This is a question I get all the time. Let’s face it, New Car Sales are down (if you didn’t see that coming, you’re blind) which is making the manufacturers flood the market with incentives. This in-turn is killing the Pre-Owned market. I will be writing about the expectations of the Dealer Principle in a different article, but for now let’s focus on how you can keep your sales volume at a level the same or higher than the year prior.
Follow-up, Follow-up, and Follow-up some more. It still amazes me to this day how much this is missed. I cannot get over the fact that when my wife and I go somewhere to make a purchase and we say we want to think about it, we never hear back from the sales person. And the worst part is, a sales person is the easiest person to sell. And I’m a sales person, so how did you even let me leave the premises without selling me?
I have trained 100’s of sales people over the years and I can count on one hand how many took this next piece of advice. When you sell someone something, you typically get to know them well enough to know when their birthday is and what their home address is. It’s called a Driver’s License and most people that walk into your establishment have one. The other time you can count on year in and year out is Christmas and New Year’s. So, you now have two reasons to contact your customers that purchases from you.
Let me put this into perspective of how important follow-up is. In 2008 NADA did a study of how many customers could remember their salesperson’s name one year after they purchased. The number then was that 82% could not remember their salesperson’s name after just one year. Guys, this number hasn’t decreased I can assure you. My wife and I purchased new furniture less than a year ago. I couldn’t tell you who my sales person was, because I’ve never heard from him again. It has been a year since we purchased my wife’s Explorer and guess what, never heard from my salesperson again. Are we really that lazy or are we just crazy?
Remember, the reason for this blog is so that we don’t keep practicing the definition of insanity. If you really believe that your customer will come back when their lease is over, or when they want to make another purchase of whatever you are selling, you are insane. The loyalty factor is almost 0. Give your customer a reason to be loyal, but do not ever assume they will be.
So I have given you one of thousands of ways to follow-up with your existing client base. And in my experience, most people will not do any of this. I can’t tell you why they won’t do this, but I can tell you that when you see your customer walk into the showroom two years from when you last sold them and they don’t ask for you, you only have yourself to blame.
My last parting thought. Go buy the bulk Happy Holiday cards this season. You can usually get 50 for around $9. Take the time to write a quick personal message on the inside of the card. Now, go do the same thing with Birthday cards. One last thing, the thing you use to check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat? It can also make phone calls. Call your customer on their birthday and wish them a Happy Birthday. You’d be shocked at how much they will appreciate it.
What are your thoughts about the importance of follow-up and what other best practices do you use?