If you’re a dealer, you’re a competitor. There’s no getting around that. You always want to know what the other guy is doing — and whatever it is, you want to do it better. That’s great, as long as you don’t start focusing so much on other dealers that you’re not focusing enough on your own customers.
Well, listen up, competitors: 2017 will be more competitive than ever. Here are four ways to stay more customer-focused than your competitors, so you can come out on top in sales:
Tip #1: Know your customers’ needs.
This is important even in the best of times, but it’s critical in more competitive times. As much as you want to trust your gut, you need to trust your data in order to truly know your customers and their needs. Mine your database for opportunities you can create offers for: customers in positive equity, customers whose leases end in three to six months, or customers who typically buy every three years — there’s a good chance you can get them into a new car at the same monthly payment they’re used to (or lower). Watch your web activity, too; customers who viewed certain cars on your website, or used your payment calculator, might be interested in incentives or offers you can make promptly.
Tip #2: Get personal.
Once you’re ready to make a relevant offer to a segment, make sure your messaging is personalized and persuasive. Addressing your customers by name and referencing past interactions are great ways to demonstrate your one-on-one relationship with them. If your customers know you see them as real people — not dollar signs — there’s a good chance they’ll choose your dealership to fulfill their needs.
Tip #3: Choose the right channels.
Today’s shoppers are highly connected. You can’t reach all of them in the same way; you have to develop multi-tiered campaigns that include telemarketing, direct mail, email and social media.
Fortunately, there are tools to help you accomplish this. Marketing automation software makes it easier to run those multi-tiered campaigns by allowing you to automate many of your marketing tasks. You’ll also need a CRM with mobile capabilities, so you can respond to customers from anywhere. In addition, social media tools make it easier to engage with customers and get your message out on the social media platforms they use every day.
Tip #4: Stay on your toes.
These tips aren’t the “set it and forget it” type — you have to commit yourself to constant improvement. That means looking at the data to determine whether you’re missing the mark or making a connection. Compare your conversion rates to the number of touches: If customers engage with your content, but aren’t reaching out, you may need to rethink your messaging and how you’re following up. Pay attention to open rates and read rates: If your emails aren’t getting opened and read, adjust your strategy to get — and keep — customers’ attention.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to beat the dealer next door — that’s what makes you a competitor. But to really crush the competition, don’t just do what your competition is doing, just focus on your customers by putting these tips into action today. If you’re willing to see them through, you’ll see results, and you’ll know you’re doing everything you can to be successful — during good times and bad.