 20, 30, 40 percent off!”

One message comes through to our current customers when any of these, shall we say “less- than-transparent,” lines are used: We are lying.

Granted, used cars are harder to obtain than they’ve ever been, and if the acquisition cost is going up anyway, it only makes sense to pay the current client base those monies. After all, we know the history. And the recon cost will be lower. The consumer door rate should be lower than the internal rate, so the margin will ultimately be better.

The approach, however, in my opinion, should be radically different.

You see, current customers care as little for your conquest verbiage as my lovely wife, Tamarra, does for my spirited tales of my high school prowess.

Using a data-mining tool in the service drive to print a new payment exchange option is the perfect execution of “pull” marketing. You can even just leave it on the passenger’s seat after their service appointment – no pressure.

You enter the zone of “serving to sell” when you’re keeping the client aware of opportunities, then following up to:

  • Thank them.
  • Check on their satisfaction.
  • Send them a $10 thank-you coupon for future service.
  • Offer to be their future point of contact next time they can’t get through to Service.
  • Offer to check on their car status and relay messages.
  • Schedule their next service.

After you’ve shown interest in helping them, it is totally acceptable to inquire as to how their car is fitting their needs, ask what they would change, and see if there is any other need for a vehicle in the home, etc.

Build the “garage” around your customer, so that even if one of the vehicles in it isn’t your brand, the next one will be.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if they bring up an interesting paper they found on their seat!

Bryan Armstrong

Bryan Armstrong

e-Commerce Director at VW Dealerships in Missouri and Utah
Bryan Armstrong

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