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From: Jared Hamilton
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Jessica Russell

Jessica Russell Dealer Services Manager

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I love reading blogs. They are an amazing insight to what is going on in the mind of the writer. So, after reading blog after blog I am impressed and ecstatic that everyone seems to be aboard the customer retention train!
Here’s the rub. Everyone (okay, most everyone) would agree that the key to profitability in a dealership is not based on units sold or hours per R.O…it’s based on how many of those sold are retained as customers and refers their friends and family to the dealership. Yet, no one seems to have a real strategy or plan on how to get it.
So, for your consideration I would like to share the following suggestion: You have to implement, measure and monitor a process that is done 100% of the time to get your best customer (the one you just sold a car to or completed service for) to keep coming back! Sounds so simple, right?
Every dealer has had the “rah-rah!” mentality that gets everybody pumped up, or the CRM System that would basically run itself with little engagement. And, most of them would tell you they should’ve just stood in the showroom and threw the money they spent up in the air for all the good it did.
Now, before everyone gets upset, I am a believer in technology. And who doesn’t love a good fist pump during the sales meeting?  I just know that when all those great ideas and systems are left up to the employees themselves, it inevitably will fail. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have great guys and gals in your sales and service departments, because let’s be honest, they are the foundation of your dealership. They are the ones that begin to build the relationship with your customer in the first place! It’s just that at the end of the day we’ve all done what we are responsible for. If you were to ask one of your salespeople or service advisors what they are responsible for, they will probably say: “Sell the Customer,” “Close the Deal,” “Up Sell!” or something along those lines.
What I’m talking about is accountability. Being accountable for the customer…and what happens. Continuing and building on the relationship they have started with the customer. Transferring the trust they have built to others at the dealership (Service Retention, anyone?) So, who holds them accountable to do this? Your CRM, your Desk Managers? Don’t they have enough “responsibilities?”
My point is this. If you want real customer retention, and the Millions of Dollars that come along with it, you have to consistently measure, monitor and maintain the right processes and systems. And, these must be implemented and part of the dealership culture. You cannot do this by dictating it (“They’ll do it because I said so!), force of personality or a “buy-in.” It has to be measured and coached to perfection.
If you would like to see the Millions of Dollars that exist for your dealership, I invite you to email me to look at a spreadsheet and plug in YOUR dealerships numbers. When you feel like screaming “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!” call or e-mail me and I guarantee you I can!

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