Thanks to Jared and Paul for asking me to join DrivingSales.com. I may not be a true "car-guy" in the same sense as most of the contributors here have worked in a dealership and/or selling vehicles; my experiences include online business development, web technologies and social media activities.
As the IT/Web Director for Auction Direct USA, I try to help improve our guests experiences and make them to be as enjoyable and unique as possible.
I can't help but notice the ways in which the people on the front line, the sales professionals and managers, can impact the dealerships in which they're employed.
Now is the time to ask critical questions to your staff. Challenge them to raise the bar. Put simply, if they don't want to help themselves with the available resources - then get someone on your showroom floor that does in fact have the desire to continuously improve.
I'm not a big fan of putting Type-A , ADD personalities in a room, for any amount of time, to read sales training material and power point slides to them. To these people, this is equivalent to the treatment some consumers receive in a dealer showroom: It's something they're forced to do but they just don't enjoy it at all.
Here's a list of items, in no particular order or grouping, to challenge any salesperson, in any dealership, to provide as much value as possible.
Read the comments/feedback from your customer surveys from the past 30 days. [Not sending surveys? Why not?].
Set up a speaking engagement at an automotive event in your area - be known as an expert in your field.
Print the AutoTrader.com 'Autobiography' on your customers vehicle before they arrive for their appointment.
Ask your satisfied customers for a testimonial
Ask your unhappy customers how you can make them happy again. Solve their problem as best as possible.
Surprise your customers with a follow up call, just to see how things are going - even if your BDC has already called them. Build the relationship.
Join a networking group. Online or offline. Someone in those groups will need to buy or sell a vehicle someday.
Do extra lot walks and touch every vehicle. Know the products you're selling inside and out.
Add comments to your dealership's blog. [Don't have a dealer blog? Why not?]
Write an article for your dealership's blog.
Send a topical blog article link to your customers.
Tell your customers to register for your dealership's eNewsletter. [Don't have a newsletter? Why not?]
Practice your Introduction/Welcome "Elevator Pitch." [Don't have a 30-Second pitch? Why not?]
Create an email signature that includes your website, blog link and a strong call to action.
Write your selling proposition on the back of your business cards. Your customers will notice it after they leave.
Take a picture of your customer with their car when they take delivery. Add it to your dealership's blog.
Send that blog link to your customer after its published.
When appropriate, refer your customers to each other. Sending business to someone is always a good thing.
Read through every page of your dealership's website. Know where everything is so you can help your guests even more when needed.
Contribute professional, valuable and relevant content to other automotive industry blogs and message boards.
What are you doing to increase the quality of your car dealership's experience?