Dealership happy customers

5 Tips From Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec To Improve Sales At Your Dealership

Robert Herjavec

When a person comes to your dealership, they’re in the market for a car. Whether they make a purchase is an entirely different story. As a result, you may find selling your inventory takes a lot longer than it should. 

According to Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec, selling can be “easier than most people think.” Whether you’re a seasoned dealer or are in your first year, there’s always room for improvement. 

Here are 5 tips straight from the entrepreneur himself on how you can improve sales at your dealership: 

  1. You’re not just selling a car. You’re selling yourself: If a customer shows up and doesn’t like you, they aren’t going to want to do business with you. Dealers are notorious for being overly pushing, trying to sell anything on four wheels. Be the dealer you would want to buy a car from, and you’ll be more effective in building that trust with your customers. 
  2. Listen: The highest-performing salespeople in any business listen just as much as they speak, if not more. Customers can tell when someone is genuinely interested in what they have to say, versus someone who’s just nodding their head and eager for the commission they’d make off the sale. The more you actively listen to their wants and needs, the quicker you can help them find a car and have a faster deal. 
  3. Know your customers: It’s essential to know every customer has their own wants and needs, including sticking to their set budget. Dealers often make the mistake of trying to sell the car that’s out of someone’s price range, and as a result, end up without a sale. Be realistic and fulfill your client’s needs by helping them find a car that sticks to their budget. You’ll both be more satisfied in the end.
  4. Discover what’s important to them: Part of knowing your customers is discovering what’s important to them when making their car purchase. What will the car be used for? What features of a vehicle are important to them? This shows you’re paying attention and want to help meet those needs. The more you understand their needs, the better you will be able to promote a vehicle that can meet them. 
  5. Keep it simple: Less is more when it comes to selling cars since you don’t want to overwhelm them with information to sound knowledgeable. According to Robert, “the mark of true knowledge in anything is how well you can explain to the average person.” Focus on the key points, listen, and guide how your customers will feel. Once you do that, you’ll have no problem improving sales at your dealership. 

While 2020 is the start of a new decade, automotive pundits were predicting another decline in auto sales even before the strong economy faltered. It can never hurt to get into the habit of huddling up with your sales team and reviewing sales tips from expert salespeople, like Robert Herjavec.

Woman in face mask

How To Sell Cars In A Post Covid “New Normal”

Depending on when you read this, we are not there yet, but it feels like we may be getting closer to “new normal” and “post covid”. In the news, the headlines about when we will reopen, and who will reopen first is starting to outpace the grim statistic headlines. Maybe it’s the rebirth of Spring, or maybe we are just about at our wits end. One thing that is very clear right now is that there is no plan. And likely for your dealership, you don’t have a reopening plan either. Opening back up isn’t going to be the same as opening for business say on a Tuesday in February. Each new day in the early days of reopening will be new and full of new challenges.

Will there be a car-buying boom post covid?

There is some speculation that at least for a year, there is going to be a fear of using public transportation. This could be a good thing for new and used car dealers everywhere, especially those in more densely populated areas. The RV industry is already predicting a turnaround in 2021 due to fears of public travel.

Will there be new laws or constraints post covid?

Swift moving Governors took action to declare states of emergency, allowing them to take the reins of the state and issue new orders like stay at home orders that were enforceable by law. Essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies adopted new social distancing protocols, like limiting the number of people in a store. In New York, Governor Cuomo closed all dealerships to public car sales. In order to sell a vehicle during the health crisis, it must be done online. Are your salespeople trained to sell a car 100% online if it were to become the new way of selling?

Here is how this could work:

1. Your salespeople become Internet sales specialists who provide customers with information on vehicles over the phone, via email, chat, or even video using internet services such as loom, zoom, or facetime.

2. Your internet sales experts then send videos explaining the vehicle and its special features.

3. Test drives. Currently, those are banned in New York but will eventually come back. When they do, you may have to have your customers make an appointment in advance so that you can have the vehicle sanitized ahead of time. No longer will you be able to just make a photocopy of the driver’s license. And what about having the salesperson along for the test drive? Will you need to re-evaluate the policy at your dealership?

4. F&I becomes more virtual as almost all paperwork for the purchase is done electronically.

5. Pickup and walkthrough will also require a final sanitizing and will be an additional change to your current delivery process, and labor cost.

The lack of, or reduction of, human contact will be a real barrier to what was once a very human-to-human and personal transaction.

There is some upside to a new-normal in car buying. Salespeople will need to become much more knowledgeable about the product. This is especially true of used cars as well, where salespeople tend to be less informed about what options are on a vehicle, how they function, and what makes them desirable over other models. Salespeople will need to do their research constantly on all the features of all the cars on the lot. When you have to sell a vehicle to a person who can’t physically see it, you will need to present the features in a way that is enticing to the buyer. The car becomes the salesperson.

