Value is the foundation of sales. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, every buyer wants the experience of owning a product to justify the expenditure. Customer loyalty is generally based on brand recognition and effective marketing techniques, both of which influence the perception of value.
In auto sales those elements are present, but there’s something more compelling that sets the industry apart. When it comes to the B2C realm, the auto industry has a particular edge in creating value. Unlike in an average retail sales scenario, auto dealers have a unique opportunity to build personal relationships with customers that can last for many years, decades even. When dealers focus on relationships, it creates value for customers.
And value drives sales.
Creating value means keeping customers satisfied every step of the way. In today’s digital world, there are even more ways to keep customers engaged. This requires ongoing training, management best practices, and a little bit of creativity. When dealers get it right, in turn they get loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.
In auto sales, relationships often begin with a value proposition. This is a statement visible on a dealer’s website and on printed materials and visuals throughout the showroom. The goal is to present customers with clearly defined expectations for a positive experience they won’t get anywhere else.
A well-crafted value proposition is a great attention grabber. Even better? A dealership equipped at all levels to follow through. Here are four simple ways to nail it.
1. Product Experts
The sales department is the first touch point for customers. In such a competitive market, a good first impression is everything. Customers want a trustworthy resource for their questions and concerns.
The goal: Equip each sales team member to be a product expert. Require ongoing education for your sales team. This could include refreshers on the features and benefits of various vehicles, knowledge regarding service-related issues, and role-playing exercises to keep salespeople on their toes.
2. Names & Faces
Selling the car isn’t the end of the journey. Part of ownership is ongoing service, whether it’s for regular maintenance or larger issues.
The goal: Keep your service department in the loop. Before new owners leave the lot, introduce them to your service team. Research shows this increases the likelihood of new buyers returning to a dealership for service.
3. Social Media
Don’t neglect one of your best tools for customer engagement.
Recent data showed that 66 percent of car buyers or owners clicked on Facebook auto ads. It’s clear customers are paying attention, and paid ads are but a slice of the pie.
The goal: Keep active profiles on more than one platform (but don’t feel like you need to be on every platform). Provide a mix of content including sales, entertainment, and information. Train your sales team on effective social media posts for their personal pages.
4. Smart Marketing
In the age of online auto browsing, transparency is the new normal. From the time a potential buyer walks onto the lot to the moment he/she becomes a confirmed buyer and on through to the ongoing service of that vehicle, customers are paying more attention than ever.
The goal: Provide all the information you can up front. Don’t wait for customers to ask questions; be prepared in advance. When providing information via digital avenues, think user-friendly. Make it easy to access and comprehend.