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Loyalty begins with the seller

The art of selling is synonymous with the art of showing that you care!

We all want our customers to be loyal to us because it is so expensive to gain a customer, especially in today’s world where competition is so fierce.  We kill ourselves, or feel like we did, to gain a customer and after he or she buys from us, that customer never comes back for service or for a second purchase.  This is especially difficult as today’s auto business is far more about retention than acquisition.  The question is what makes a customer buy from us just once? Or perhaps the better question is what makes a customer a loyal, repeat customer.

After some 20 years of experience in customer management and serving over 500 dealerships in CRM and now with autoWALL, and much research, I have some conclusions that need discussing and they are as follows.

  1. When selling focus on the relationship rather than the sale.  Think of it as a family member asking your opinion on something so; be forth right in answering questions, remember you might sell them once but never again otherwise.  This is extremely applicable to the millennial as they have no loyalty to the car but they will build a relationship with the seller .Truth to be known disingenuous, people have a very low chance of selling anyhow.  This is a major problem in the automotive world as the focus is so much on the present sale that the relationship is forgotten.  Remember the true “BEST” salesmen have a great following who buy from them time and again and that is because they have mastered this art to perfection. Such focus increases your odds of winning the first sale and of retaining the customer for future purchases. Obviously, if you don’t win the first sale, you have nothing to retain.
  2. Pay attention to your COI on this matter.  What is COI?  Cost of ignoring!  Do not ignore the customer relationship.  So you say, I have a CRM, I have many salesmen and I have Internet department and a slew of wonderful service advisors.  That is all true, but what is your relationship barometer?  How do you gauge the “true” treatment of your customer?  Having CRM and enabling the consumers “voice” are two very different things.  CRM is a great tool, don’t get me wrong, and is very much needed but is designed for selling and its focus is inward not outward toward the customer. You need more because the customer wants more.
  3. The world is changing are you going to change with it? Dinosaurs were huge and successful and are extinct. So, remember your new consumer the millennial, they respond to transparency, and open lines of two way communication.  The systems you bought ten years ago do not address their needs.  The open lines of communication are the killer here!  This requires direct ability to contact to an “enabler” and that person in many cases can be many different people.
  4. Lastly remember that the most successful companies are those that focus on the needs of everyday common people; those are your customers.  Ask yourself this question “is my company at present equipped to do so”?

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