Selling in a post-covid world will be a new business challenge, but one that all of your competition is facing. The keys to success are to get ahead of it, make a plan, and train early.

Were Open Sign

How To Let Customers Know Your Dealership Is Open For Business During The Coronavirus

Even if your state has a shelter in place order, dealerships are allowed to and will continue to stay open as you are all deemed essential businesses.

However, your customers may not be so sure of your status. Sales will undoubtedly be down this month and perhaps for months to come. That is why it is essential to communicate today that despite the current situation; your dealership is still open for business. Continue to generate as many sales as possible to help operational continuance during and immediately after the pandemic has passed.

Your dealership has likely also experienced some altered protocols with how you deal with the public to maintain social distancing.  As this has likely altered your normal business procedures, and how customers are accustomed to working with a dealership. It is important to get the word out about any alterations to how the public is to conduct business with your dealership. This includes information such as “the doors are locked, but we are here to meet your needs” type of communication.

Here are four quick and easy ways to let your customers know that you are still open for business during the outbreak.

1. Google My Business

When people Google your business or when they Google the phrase “(Brand) dealership in (town name)” they are going to find the Google maps, also known as Google My Business, as the very first result, except any Google ads that might appear this may differ by specific keyword searches).

Not many people realize that you can post messages directly into Google My Business. This message can be a post, a blog, even a video. If you have claimed your Google My Business (GMB) page, you will have the ability to post messages on your GMB page.

It’s important to realize that the GMB page is different from your website. When a person clicks on your dealership name from the maps, the box that pops up to the right is the GMB page, and within that page, it can contain a link to your website, and it can contain content.

How to Access Google My Business

To get to this for your shop, you need to log into your Google my business account https://www.google.com/business/ and click sign in. If you have a google account, this will be the @gmail.com email that you used to claim the page. If you have not claimed your page, you will need to do that.

Once you are signed in you will see a side bar with options. Click on “posts”

From there you will see a box with some options such as “add Offer, Add Update, Add Event, and Add Product. Click on “Add Update”

From there you can insert a photo and add your text.

Once you are done, hit “publish” and this is what you will see:

Here is an example of a dealership that takes advantage of this Google My business posting option:

It is worth noting that of all the Ford dealerships we searched in this particular are, only one dealership was posting content to their GMB page. Unfortunately, they missed an opportunity to post a message directly to their customers here.

Clicking on “View all” shows a list of posts from this dealership:

2. Website Pop up

Posting a pop-up to your website is the fastest way to disseminate information to your customers. Your website is where people will go to confirm if you are open (if they haven’t looked on your GMB page). Most dealerships are using a platform from Dealeron, Dealer.com, or some other similar dealership platform. Each of these service providers should offer the ability to quickly add a pop-up. If you have a custom-coded website, you may want to contact your website development company to request that they add a pop-up.

3. Social media posts

The third place people will look to see if you are still open is your social media. I don’t need to walk you through how to make a social media post, but our suggestion is you just create a post and make it a sticky post or pin it so that it will always stay on top until you un-stick it.

4. Email blast

Now would be a good time to do an email blast to your whole database. You could either do this on a dealership level or have your sales staff reach out individually to their customer list. Let your prospects know how to reduce their interaction with outside people during this time of social distancing. You may also want to include any discounts or rebates that are happening now.

So there you go, four quick ways to let your customers know that you are open for business and taking every precaution with their vehicle. Stay healthy and stay safe.

Auto Service Drive

Customer Service For Dealerships: Why Your Efficient Dealership Process Is Inefficient

  • Setting Expectations
  • Reducing Customer Upset
  • Service Advisor is Key

If there’s one thing that dealerships have in common, it’s that they are always striving for new and better ways to improve their process. Especially when it comes to working with the customer. However, it seems that the more methods that are developed for a more efficient dealership process, the complete opposite occurs, and you only get frustrated customers. So how do you make sure your efficient dealership process isn’t, well, inefficient? Keep reading to find out.

When a customer makes a service appointment online, they expect it to help in the overall process from start to finish. The last thing they expect is to show up to the dealership to have a long wait and a completely different estimate than what they were given online. This damages trust, which is the biggest thing your dealership needs to establish with customers. Take a look at your online customer appointment process from the customer’s perspective, and make sure it’s setting the right expectations. If a tool that’s designed for customer efficiency is lacking in the “efficient” part, then customers will want to take their business elsewhere.

There is a lot that goes on in a dealership to keep all systems running smoothly. While the service department is fueled to keep the repairs coming and being completed quickly, the customer wants their car serviced at an agreeable cost, also in a quick matter. But the real engine behind both these operations is the Service Advisor. They are the face of the dealership and essentially the person that the customer puts their trust in. In addition, a Service Advisor helps the technicians with any sudden changes & helps them maintain an efficient process front end to back end.

