A dealership’s long-term success is tied directly to it’s ability to generate repeat business. This critical metric is the key to building brand equity, along with Principal Dealer asset value in the dealership. Are customers returning to perform their service and subsequent sales? The cost of replacing a customer is five times higher than retaining a client, which makes repeat business invaluable for long-term growth and stability. But how and what can you do now to generate repeat business?
Over the past decade, technological advances have dramatically altered the sales process. Smartphones and tablets are in hand, and massive amounts of information is available at the clients’ fingertips. Current technology can be used as an advantage by focusing efforts in these ways:
Mobile-based research is trending higher. Car shoppers visit in-person just twice when in the purchasing process, mainly because their research has been done online. Clients can be encouraged to download an app to their smartphone or tablet. Exclusive offerings and valuable information can be provided in this medium which, when done correctly, creates dependency and fosters repeat business to the same dealership.
Because geo-based searches are so prevalent among prospective car buyers, targeted advertising in the dealership’s region can have great impact on repeat clientele. Presenting the same message through Facebook ads, Youtube videos, and Yelp reviews and searches will maximize loyalty among local customers.
In every step of the sales process and throughout ownership, authentic connection with your clients will increase your trust and influence and bring a client back time and again. Regardless of how tech-savvy your dealership may be, without a sales team that has received world-class training and a dealership culture that puts people (not profits) first, you will be left to rely on new customers which is very costly.
Throughout a customer’s visit, meaningful communication must be maintained. J.D. Power reports that 51 percent of dealership customers use their smartphone while in the showroom(1). These customers search competitors for better pricing and availability. Continuous contact can prevent clients from searching elsewhere while strengthening the relationship.
After sales, follow-up creates a bond between the dealership staff and the client. Calling, emailing, or texting to ensure the client is satisfied forges the bond and reduces buyer’s remorse.
A dealer/client relationship can also be formed by consistent follow-up between purchases. Personal emails and texts - not just ad campaigns - hold value in a client’s eyes, where form letters can detract from the intent. When you begin to truly connect with prospects they begin to feel valued. When they feel valued, they will begin to be disarmed, lowering their guard and expressing themselves more openly - demonstrating real trust. With business relationships and connections like that, one-time transactional customers become lifelong committed clients, solving the repeat business challenge. And that's not only good for the bottom line today, but for years to come.