When I started selling cars I was taught the ‘three strike rule’ when it comes to following up a customer who has enquired but is yet to purchase. This was, “Once you’ve made three follow up phone calls that haven’t been returned, cross out the customer and move on to the next one”.
But others think, “Follow up, follow up, follow up, until they tell you to rack off.”
But what works BEST for your sales team in 2016?
With customers doing more and more to avoid salespeople now, our approach to follow-up has to change from both of these techniques in order to be successful. It’s not about the number of contacts but, rather, the quality and method of the follow-up.
Think of this: the reason you have to follow a customer up is because when they first enquired they said, “NO”; but what they really said is, “We don’t KNOW enough to make a decision right now”.
So therefore our focus of follow-up has to change from just contacting customers numerous times, hoping they will come in, to giving the customer more information to help them make a decision.
Here are three strategies to help your team maximise their follow-up in both quality and method:
1. Implement ‘The Hour of Power’
The concept of ‘The Hour of Power’ is a one-hour period in your sales team’s day during which they do nothing but follow customers up in order to set appointments for the day ahead.
From my experience and research, the best time to do this activity is between 9am and 10am every day. This is typically one of the quieter periods for enquiry in your Dealership, therefore your sales team should be free to allocate this full hour to follow-up. It also seems a time for people to be available to receive your call, return a text message or reply to an email before their day gets too busy.
When I implemented this in a dealership I managed, there were only two reasons a salesperson was to leave their desk between 9am and 10am:
- There was a customer in the Dealership.
- They had a severe bowel problem!
During this hour you concentrate on communicating with customers via phone, text and email, whichever method of communication they prefer.
No distractions; no calls from the pre-delivery department or talking about who won the football yesterday – just focus on setting a game plan for a successful selling day ahead.
2. Give relevant information
Something we have always been scared to do is to giving customers too much information for fear that it gives them control and therefore takes it from us salespeople. But this is old thinking. Today, if we can further educate and resource the customer with information that helps them make a decision, we will become the trusted source and therefore attract customers back.
Email is the best way to send this info, and you can start by sending:
- comparison data
- reviews and articles on the car of interest
- testimonies from satisfied customers
- Youtube videos
- incoming and current stock options, and
- financing quotes and info.
3. Create urgency
If you want to succeed with your follow-up, you must give the customer a reason for coming back in.
It might be notifying them of a sale event; a manager’s special; you’re in the neighbourhood and can drop the car to them for a test drive; wanted to let them know about some new stock, or have a potential buyer for their car. Whatever the reason you must have a plan and reason for them returning to your dealership, otherwise your follow-up will be a frustrating and pointless exercise.
And if you get connected to their voicemail, leave a vibrant message such as: “Please give me a call ASAP, I have some really exciting news!”
Don’t give up!
Reaching Your Potential