A Commitment to Be-Back Excellence

Magnifying Glass Looking at VIP Text

A new year is upon us, and with it, a new opportunity to implement a powerful strategy for recapturing and selling more be-backs and previous customers.

This strategy works for the be-backs you tried to sell last week or the existing, inactive customers residing in your database. Both of these groups represent unrealized economic potential for your dealership and neither group will likely return to the showroom without having been contacted by the dealership, and without you sharing compelling reasons to do so.

When they do return, greet and welcome them in a way that demonstrates they are Very Important People, and then go all out to deliver them true VIP treatment.

A VIP process

Our clients use the VIP process to convey the importance of be-backs and previous customers by consistently doing the following:

  • Have a few prominent VIP parking spots close to the showroom.
  • Schedule the appointment, making sure at least one manager is prepared to greet the customer upon arrival and ensure your pre-owned manager is available for an appraisal.
  • Alert floor reps and greeters of these appointments and require them to notify the manager the moment these customers appear.
  • Ask managers to greet these customers enthusiastically—more than they might do otherwise—and then explain your welcome-back/be-back process.
  • Be sure the new vehicle is washed, ready, and waiting with the keys available for a test drive.
  • Have the manager turn the customer over to a sales representative to finish the essentials. Be sure the manager comes back to confirm details.
  • Have deal paperwork ready for approval and signatures, such as appraisals and credit applications.
  • Ensure that an F&I office is available. Have the F&I manager greet the customer in the showroom and use iPad or tablet menu tools to offer aftermarket products and close the deal.

These processes can reduce the buying process to about hour and result in a 50 percent, or better, closing rate.

Enticing them back

Scenario 1—Customer leaves without buying

When a deal doesn’t occur, managers should always consult with the customer to share the dealership’s concern that the customer’s needs weren’t met. Perhaps your team missed a key point, or there was a question or concern that the customer expressed, but didn’t get answered. Would the customer give you the time to remedy this oversight now?

  • Verify you had the correct vehicle and model that interested them.
  • Ask what your sales representative did “wrong.” Often this will flush out the real reason you didn’t complete the deal.
  • To what degree was price a factor? Or, was the loss even about price?
  • Was it something about the sales staff or was the dealership the real reason for the customer attempting to leave unsold?
  • If the customer does leave, follow up to see if they are still in the market. What could the dealership do differently this time to complete the transaction?

Scenario 2—Previous customer

Identify these customers in your database and before calling, analyze their data. Do they have equity in their vehicle? Is it of trade interest? Given your current inventory, pricing, holdback, and other incentives, can you move the customer into a newer model for about the same monthly payment?

  • Inform the customer that when reviewing their records you noticed they owned or leased a certain make and model.
  • You know their lease-end or finance position, perhaps you can save them mileage penalties or prevent them from running out of warranty.
  • Offer to help them into a newer model for a similar monthly payment.
  • Invite them back and schedule the VIP appointment. Get the vehicle ready and have it waiting out front. Prep everyone to give this returning customer the best possible experience.

Boyd Warner is CEO of AutoAlert®, Inc. (www.autoalert.com), the most advanced lead generation solution available on the market today. Contact him at bwarner@dealermark.com.

Michael Bowen


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