Have you ever had an unforgettable purchasing experience? Did it matter if you were buying a big-ticket item, or the smallest thing? It likely came down to the way you felt afterward, and that was due in large part to how you were communicated with and treated by the salesperson.
The importance of the customer experience is all the hype these days – and for good reason. However, a lot of dealership sales staff and managers still seem to worry more about the bottom line than the customer. Getting out of that mindset requires a new approach to customer relationships, and it starts with being willing to show how much you care. After all, where would we be without our customers?
Making a Connection
I see a large number of sales consultants in dealerships around the country attempting to contact a customer only once or leaving a couple of messages and then moving on to the next. We simply have to make more of an effort, especially considering all the ways to reach someone in today’s world.
Some customers still want a phone call, but have busy lives. We know that members of younger generations prefer texting and will never answer a phone; many of them do most, if not all, of their communication on social media. It’s important to adjust to each customer individually, like a chameleon, trying every method simultaneously until you get a response. Most of all, follow up, follow up, follow up – if they are not ready to buy today, it’s just a matter of time before they will be, and you want their business.
Communicating with customers in their comfort zone is the first step to an unforgettable experience for them. Stepping out of our comfort zone to make the customer feel more at home is what we need to do!
Texting a video introducing yourself might feel a little uncomfortable, but it is amazing at breaking down walls. I usually call first, and if I don’t reach the customer, then immediately send an email and a video text so they can put a face with my name, humanizing myself. This yields a much higher response rate.
If a customer is inquiring about a specific vehicle, I will introduce myself and the car with a short walk-around video. Get creative and make it personal to that customer. The first impression is your first step on the customer journey down the road to the sale, and this is a great chance to show your eagerness to help.
Your customers come from all walks of life, from old to young, business to family, busy to laid-back, good credit to bad credit or no credit. One of the major things that can make or break a sale is how you show up for them – actions speak louder than words.
Customers buy from people they like and feel they can trust. How you treat your customer, not whether you close a deal today, is key to your success. Of course, you always want the deal today, but you also want the deal the next time they buy, someone in their family buys, their friends buy, their coworkers buy, etc. Customers for life, right?
One of the great downfalls I see at dealerships across the country is a lack of empathy or any kind of connection with the customer. Car buying is usually way out of the average person’s comfort zone. Once you’ve made a connection, keep stepping out of your comfort zone – this time, so they can feel at ease stepping out of theirs. Make it an unforgettable experience!
Busy customers? Take the car to their work! Busy families? Take it to their home or the kid’s ballgame! Guess what happens then? Not only do they take mental ownership, but now their friends or coworkers are also wowed by the experience. Those are your next potential clients.
Having empathy for subprime customers is another opportunity to show you care. Life happens. Most people with bad credit once had good credit, and then life hit them hard. I have established relationships with customers with bad credit to see them buy from me 5 to 7 years later. Some I’ve tried to get into a car, couldn’t, and then they come back years later saying I was the only person who was kind and treated them like a human being.
Become known for being the exception to the rule. Stay late for a customer that can’t be there before close. There is a mountain of things you can do outside the box. I’ve learned to live outside the box!
In my career, I’ve had many different roles at dealerships. Although it’s been a while since I’ve been a sales consultant, people still think of me and reach out when they want a car. Those are the kinds of relationships I encourage sales consultants to pursue.
Make sure you’re finding the best way to communicate with each individual customer and going out of your way to show all of your customers that they matter to you – even if it’s outside your comfort zone. Odds are, they’ll remember you the next time their customer journey leads to buying a car, and you’ll be the one they call!
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- Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone to Connect With Customers - February 27, 2019