Coach Ken: Pandemic Strategy

In Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, it starts with the words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” These words could certainly apply to today’s world of automotive sales. It is tough to find vehicles, but they are selling at record grosses! Many commercial sales professionals have taken the approach that since they have very little to sell, as well as being in the middle of a pandemic, that the best approach is to sit in the dealership and wait for customers and prospects to call.  This is the best time to solidify your current relationships and create a strategy to contact new prospects, which will lead to new customers!  If ever there was a time to get “back to the basics,” it is right now!  Here are the steps that our dealerships are using successfully!

This is a great time to make a list of all your customers and prospects and put them into priority categories.  I call it the “Four Tier System.” We place clients and prospects into four categories or “tiers.” Tier Four consists of new prospects who have not bought or customers who have bought very little from you, but have potential based on size and proximity to your dealership. Put them on a mailing list (email or US Mail) and start a regimen of calling five of these targets every day until you get through the entire list.  What do you talk about? Easy. Find out how they are weathering the pandemic and update them on the commercial auto industry, as well as your dealership.  Let them know that now is a good time to consider ordering based on current shortages.

Your Tier Three consists of the newest customers.  It is important to create a powerful impression upfront which can be simpler than you think! It starts with a “Thank You” card after each delivery and conducting follow up calls after each delivery to make sure you met the customer’s expectations.  It also means asking for referrals! I would advise that you email me at [email protected] and ask for our “Referral Word Track” which will guarantee that you get 10 to 20 solid referrals!

Your Tier Two consists of customers who buy from you, but also shop you on each purchase. You have done a good job for these customers, but have not maintained regular contact. Put the Tier Two customers on a regular contact schedule using the “MVP” system.  Not “Most Valuable Player,” but “Mail, Visit, Phone.” Your job is to increase their loyalty factor and this is done by building a personal relationship. This is still a face-to-face business and going the “extra mile” to create a “Wow Factor” sets you apart.

The Tier One customers are your most loyal but unfortunately, we tend to take our best customers for granted, thinking we don’t need to maintain regular contact with them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We put our clients on an electronic newsletter system, and you can do the same.  We provide this service to our dealers where we send monthly newsletters from the dealership sales staff. The end receiver does not know we exist, and the commercial salesperson gets all the credit! Also, make sure you know all the important dates for all your customers, including birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. A simple card on each occasion is worth its weight in gold!

Here are words to live by, “The road to the extra mile is never crowded.” Taking this seldom traveled road puts you on the path to being a superstar!  It’s time to hit the road!