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It’s a well-known fact that people buy from people (or companies) they like. There are certainly many different ways to get customers to like your dealership, from providing a great customer experience to being active in your local community.
However, consumers are increasingly finicky when choosing where to buy or service their vehicle. In addition, in today’s highly competitive market, they have more choices than ever before. So, what can you do to increase the chances that consumers choose you over your competition?
An excellent article in Time magazine shares advice from 10 CEOs about what individuals and businesses can do to improve the chances consumers will choose them. It contains some valuable advice; some of which you’ve undoubtedly heard before but is nonetheless worth repeating; and some that may not be as obvious but is just as valuable.
The first point is perhaps the most obvious: treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. This is a huge thing to me. I think far too often simply “being nice” is a forgotten commodity in business. In my opinion, there can be too much rudeness and lack of genuine human kindness in today’s fast-paced world.
Okay, so getting back to how this could apply in your dealership. Think about how you treat the customer in terms of car sales. If you were buying a vehicle, would you want to go through the same process you put your customers through? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track. If the answer is no, then perhaps it is time to take a look at your processes.
The next point the article shares is a good follow on and that is to be interested, not interesting. Body language and actions can easily win a customer’s favor or turn them off. Showing interest in your customers means more than simply relaying the message that you’re interested in selling a car to them. They already know that. A key point the article shares is to be interested rather than interesting. Make sure you are not doing all the talking. Take time to listen to what they have to say. This helps build that all important trust and rapport.
Next is a big one, and one that, rightly or wrongly, our industry tends to be called out for, and that is being honest. The second a car buyer thinks you are being dishonest you have probably lost any chance of a car sale. You also need honesty in order to win at the next point, which is making an emotional connection with them. Rapport begins with trust.
Most car shoppers these days conduct a ton of research before they show up on your lot or submit a lead form. While your answers may not precisely correspond to their information, due to technological issues or differences in providers, if you can explain why and show them how to replicate your answer on their own (such as Kelly Blue Book vs. Black Book trade-in value) it goes a long way towards preserving that trust.
In the end, how you communicate is an extremely important part of the customer experience. Whether via e-mail, phone, text, or in-person, all aspects of that communication contribute to how your customer perceives you and whatever your intentions may be. From body language, to tone of voice, to answering the customers questions and providing the requested information, get it right and your competition doesn’t stand a chance!