If you’re in a business relationship with anyone – a client, vendor, or customer how important is that relationship to you? Do you value the relationship? Do you want to nurture it?
An automotive relationship, like any relationship, is a two-way street. The expectations of both parties need to be clear and easily understandable. Applying the Golden Rule is also a good idea: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That is a very powerful statement, and one I try to practice in my daily life, both in business and personal matters.
Good communication is key for any business relationship to grow and thrive. Even when conflicts surface (and they will), keeping the lines of communicationopen at all times is extremely important. Meet conflicts head-on, no matter how frightening they may seem at the time. The sooner the issues are out on the table and dealt with, the sooner you can get back on track and back to business-as-usual.
Another thing to keep in mind is letting people know you appreciate them. Thank you notes, cards and e-mails are always a good idea, and they never go out of style. People love to be appreciated. If you are receiving great business from someone, always be sure to let them know. You will feel better for it, and so will they.
Another great idea is to reach out and touch your clients and customers on a regular basis by sending them monthly newsletters. This is a wonderful way to keep in touch, both to let them know you are thinking about them and to remind them about you as well.
Remember, you get out of a great relationship that you put into it. Value those you do business with. Nurture the relationships, so they are always growing and prospering. Keep this up and you will always have a garden full of healthy, happy business contacts.
Do you have a social mediapage for your dealership? Do you have an active social media page? Dealers use social media in one of three ways: they have engaging social media pages which spread their brand and attract customers, they have social media pages that are not used very much and do not attract customers, or they have no social media pages at all. If you have a reason not to use social media, you may want to read on and reconsider.
Why You Should Use Social Media
Social media can help you reach more customers, build loyalty and grow your business. You can gain valuable feedback from customer comments, engage new potential customers with great posts and even (shocker!) have fun with your dealership marketing.
There are lots of automated social media solutions that dealerships can use effectively to reduce time and cost, provide valuable data for analysis of their customer base and increase customer interaction. There’s really no good reason for dealerships not to be on social media.
1. But I Already Have a Great Customer Base! (It Can be Even Better)
Even if you already have dedicated customers, you can always grow your business and further engage your current customers. Social media enables you to reach out to an entirely new audience who may never have found out about your dealership otherwise. It helps spread the word about your great customer service, awesome sales and promotions, featured vehicles and so on. Social media posts can be easily shared by visitors to the page so you can quickly increase the amount of people who view your messages.
You can also use social media to build loyalty with your current customers and encourage them to come back for regular maintenance. Provide helpful resources like vehicle guides, maintenance tips, recall information and more in order to establish yourself as a trustworthy automotive expert. Offer exclusive social media coupons, discounts and contests to get customers interested and drive business.
2. But I Don’t Have Time! (You Don’t Need Much)
Maintaining an active, engaging social media page doesn’t take that much time out of your day anymore. Whereas you used to have to post messages manually and take time to update your page every day, it’s now very simple to automate the entire process. With an automated social media solution, you can create a series of messages whenever you have a few minutes then schedule them to go out throughout the month.
Automated message posting helps you keep your social media pages active while dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to build a strong social media presence. In addition, an automated solution provides useful report data so you can see when the best time is to schedule your posts to go out.
3. But it Doesn’t Have a Significant Impact! (Actually it Does)
Many dealers don’t believe that social media really makes a difference to whether or not they gain more customers and grow their business. In today’s automotive industry, this is no longer true. Most customers now expect dealerships to have a social media presence.
It’s similar to a dealership not having a website, which makes customers wonder if it’s a legitimate business. If your dealership is not active on social media, customers often interpret it as your dealership not being successful or serious, or not focusing on growth. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with customers. Show off your dealership on social media!
And, as we have mentioned, you can review your report data to see exactly how much interaction each social media post is getting and who is seeing it, liking, retweeting and commenting. This means that you can see exactly which posts are making an impact and which posts are being passed over.
4. But I Don’t Know How! (It’s Really Simple)
Social media is not a mysterious puzzle. It’s basically about creating messages that will inform your audience with relevant information, engage their interest and entertain them, or promote your dealership in an indirect way. Think about what you would like to read about or view.
Pictures and videos are great and get high interaction rates
Customer reviews and customer success stories are useful for building trust
Contests and coupons get customers interested, draw business and steer them away from competitors
Links to relevant resources that will help customers manage their vehicles or make automotive decisions help build loyalty and establish trust
Event promotions increase attendance at dealership events
You can find many more social media tips by searching for automotive social media tips on a searchengine.
