Stop Selling Product and Start Closing the Relationships

Sales sells the first car; service sells the rest—we all know this. When a customer has just spent what they consider to be big money with you, they’re ready to start a relationship, not purchase another vehicle. So why are you still selling them when you should be building a relationship?


Marketing in the age of social media is all about creating relationships with your customers. There are different methods of connecting with your customers, but, no matter what method you choose, if you want to build a relationship, it must be opt-in. Opt-in marketing is about the relationship. It's not about creating a portal in which to funnel more direct marketing messages.


Opt-in marketing gives you the opportunity to tether your customers to you, but only if you play by the rules. The rules are set forth by social media and the number one rule that must be obeyed is offer value. No, I didn't say "weekly specials," I said offer value and to clarify it's customer perceived value.


One effective form of opt-in marketing that dealers have found success with is apps. Apps is a buzz word right now and there are some choices, however, acquiring one doesn't mean you’ve won the race; it just means you’ve showed up at the starting line with your number pinned to your shirt. The real work is now ahead of you.


Some of the manufacturers are beginning to produce apps for dealers to distribute to build brand loyalty (via any brand service center) and there are third-party providers that are building apps simply to pull a monthly fee from the dealer.


Let's talk about value for a moment, from the customer’s perspective. If your customer wishes to request service on their vehicle, should we direct them to a blank form to start filling VIN numbers and mileage information, or should we allow them to go right to their "Spending Request" and then click submit? Fooling around with forms doesn't make anyone money or make the customer happy, so why do we subject the customer to this unprofitable scenario?


Having an app that promotes your dealership while making business more efficient for both you and the customer should be the key ingredient in your decision making process when looking at an app solution for your dealership. The reality is 87 percent of all apps are either used once after their initial install and never looked at again or worse, uninstalled, because the customer failed to see ongoing value in that app. If an app performs the same as your website without personalization for the customer and their vehicle, the customer won't want it. If the customer has to sit and enter data into the app to make it work, you've lost a majority of your customers right there.


Marketing on its basic level is the pursuit of the customer's attention. So the question is how do you get the customer to stop, turn around, and engage with you again? Opt-in marketing is a give and take without the chase. If you give them an app that they value, they will allow you to make more profits from them…again.


Brock Allen, is the team development coordinator for AutoAdvizR Dealer Apps. Brock has successfully delivered winning sales training and team development solutions to the automotive industry for twelve years. Please email for more information.






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