If the auto industry is living on one thing right now, it's hope. Not that hope isn't good, quite the opposite. But if your plan to drive traffic, sales and retention is based on the hope that people will see your ad, or that people will stop right off the freeway because your sign is there, please stop and think again.
Recently I was at a client, talking with a "non-Internet" salesperson. This person was complaining about the prospect of taking web leads since they were 'already responsible for about 600 orphans' in their system. Talk about kicking a gift horse in the mouth, but game on!
What you believe and what you perpetuate will, like it or not, manifest itself for you. Why is a person who contacts you via an email any less of a customer? Between 15 and 20% of Internet leads buy from the first store they contact. About 70% buy from a subsequent store. What are we doing or better yet not doing with our customers?
In a meeting last week, an OEM National Manager related a story about a neighbor of theirs. This person had submitted leads to all their area stores and was told by everyone that responded (not all did) that the request was for a vehicle that was not available in the entire region due to allocation not being built that way. Well, a dealer about 300 miles away got this person's next lead, found the car inbound to a dealer about 1,700 miles away, traded for it, shipped it in, the person flew in one way and drove their new car home (over 7 hours).
You could have the 'best' ads in the world (even online!), the 'best' inventory and even the 'best' facility, but you can't count on those to deliver customers (especially completely satisfied ones) to you…and neither will Santa (my sincere apologies to the jolly one).
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results
In hospitality, it's the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Luxury Collection hotels, in aviation you're talking about the A380 and B787, and in automobiles Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Maybach, Lamborghini, Bugatti and the like. These brands beacon to those that can afford them and those that can't. They represent some of the finest in quality and reputation.
Now would you rather shop at Nordstrom or Sears, dine at Spago's or the Golden Arches and golf at Trump or your local public course? Fact is more consumers go to the latter but lust for the prior. It's about service, attention and recognition. There is no difference from someone entering a high-line store to another person leaving a mass-brand store.
Some hotels let you rest a little more comfortably at night, fast-flying jumbo-jets arrive at your destination with more room and luxury cars get to where you're going in more comfort and style. What people care about is the experience. Check your surveys, look at your testimonials and ask your customers. They want to be acknowledged, validated and respected. That's why they write about how great the experience they had, and very rarely that you made no money on the deal that they drove two hours for.
In a meeting today with one of the import brands, it was clear that they're still struggling greatly with how dealership staff communicate with, invite and ultimately deliver customers, especially via the Internet. And didn't know how to get the management knowledgeable and accountable.
People, it's not your multi-million-dollar facilities or your top-of-the-line auto flushers in the restrooms. It is entirely the feeling that you give, the welcome that you express and the confidence that you give them that they found the 'right dealership for them'.
Take a moment to think about an extraordinary experience you've had lately…now do whatever it takes to deliver the same experience for your next client..which should be arriving right about now…
Do more…do what it takes…do what you love…do what nobody expects…and do it with a smile!
Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results