Don’t Chainsaw the Apple Tree the First Time It Bears Fruit

Since this is our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) issue, it might be nice to remember a fundamental fact about car buyers: Customers buy more than one car in their lifetime. As an auto dealer, you either keep that in mind when you are selling your first car to a customer, or you do not

. If you don’t keep it in mind, you will find yourself in that group of dealers that can’t see the big picture and therefore allow their salespeople to do whatever is necessary to force a sale. Hard core, high pressure, intimidating tactics can increase your sales numbers and force your totals skyward…for the moment.

However, the result is often a group of customers that are unhappy, and then angry, and then vengeful. With the advent of social media, word-of-mouth is no longer one-to-one, it is now one to a gazillion. Unhappy customers create social-media rants, bad reviews, and give you a bad reputation that will take your dealership years to repair.

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More importantly, since we know that customers buy many cars in their lifetime, one bad situation now, (but gets you a sale today), can mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lifetime. By treasuring each customer that enters your showroom or your website, you set your dealership up for many future sales. By pressuring a customer, and forcing a sale today, you are effectively saying “no thanks” to selling them a new car four years from now, eight years from now, twelve years from now, and “no thanks” sales of the cars they would have purchased for their spouse, their teens, etc.

Since we are talking about CRM this issue, don’t get so caught up in the metrics that you forget simple one-to-one relationship building. If you want your customer to come back again and again, make sure your sales staff treats them that way. As owner of the dealership, you are responsible for the sales processes practiced by your staff. Pay attention to that sales process like your future sales depend on it.

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