One of the ways that a dealership can improve a customer’s trust is to inform them ahead of time of the potential for additional service requirements. Often, the estimate that an online form gives a customer is calculated assuming a customer has kept up-to-date on all repairs and maintenance for that mileage. This online form doesn’t know if services have been declined in the past or even if the car is past due for an oil change. It’s only when a customer arrives at a dealership and interacts with a service advisor that they experience an up-sell, which can cause a customer to get upset and make them feel they’re getting ripped off. A simple way this can be improved is by having a Service Advisor follow up with customers who made online appointments. They can ask about their last service repairs and other preliminary questions that’ll save everyone time when they arrive at the dealership.

Another way that a Service Advisor can help customer service efficiency is through having a Pre-Authorization process set up to provide both customer expectation and charge authorization. This has been a great way to improve customer efficiency that benefits both the technician and the customer. Also, you should establish effective communication methods to keep the customer informed throughout the process. Find out what is the best way to get ahold of them: their business number, texting their cell, email, etc.

No matter what steps you take to improve the efficiency at your dealership, you must always perform the walk-around. Upsells usually occur during the walk-around, especially when they’re more cosmetic repairs as opposed to collision related repairs. This builds trust with the customer as it shows consistency and thoroughness on the part of the dealership. It doesn’t even need to be more than 90 seconds, but the trust is lasting. If you remember to keep the customer as your priority and integrate some of these customer-focused efficiencies, then your dealership’s service process will significantly improve.

5 Simple and Effective Ways To Earn Customer Loyalty for your PDR Business

  • Customer Service
  • Communication
  • Incentives
  • Honesty
  • Innovation

New customers are exciting for any business. Sales are the lifeblood of the company and new customers mean growth. If the job is done right, the customers will be back again. This is known as “customer loyalty.” But how can you earn customer loyalty in the PDR industry? Surely, you don’t want them getting into yet another car accident to keep them coming back. There’s always a way you can let customers know just how important they are, even if you never see them again. Hello: referrals!

Here are 5 simple and effective ways to earn customer loyalty:

  • Great Customer Service: From the first phone call to when the customer first arrives, it is important that they are treated well. Studies show that over 50% of customers have ended a relationship with a business because of how they were treated. How you can ensure great customer service could be as simple as offering someone a water bottle or asking them how their day is going. Check to see if your customer service team is answering all of the customer’s questions and making them feel valued. Customers will remember when they’re treated well and when they’re treated horribly. On average, people who have a poor experience are more likely to share that opinion with others, and to share it with more people than they would a positive experience.
    Put simply: Happy customers = more business. Unhappy customers = no business.
  • Communication: By setting up a database of your customers’ contact information, you’re able to maintain communication in a number of different ways. These can be newsletters, birthday greetings, or some of the latest customer-relevant news in the industry that shows you’re a shop that knows the industry more than your competition. But don’t send the same junky emails that your competition is sending them with throwaway advice like “how to plan a road trip tip” and “how to keep your dog safe in a hot car.” Give the customers information they can actually use, or at least a personal message that will show you care about them as a customer (you can still automate these). and always, always ask for referrals.
  • Incentives: People love it when they get a little something extra for their business. Consider setting up a reward system that with any new referral from an existing customer gives them either a percentage off their next service, free car wash, etc. Whatever it is, these little perks help establish customer loyalty and gives them an incentive to reach out to their friends and family to be new customers.
  • Honesty: There’s a phrase that goes, “honesty is the best policy.” That’s because it’s been proven to work with the most successful companies and individuals. This is not to say go ahead and make mistakes. Rather, it’s about being upfront about whenever an error occurs, but maintain a sense of humility and apologize. By maintaining this sense of humility, it allows the customers to empathize with you & you with them, as opposed to jumping straight to anger with you over making a mistake in the first place. Just remember to be truly honest while being, well, honest. Nobody likes someone B.S.ing their way out of a mistake.
  • Innovation and Technology: Where a lot of auto repair shops and technicians make mistakes is they are stuck in their old ways of conducting business. Piles of paperwork containing valuable documents from estimates to repair notes consume offices and sometimes, all the business owner can really do is rely on the word of their technicians. This old way of conducting business may have worked 20 years ago, but we live in an ever-evolving technological world where the products and services we use become outdated. By using the latest technologies available that are easy to use and designed specifically for the auto repair industry, it allows you to be current in a better & smooth work environment. Not to mention, it looks a lot better for a customer to walk into a shop that’s not stuck in the stone age with desktop computers and fax machines. Consider using technology to make the transaction easier on the customer – from scheduling an appointment on your website to approving and paying for the repair right from the technician’s mobile device.

