Selling a car is great, but should it be the ultimate goal of your dealership? While selling a vehicle may be the measure of achievement on the surface, the most successful dealerships know that selling a car is only the first step on the road to lasting success.
In the pages of AutoSuccess, many of our articles deal with the subject of customer loyalty and retention, and how important — and beneficial — it is to the health of your dealership. But, if the concept of loyalty doesn’t make the sale in your mind, maybe the numbers will:
• When a customer returns, your path to the sale becomes much shorter — Approximately 43 percent of customers who keep coming back to a dealership buy their next car there. When you engage with the customer, value the relationship and give them reasons to come back, customers will reward you with their business.
• Aren’t you loyal to certain businesses? — Customers are no strangers to the idea of loyalty to a brand or company; 75 percent of car buyers use loyalty points/rewards programs with other types of retailers. Look at it from the vantage point of the consumer, which you yourself often are: Don’t you feel valued when you’re rewarded for your return business by your grocery, airline or even your favorite lunch spot? Reward your steady customers, and reward yourself at the same time.
• Give customers a reason to come back — When 59 percent of consumers say they would try a new brand or company for a better service experience, you’ve got to take notice if you want to stay relevant. Again, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you don’t feel valued at a business, if you don’t feel like they appreciate the time, effort and money you’re spending by doing business with them, why would you come back — especially if you had options. Do your customers have options? Give them a reason to do business with you.
• Above all, give them a reason to stay — If a customer has a bad enough experience, there’s nothing to stop them from walking away, and 78 percent of consumers have reported doing just that because of a poor service experience. While it might just be another Tuesday afternoon for you at work, buying a car is a big deal for the average consumer; it’s the second biggest purchase most will make. If you give them any reason to feel that they’re not being treated well, why should they stay? Would you, in that position? Be honest with yourself and look at your processes. Are there areas where you could make the customer feel special? There probably are, and there are probably ways to immediately improve that wouldn’t cost you a cent.
Customers are better educated than ever before, and there isn’t a shortage of dealerships when it comes time for them to buy a vehicle. Be the dealership that stands above the rest when it comes to treating customers right; they’ll reward you with their loyalty and their future sales.