Article

B-Back Sauce: Keep Your Customer Hungry

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Maxwell D. Skynard - Also by this author

With Memorial Day behind us, summer is smiling down on us with her sunny weather, perfectly manicured lawns and the sweet smell of barbeque coming from the neighbor’s back yard. On top of that, experts say this year’s auto sales will tie 2004 (4th largest ever). So as long as Mama Nature is good to us, everyone should have plenty to smile about over salsa and margaritas.

Many dealerships and salesmen will count on the next few months to make their year. However, before you dip too many chips in the queso I would like to remind you that summer (as sweet as it is) is a season, and seasons come and go. Six months from now many, of us will wake up with no ups and need to generate some business.

With this in mind, I’d like to make a few observations about summer and carve a thought or two into your cabezas.

The other day, as I was watching my neighbor clean his grill, I became painfully aware that wisdom often comes from the most unlikely places. You see, my mullet-bearing friend was doing more than showing off his newly acquired farmer tan. He was revealing to me that almost everything we appreciate about summer . . . the manicured yards, the sparkling SUVs in our driveways and even the hot dogs we eat in our back yards – all of these things are the result of the same simple principle – Use the right tools and practice until you get it right.

I know the simplicity of this lesson is dumbfounding. However, before you brush me off as a simpleton let me explain.

As I was admiring the perfectly straight edges of his yard, I could see the weed eater leaning against his garage. And as I sat down in my kitchen to finish my coffee (and continue gawking in stealth mode), I remembered how great this man was at making hamburgers (I had one last summer at a neighborhood cookout). I could tell by the water in his driveway that he had just detailed his Suburban and that is when my feeble mind put it all together. All of the things above were the direct result of using the right tools and practicing a skill until he got it right.

The simplicity of this lesson is dumbfounding. However, if we apply this principle to our CRM and follow up efforts, then we may find our customers lining up “cookout style” for extra helpings.

According to a recent study Domestic dealerships convert less than 25 percent of their new car customers into “customer pay” service customers. This may seem irrelevant to those of us in sales but a similar study showed that vehicle buyers who stayed with a dealer for “customer pay” service work are 7 times as likely to purchase their next vehicle from that dealership.

According to NADA data, the average closing ratio for a fresh floor up is approximately18 percent. However, that percentage jumps to 50 percent as a “Be Back” and the percentage goes up an additional 10 percent if that person is a repeat customer (to 60 percent). Also, grosses on these customers are usually $800 higher.

With the average household having multiple vehicles and the average buying cycle being approximately 2 ½ years – this is a HUGE opportunity.

So forget about using MS Outlook or OEM lead management tools to handle your follow-up campaigns. This is like cleaning your grill with a Q-tip. Find the right tools (like Dealerskins, TrafficCenter or AutoRevenue’s e-mail services) and put your energy into “practicing until you get it right.”

Summer is here, and so my challenge to all you grill masters out there is this. Dive into your dealership’s kitchen and whip up a little be-back sauce. I promise you that in no time at all you will find your customers coming back for seconds and, with a little practice, you may just find that summer sun shining all year long.

Vol 2, Issue 7

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