Customers - plan for success Admin In the Media (0) Every month dealerships have many customers that make contact, enquire on a vehicle, maybe even go for a test drive, but never end up purchasing.These are all opportunities that present themselves but are then lost. For some dealerships this may be 10 or 20 each month through to hundreds in larger dealer groups.Regardless of the number it is still lost sales. It’s frustrating when you’ve spent a significant amount of money to get that customer there and then nothing. This is about ensuring your dealership maximises the opportunity that has presented itself.Customer retention needs to begin right from that very first moment the customer made contact with your dealership. By operating with this mindset you naturally respect every opportunity that ultimately creates a customer, and one that you should retain for life.Get the term “tyre-kicker” out of your vocabulary as the reality is the customer has purchased a car at some time in their life and they will again. You want to do everything possible to ensure they choose a vehicle at your dealership.It’s also so important to provide the customer with an experience that they won’t get from that Private Seller, providing your new customer with that point of difference only a dealership can produce.Approximately 20-30% of customers that test drive vehicles don’t buy from you, they buy elsewhere. Therefore it’s very important to have a plan and a process of how your dealership follows-up these customers and does everything it can to keep them engaged and ultimately convert them to a sale. There needs to be consistent follow-up that’s notonly done by sales people on the phone but also by way of email and text. Email allows you the opportunity to remain present and engaging, ensuring your dealership remains at the forefront, whilst they make their purchasing decision.That particular customer initiated contact with your dealership, therefore they are already a long way towards buying from you. The important thing from now is to work with them to discover what it is they really need in a vehicle. It’s the dealership’s job to aid them with this process as much as possible otherwise they will drift off to somewhere else that can.Once you’ve captured your customer you need to consider investing in their retention.I encourage you to look through your historic sales and repeat customer sales, you should see a trend. Traditionally repeat customers provide you with the highest gross profit and the highest finance penetration.These are your best customers. They are also great at referring others. So why not put some effort, attention and processes in place to ensure you keep as many as you can for as long as you can.There are many touch points over the customer’s life cycle that provide you with opportunities to make contact and keep your dealership top of mind. These activities also foster referral business as you are the dealership they recall most. Traditionally most referrals only come within the first 4 weeks of a customer buying a vehicle, this is largely due to dealerships not having sound retention programmes that keep the dealership in the customers mind longer.A complete customer database and a high level of retention of customers is a very important contributor to any dealership’s business success.Every dealership, I would say, would like to increase their repeat and referral customers and there are many ways to do so, but they mostly require a lot of resource, a current database and regular daily attention by dedicated staff.Motorcentral believe, for this to be effective, you need your Dealer Management System (DMS) to do most of the work for you. These tasks should be removed from your workload and become rules that your system just does automatically for you.This will be dependent on what systems you use and their capabilities, so it’s important to talk with your system provider how you can best utilise your DMS to get the outcome you need. It’s important you ensure your dealership is doing all it can to maximise opportunity conversion to sales, increase referral business, and most definitely increase long term customer retention.If you are interested to learn more about how a Motorcentral DMS can take care of all these requirements without the need to increase any workload or require more staff then please talk to us now.