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Recognize returning customers to grow trust and sales

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on February 7, 2019

How you manage each potential customers’ experience with your dealership is critical to closing the sale

Customers in the market for a car don’t just follow a straight line from wanting to buying. They shift between on and offline an estimated four times, but it’s the dealership that almost always closes with an average of 2.4 visits per sale. And when nearly two-thirds (64%) of car buyers visit the same dealership they ultimately buy from more than once before making a purchase, how you respond to repeat visitors clearly matters.

Customers want to be remembered

Customers don’t like to repeat themselves. Whether it’s online or in person, 81% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for personalized help.

If they viewed a particular model last time, keep the details and be ready to answer questions. If finance was explored, have the latest calculations ready to display. Getting right to the point saves customers time and makes them feel valued, making them more likely to stay and buy.

Train frontline staff, not just the marketers, to manage data

Customers value personalized interactions and that means more than just dealing with the same sales executive. When you advertise online, through Google Ads or Facebook, for example, there are tools to help you create customer segments so you can target them by their interests and online behaviour, and re-market to them when they leave without buying.

In person, staff need to be trained to have conversations that help create a detailed customer picture, as well as convert returning customers. Sales staff might inquire about favourite leisure activities, for example. A family doing the Saturday football run will have very different needs from fans of kayaking. Making a note of this to show returning customers appropriate models is time-saving and says, ‘this dealership understands my needs.’

Software manages data, but good habits make the most of it

There is a lot of software on the market to help you manage your customer’s information, and the version you choose depends on the size of your customer base and how active you are on and offline. On its own, software is good at managing the activity happening on email, or in display ads, or social media, but can struggle to link what happens online with activity on the lot.

Storing data in the right place, keeping it up to date or simply sticking to an agreed set of rules when inputting all helps you match up your customer activity and make better sales suggestions as a result.

Customers travel all over the place—on and offline—when considering buying something as significant as a car. When they visit again, and again, you need to be ready to greet them like an old friend.

Topics: car buying, sales