An excellent article on Customer Experience Insight shared an analogy that resonated with me as it can be applied to automotive salespeople. The article compares salespeople to trees and states that only 10 percent of salespeople are considered evergreen; are strong and productive no matter what business and/or the economy is like. They nurture their relationships with their customers which return that loyalty. The next 40 percent are more akin to deciduous trees. They do not cultivate relationships with their customers and do not earn their loyalty. Instead, these salespeople continuously seek out new customers and rarely earn any repeat or referral business. The remaining 50 percent are pegged as barren trees and have no sustainable relationships or connections with their customers.
In your sales department, your salespeople are the face of your dealership. It’s not uncommon for sales managers to hide behind one-way glass in their towers, or some other out-of-sight office. For the most part, the only contact the customer has is with the salesperson. The quality of that first, and all future interactions with your dealership, could very well be dependent on the customer experience that your salespeople provide. It’s all well and nice to think that your dealership’s customers are loyal because of your dealership. However, that’s not very accurate. The fact is that customers are loyal to your business because the staff at your business provide an exceptional customer experience. Not just once, but consistently, EVERY time.
If customer retention is so important (which it is) then why are managers so focused on salespeople getting the next up so that they can get the next sale? Yes, new sales are important. But, don’t you think the focus we put on that next sale is adopted by our sales staff? How about instead encouraging, motivating and training your sales staff that all customers are equally important – whether they bought a car 2 years ago or walked onto the lot for the first time 5 minutes ago.
Don’t forget your past customers, because they may very well still be your present customers in service. Set aside time for your salespeople to regularly check in with previous customers. There’s nothing more irritating to an owner or sales manager than to discover that a previous customer just bought a new car somewhere else – especially when that previous customer brings their new vehicle (bought from a competitor) into their service department!