CommentaryJun 15th, 2018

Get Ahead By Putting Your Customers First


Enterprise Rent-a-Car founder Jack Taylor had a simple philosophy: “Take care of your customers and employees first, and the profits will follow.”

He grew Enterprise from a single location to a $22 billion global powerhouse, so I’d say his philosophy works. It can also work for your dealership.

Today, when it’s fair to argue that no dealership has a competitive advantage in product, price, or financing, taking care of your customers so they remain loyal for life is more important than ever. The most effective way to do that is to give your customers more for their money.

Simply put, adding value to every interaction is what will win business today, tomorrow, and for years to come. If your dealership is used to fighting the price wars, earning business by adding value will require a culture change. But you can do it.

Start by educating your team on why continually lowering prices just won’t cut it anymore. And then start to incorporate value-added, competitive advantages — unique offerings that go beyond product and price.

As an example, consider warranties. A lifetime powertrain warranty offered with every new and qualifying pre-owned vehicle is a distinct competitive advantage that adds thousands of dollars of value.

More importantly, a warranty like this gives customers peace of mind, and the No. 1 reason customers buy is reliability and peace of mind. If you’re concerned about the cost of a program like this, or that it may affect penetration of service contracts, dealers doing it report the exact opposite.

The Sunset Auto Family, Washington state’s No. 1-volume Chevrolet dealership, found it earned even greater gross profits, and significantly increased customer retention. How? By adding an incredible value to every deal that more than compensates for any competitor’s slighter lower vehicle price.

Although a service contract is your strongest tool for creating lifelong customers, one way to keep them coming back to your dealership (if they decline the contract) is a service coupon. A coupon for $50 off the first service at your dealership is a great way to get customers back into your dealership so you can start cultivating a relationship, which could last for years to come and might result in a future contract.

You can also add value by prioritizing personal communication, such as having sales associates follow up with personal birthday wishes, anniversary calls, etc. A personal call to help a customer set up a future service appointment, for example, can go a long way toward creating a connection that brings the customer back again and again. Gestures like these humanize the car-buying experience and make it easy for customers to come back.

The fact is that purchasing a vehicle is an emotional journey. For most people, a vehicle is the most expensive purchase they’ll make after buying a home. Experts say never let emotion become part of the buying process. But we’re all human, and we all crave emotional connections.

Price wars just don’t work anymore. Cultivating lifelong customers by adding value to every interaction is the way to win today. So, take a page from Taylor’s book and put customers first. The profits will follow.

Now that you’re ready to put your customers first to grow your dealership, contact Binary Automotive Solutions at [email protected] or 888-883-8557, ext. 307, to learn more about the programs, tools, and training you’ll need. Remember, with Binary’s warranties and service programs, your customers will love you because they have the peace of mind knowing there are “no hassles, no gimmicks, and no gotchas.”

Authored by

James Binkley

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