If you use an automated solution, it’s easy to create, edit and post messages. Managing your social media pages with automation doesn’t take time out of your day, and automated solutions are designed to be simple to use for non-technical users.
Staying in touch with each customer throughout the year can help you increase business, by keeping your dealership in customers’ minds and by providing them relevant information when they need it. It could take many hours each day to do this manually, but if you have an automated marketing and communication solution it can take as little time as a few hours at the beginning of every month.
With automation, once you create the basic messages and decide how you want them to be sent that’s really all you need to do. Your customers receive messages that are relevant to their needs and also you are able to maintain consistent contact with hundreds, even thousands, of customers easily. So what types of messages should you create?
You knew this had to be the first one. Seasonal sales and special promotions help drive dealership business more than almost any other kind of message. Customers love a good deal, especially if it’s exclusive. You can offer special deals to customers from Sales Managers who choose to sign up for your email newsletters, as an incentive. Your promotional messages can go out to all your customers or you can have personalized promo messages sent to each customer based on their type of vehicle and maintenance and purchase history.
Whether it’s an oil change, tire rotation or just overall maintenance, often customers need a friendly reminder. Auto maintenance is not the first thing people think of, and they will be much more likely to book an appointment on time if they receive a message letting them know that their vehicle is due for maintenance. These notifications are sent out automatically to each customer based on the vehicle history and data that is stored in your DMS. Each customer receives a message exactly when they need it.
Once they book the appointment, you still need to ensure that they don’t forget about it. Too often, dealerships lose time and money due to customers not showing up for their appointments. Rather than taking the time to contact each customer manually, let automation take care of all the tedious details to ensure that each customer knows exactly when to show up.
A survey is a great way to find out what customers really think of your dealership and see if there are any areas that could be improved in order to grow your business. Surveys can be sent out automatically after customers come in for service or to make a purchase. With the click of a button, customers can submit valuable feedback that is automatically organized for you to review.
Safety and Maintenance Tips
Automotive marketing that focuses solely on promoting new vehicles and upcoming sales is becoming a thing of the past. More and more, customers want educational resources that they can actually use. Sending out tips that can help customers learn about their vehicles and how to take care of them builds credibility in your dealership, and increases customer loyalty. Customers learn that your dealership cares not only about selling them vehicles and parts but also wants to help them maintain their vehicles for a long time. A friendly text message or email now and then providing you with helpful information that you can use every day cements the belief that the dealership is focused on you as a long-term customer.
The 2014 Major League Baseball season is officially underway, and it is ironic that an obscure statistician from Kansas is making the news, one who was ridiculed for many years.
Today he is a chief decision-maker for the world champion Boston Red Sox, having gaining notoriety throughout professional sports – and acceptance to his metrics continues to grow.
On CBS 60 Minutes, Morley Safer interviewed Bill James, a baseball writer, and historian who has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball statistics, highlighting his unique approach – known as Sabermetrics: the science of why teams win or lose games.
A fair comparison can be made to the retail auto sales and service industry: It’s the numbers, stupid.
Bill James helps the Boston Red Sox decide which players to keep, who and whey they play and who gets traded-away in the off-season, in order to improve the team’s statistical chances of having a winning year. He also helps them grow champions. But it wasn’t always that way.
Working as a night security guard in Kansas during the late 1970’s, James began studying box scores (arguably similar to an RO Analysis). He soon published “The Bill James Baseball Abstract” in 1977, by challenging baseball’s typical metrics of what determined a great player. He argued that it was not wins or losses (for a pitcher), nor hits, home runs nor batting average.
Instead, he created statistical innovations (the new metrics) such as:
Runs Created: Put simply, hits and walks divided by plate appearances.
Range Factor: The defensive contribution of a player, assists and putouts divided by games played.
Defensive Efficiency Record: The percentage of balls in play that a defense turns into an out.
Win Shares: A comparison of players at different positions.
Pythagorean Winning Percentage: The relationship of wins and losses to runs scored and allowed.
Major League Equivalency – A metric that uses minor league statistics to determine how a player is likely to perform in the majors.
For most of his career, Bill James’ ideas were either been ignored or rejected by major league baseball teams. Most teams preferred to follow the maxims that were created decades ago, as well as their gut instincts.
The Red Sox hired James in 2004. Using his ideas, they have won three World Championships.
In our constantly changing automotive industry of customer counts and sales and dollars made, perhaps we need to take a step back and look at new and innovative ways to measure our success, and that of our people. In these challenging times, it requires different thinking along with different processes, to become a world champion.
Think about it.
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