How to Use CRM to Grow and Maintain Your Dealership’s Customer Base

A great story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The story that you and your customers share together is the same way. Today’s technology community has recognized this phenomenon, so a CRM is your most valuable asset at each phase.

Communication depends on the lifecycle and where your customer is at the time. Are they at the beginning, when you have to grab their attention? Or, are they in the middle, where you want to be their guide, helping them make the right choice? Or, are they at the end of the journey, where you want to delight them and maintain the relationship over the long haul? We will explore how a successful dealer can use the CRM to create a great customer experience at all stages in the customer journey.

Manage Response Time

Manage Response TimeAccording to the National Sales Executive Association, the chance of converting a lead is 391% higher when the lead is converted within a minute, but it drops to 17% when it is converted within an hour. When you communicate right away, you meet that busy person where they are, before they have moved onto the next task at their desk or with their family. The easiest way to have an immediate follow-up is to set up auto-responders, according to dealer expert Chuck Marzahn.

Jeremy Ketelsen of Ketelsen RV in Hiawatha, Iowa, uses a hybrid of dealer management software auto-responders and mobile CRM to make sure his salespeople can follow up while “on the go”:

“By using our CRM mobile app, our salespeople stay on top of leads while they are on the floor with other customers, as well as during non-business hours. You can create several templates for follow up. For after-hours responses, we can create something as personal as ‘I’m at home watching TV with my wife and dog and will get back to you first thing when I walk in the door tomorrow.’ We have fun with it.”

The Follow-Up Fortune

The Follow-Up FortuneThere’s a common saying in sales that goes, “The fortune is in the follow-up.” The National Sales Executive Association says that 90% of leads are never contacted after they leave the dealership, and rarely return on their own, and only 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts.

The truth is, a lot of people don’t like doing the follow-up and may feel like they are bothering the prospect. But the data shows that prospective buyers require multiple touchpoints. In today’s multi-channel world, a successful dealer will use a mix of LinkedIn, e-mail and phone communications utilizing automation and tasks.

Keep Your Current Customers Happy

Keep Your Current Customers HappyA dealer wears many hats, and using the Parato principle, or the 80/20 rule, can help you avoid getting overwhelmed. With the CRM in your dealer management software, you can identify your best customers and put energy into acknowledging them. If you put 110% into them, you will be rewarded through loyalty and referrals. After all, 62% of all customers have at least one friend or family member that will purchase a vehicle within the next 12 months, but rarely are contacted by their salesperson.

Analyze Your Data

Analyze Your DataAs you continue the journey with the customer, their needs will change. Analyze your data to find out when standard repairs need to get done, and perhaps you can have your service department put through a friendly call. If a customer has been with you for 20 years, they may expect a different level of communication, or may appreciate a lunch with the owner.

There are many other ways to analyze data, whether it be by lead source or engagement with communications. You can also look at data from one location in a multi-location scenario to see if one sales team is stronger than the other, and address any underlying issues there may be. A successful dealer can also shine the spotlight on the most successful shop and share best practices.

Manage from the Big Picture Comfortably

Manage from the Big Picture ComfortablyManaging using KPIs and exceptions is a great alternative to micromanaging tasks. Using reports and customer profiles helps you manage from the “big picture” and reduces communication issues across the team. It also fits into the lifestyle of many dealers, since you can access reports from anywhere.

“This system gives my employees the ability to do a lot without me micro-managing, but at the same time, I still have a lot of control,” says Tim Veurink of Veurink’s RV Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“I can be at home or on the road, open up my laptop, quickly access the system, and access a lot of key things that I like to look at, such as how many sales quotes we did for the day and how many deals are posted for the day.”



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