 

All in all, ask yourself what it would take for a business to earn your trust? Is it feeling important? Is it being truthful and owning up when they’ve made a mistake? Is it communicating with you and providing you with relevant knowledge? Chances are, a business earned your trust through making you feel valued and that you were in good hands with knowledgeable people. Whether you’re an auto repair technician or a fully operating shop, if you follow these simple and effective ways to earn a customer’s loyalty, you’ll have one thing money can’t buy: trust.

Why Your Dealership Should Prioritize Convenience And Transparency

Why Your Dealership Should Prioritize Convenience And TransparencyAccording to Dealership News, research from a Cox Automotive Service Industry Study showed dealerships are losing out on roughly $266 billion dollars a year in service revenue. Beyond that, the biggest contributing factor to it all is customer trust and inconvenience. Unfortunately, many dealerships aren’t doing enough for customers to feel completely comfortable with their purchasing process.

Released back in January, the study also showed that 70% of all customers who bought or leased a vehicle from a franchised dealership did not return for continued vehicle service. The reason behind this? Well, they’d rather take their chances with established body shops and independent repair shops. In fact, the study showed customer service satisfaction with dealerships was about on par with the small body shop you may see down the street.

With the average age of vehicles out on the road sitting at around 11.5 years old, it isn’t too surprising that dealership services see a reduction in visits as a car ages. However, on the plus side, dealerships still lead the way against third-party businesses for overall customer visits– but lag in customer service, convenience, and transparency.

Dealership News suggests a few simple fixes for this would be:

  • Providing customers a way to pay online.
  • Schedule appointments with customers via their mobile devices.
  • Picking up and delivering serviced vehicles to and from customer locations.
  • Provide simple repairs to their vehicles outside of the shop setting.
  • Providing customers with information, such as trade-in value, services, price ranges, estimates, and competitive ranges.
  • Give customers a way to monitor their vehicle’s service remotely.

Jim Roche, Vice President of Marketing and Managed Services with Xtime told Fixed Ops Journal: “Dealers have to figure out how to get your vehicle to the service, or the service to your vehicle.” Which is in line with the study that also suggests customers are willing to pay more or travel longer distances if the customer service is great.

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

Four Tips to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Dealership

In 2019, dealerships have a lot of competition when it comes to returning buyers, servicing, and simple repairs. However, if you focus on the customer experience first, you’ll keep them coming back for years to come. Nowadays, it’s not just their time at your dealership that counts, but also their convenience when visiting your website or waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.

The auto industry is evolving every day, and the way your customers experience your business is changing, too. Below, we have four tips that will keep customers coming back to your dealership.

Prioritize A Simple, Effective, & Informative Online Experience

Obviously, smartphones are everywhere. We all know it, and because of this fact, the way customers experience your business begins with a Google search. Typically, they’ll see a list of businesses (on Google My Business)  in their area that match what they typed in. They’ll go through, read reviews, look at pictures you upload, and then they’ll go to your website.

Customer service begins at first touch– your website. If it’s easy to navigate, provides useful information, and puts simplifying the customer experience first, then you’re much more likely to gain their business– and keep it.

Be Transparent With Customers

First and foremost, this will gain your customer trust. People know when salesmen are just trying to close a deal. It’s also safe to say many dealerships believe front end sales are where all of their money is made. However, in today’s market, it’s not so simple.

If you treat a customer well and prioritize their comfort, they’ll be more likely to come back for business and refer you. Beyond that, when you set expectations,  provide exact costs, estimates, rebates, and work with them through every step of the process, you’ll develop a positive relationship.

However, as you’ll probably guess, this transparency doesn’t end with the in-person meetings. The best dealerships have software in place that will calculate everything a customer needs to know, instantly, for their purchase– including all of the things (and more) that we listed above. Whether it’s for service, or simply offering information, you can send out automated text alerts for customers to stay updated, giving them another easy way to connect with you.

Keep In Touch With Customers

Whether it’s through emails, texts, or phone calls, it’s important to check in with customers every now and then. This isn’t to suggest you should pester them on a regular basis (don’t do that), but sending out promotions every now and then is never a bad idea. Beyond that, if you have a social media page, that can be a great way to stay in contact with customers and provide updates on anything you’re doing that they may be interested in.

Have A Management Software System In Place

We touched on it a little bit above, but it’s crucial to have a system in place that helps make the customer experience as easy and informative as possible. In 2019, the majority of the most successful dealerships have a software system in place that not only increases operational efficiency, but also can create custom forms, email templates for promotions, provide customers with text message updates on services, and inform them of pricing and estimates on the fly.

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

Product Updates