Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Of course, the action all sales associates thrive on is, indeed, in the front of the store. After all, it’s there one basks in the glamour of the new models, the showroom lights and the rainbow of colors – all which get the selling juices flowing. An up walks through the door and don’t heartbeats increase?
In my study of dealership selling strategies, it seems we too often end the Road to the Sale at the point when the customer takes delivery. Look a little further down this road though and you’ll notice it leads to additional selling opportunities for the sales associate.
This part of the road to the sale too often left untraveled is the service lane. It is by engaging the customer again here that the customer’s sales associate deepens this key relationship.
Associates often need your leadership to meet their customers there. After all, the urge to remain in the familiar showroom to grab the next up can be almost overwhelming. However, associates who put in the time, effort and engagement to solidify relations with existing customers in every way possible is a long-term investment, odds are one that will prove more profitably for the associate and the dealership than the next walk-in.
Pursuing customers every time they come in for service is smart. When associates revisit their customers as they come in for service, associates create ongoing sales opportunities several ways. They can:
We too often fail to ask customers who they know – family, friends or associates – who might be considering or shopping for a new or pre-owned vehicle. Now is a fine time for the associate to hand the customer several of his or her business cards and explain how the dealership referral system works and make sure the customer understands how it benefits him or her too.
Meeting customers again, in the service department, is a time-tested method for building customer rapport and trust that creates a more engaged relationship between the associate and customer. Done often and done well, “selling” in the service department can help create a repeat purchaser of not only services but also a new or additional vehicle.
Associates should be trained to take advantage of these opportunities – don’t assume every associate is so motivated. Hold them accountable for purposefully seeking out their customers scheduled to be in service on those days they work the floor.
Furthermore, to make this process more surefooted consider implementing process or systems that automate this service appointment notification via email or texts to the respective associate’s desktop or mobile device.
Selling this way in the service drive may not be glamorous or exactly the sales associates’ cup of tea. However, building lasting rapport with customers that helps engage them deeper in the dealership should be a fastball required of every associate.
Sometimes, though, associates require a little redirect and training on this phase of growing lifetime customers. Leadership and accountability here by senior managers – holding staff responsible for the Road to the Sale as well as to the sale road less taken in service -- will ensure greater success for all concerned.