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Dealer Marketing Learning Center
To sum up phone success in one word PDF Print E-mail

Understanding the customer

If I had to sum up the root of my success on the phone with customers in one word it would be empathy. Not to be confused with sympathy feeling bad for the customer, I’m talking about empathy; feeling with the customer and understanding their plight. 90% of us have all been in a difficult financial situation at one point or another in our lives. We have all purchased a car from a dealership and know how frustrating that can be as well. You put the two together and it’s really not a good time! Especially to the customer that has been to several dealerships already and sat there all day just to get turned down.


You can typically tell the most frustrated customers right away on the phone. They are very short almost to the point of being rude to you. They have their guard up from hello and are surely not interested in hearing your pitch. A dead give away is their first question is something obscure like “Do you accept people who are behind on their mortgage?” These are my favorite customers, not only do you get a chance here to help someone who has been kicked around, but you also get a chance to affect their day and possible whole view on car shopping.


The trick? Keep your cool and kill them with kindness and empathy! Let them know you have been buying cars far longer then you have been working for a dealership.  Make it clear you understand how frustrating car shopping can be. Ask them if they have been shopping around, most times that will get them spilling their guts to you about the horrible experience they had at 5 other dealerships. Once you’ve isolated the objection, play the hero! Explain to them how your dealership is different and how you can help them. Be as honest and upfront as possible with your limitations and what they can expect. If they are frustrated because they can’t find a 3rd row seat SUV for $150 a month, nicely let them know what they are looking for isn’t realistic. They will appreciate the honesty and you will earn some trust. Once they know you’re on their side, make a point to make them laugh!



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Taking control at hello PDF Print E-mail

Customer on phoneI struggled for a long time on the phone with price and mileage objections, until I finally figured it out. One slight change in the pitch eliminated 95% of my issues with overcoming those objections. The solution was so simple, don’t let them ask!



Typically when a customer calls you, the first thing they say is “Hello, I am calling about so and so vehicle…” or “I saw your ad for so and so vehicle ….” Pause “…what is the price / mileage on that?” 99% of people make that slight pause before carrying on to the second half of their question, that’s your que! “Oh that is a great vehicle we have been getting a ton of calls on it. Were you looking to do our buy here pay here program to rebuild your credit (or “is credit an issue with you” if your dealership doesn’t report)?”. By interjecting the moment they make that pause you take them right off their train of thought and back to what matters the fact that you can help them with their credit situation.



80% of people will answer you and give you that control, 10% will say no I just want to pay cash, and the remaining 10% will say I just want to know the price.




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Thousands of talking billboards and all it costs is a smile PDF Print E-mail

When I was younger I did web marketing for a guy who sold speakers. His business model was to import, the cheapest OEM speakers he could find, and resell them for a huge profit under his private label. We spent a lot of time and marketing dollars chasing new customers there. He had horrible customer satisfaction and less then 2% of his customers reordered. Eventually he went out of business and I lost my job, but I did learn a great lesson in product value.  If he had spent just a little more money on building a better product, he would have retained more of his customer base, and would probably still be in business today.happy

At the Leedom conference in Las Vegas Chuck Bonanno said something that really made me think about those days. He said “It’s all about building a better product, but in the Buy Here Pay Here industry your product is your customer experience not the vehicle.”  There is tremendous value in capturing that customer loyalty and best part is the only “investment” needed is a little time and attention.

By focusing on these areas you can really maximize your repeat and referral business:

1.) Give them something to talk about. Yes cold hard referral cash is a good motivator but the real key is having a staff committed to providing a great customer experience. You can wave all the money you want at your customers, but if they have had one bad experience you can kiss any hope of them ever referring someone goodbye. Having a cashier that has a bad attitude or a salesman that ignores customer problems can get expensive real quick. Make sure you pay attention and address those kinds of personnel issues. Employing a customer complaint hotline and satisfaction surveys are a good way to monitor how your employees are treating your customers. Overall it’s the little things that create a good experience. Do you have magazines and coloring books in your waiting areas? Or set out goodies for the holidays? Do your employees tell your customers on a regular basis they appreciate their business?   If your dealership is anything like ours you probably bend over backwards everyday for your customers. When a customer gets a special treatment do you make it clear you went above and beyond? Or do you leave them to just expect it the next time? It never hurts to make someone feel like you did something special for them, even if you really didn’t go that far above the norm. Train your staff to utilize power phrases like “Typically they don’t do this, but since you’re one of our best customers” or “I really went to bat for you” or “This isn’t going to be easy, but I will work my hardest” or “I am so excited I was able to get this exception, you really deserve it”

2.) Ask for the referral. That may sound like a “duh” statement, but are your employees really asking for referrals?  I’m not just talking about the salesman at the close of a sale either. When you collector makes a payment arrangement with a hard up customer, do they remind them how they could make a few extra bucks by referring a friend? When your service manager fixes something that you normally wouldn’t cover, does he/she ask for a referral? Catching your customers when they feel more obligated to return a favor is a good way to get them signed on to a give and take relationship. Create a company culture where customers who refer friends and family are highly regarded and even given special treatment. Don’t be shy about letting your customers know why they got that special treatment and encourage them to continue the behavior. On the same token, gently remind customers who have not yet referred anyone that they have yet to reach this “exclusive status”.

3.) Back it up in writing. If you’re not touting “Refer a friend and get $100 cash” on every piece of marketing material you have, then you are seriously missing the boat. Referrals aren’t just limited to current customers either; prospects make good referral foot soldiers too. Is the phrase “refer a friend” on your business cards? Your follow-up mail? Your website? Is it on your Christmas and birthday cards? Your Print ads? Your hold music? Is it on every email that your employees send out? Is it hanging in nice little frames at every sales desk, in the finance office, and by the payment window? Maximize your repeat and referral opportunities and you will increase your business without spending one more dollar in advertising.



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If you could watch only one video this year ... this is the one. PDF Print E-mail


Once in century a video comes along that changes the course of history as we know it. This is that video. Not only is this video a filmography masterpiece, it's subject mater is just breath taking!

Well what are you waiting for?  






Umm until I figure out why my embeded video isn't working the link to view this amazing video is here:


The Germans love David Hasselhoff .........................The Sweds love ..... well watch the video.

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Google Adwords the next PDF Print E-mail
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google adwordsSo here’s something I was thinking about the other day for the retail dealer, and if anyone tries this and it works great I’ll take a 2% royalty fee for the idea!  I’ve never heard or seen anyone doing this yet so there might be a reason for it, like Google constricting you maybe... or it just might be the next hottest marketing technique.

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