Professional Community for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketers and Sales Managers
If you’ve seen (or been forced to watch) Disney’s new movies, Frozen and Maleficent, you may have noticed a change in their messaging about True Love that wasn’t part of their past movies like Aladdin or Cinderella. In the new movies, [SPOILER ALERT], True Love isn’t "love at first sight" or purely an infatuation anymore, but rather it comes from someone who has stood by you for your whole life and truly cares about you.
So, you may be wondering how this relates to your dealership, right? Well, just like Disney did, car dealerships around the world need to experience a shift in how they view relationships. The relationships I’m talking about specifically are with your customers.
You may have heard your manager say to a salesperson, "Just get ‘em in. We need more leads". It’s common to look at a prospect or customer as just a "lead" or a "contact", however this kind of thinking is seeing the relationship as transactional without looking at the bigger picture. Your customers are not just “more money in your hands”. Your customers are real people.
To paraphrase a quote from V for Vendetta -- your customers are your father, and your mother, your brother, your friend. They are you, and me. They are all of us.
So when you have conversations with them via chat or when you are following up with them in emails or phone calls -- talk to them as if they aren’t just another number in your database. Talk to them like real people. People with real needs and desires.
That’s what our people at ActivEngage do every day! They talk to prospects and customers who start a chat conversation on your dealership’s website, and make sure they get a personal and unique experience. No robots! Just real people having real conversations that build lasting relationships and help your dealership, and your community, thrive.
Disney’s new viewpoint is right - true love doesn’t happen instantly. Loyalty and caring about someone doesn’t happen instantly. And it may be a difficult pill to swallow in the "Age of Instantaneous Everything", but true love actually takes time, and effort, and being there for someone when they really need you. And if you want your customers to really care about you, to trust you, to be loyal to your dealership -- you need to put in the work to make it happen. What work? Well, that’s what we’ll talk about next:
Make life easier for them. Have a website that makes the online consumer experience stress-free and enjoyable. No one wants to visit a friend if they have to jump through hoops to get there.
Let them confide in you and offer your best advice. When shoppers chat on your website, the chat representative’s job is to empathize with the shopper, answer their questions with earnest, and help them get what they need to make a good decision.
Let them know you are there for them. In your chat invites, in your emails, in your phone calls, in your direct mail -- make it clear that if they need help, you’ll be there.
Turn bad experiences into good ones. Be the sun in their cloudy day when they are coming in for a service appointment. Make their trip to your Service Department feel like home. They’re paying you money, but they’ll pay someone else if they don’t feel like you really care about them - especially women.
Be honest. Transparency is a big issue for the automotive industry right now. Remember it’s always best to be truthful and give accurate information. You should have a plan in place to make sure that your customer isn’t given two different prices for a sale or service.
Share your interests. Everyone who loves anyone feels like they have enough in common to relate to each other and enjoy time together. When you share what you care about, such as your charitable organizations or community activities on your About Page, Blog, or Social Media pages - you should also invite your customers to participate. Tell them how they can get involved and share your interest too.
Show them who you really are. At the recent Digital Dealer conference, Seth Godin spoke about building your tribe. In order to know where you fit in, you have to know what group of people you relate to most, and then show them who you really are. Your dealership or brand has a specific personality, and you need to show your customers who you really are if they are going to trust you completely.
We know there are probably many more ways to earn love, loyalty, and trust from your customers. Can you think of some? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!