Having a relationship with a customer base is an important part of any business.
According to Matt Dietz, general manager at Classic Lexus in Willoughby Hills; Michael Friedman, senior vice president of operations at Adventure Subaru in Painesville and Adventure Jeep Chrysler Dodge in Willoughby; and Corey Steinberg, a salesperson at Mentor Cars in Mentor, a relationship is important to dealerships.
“A lot of people think that a car salesman’s job is to sell someone a car and forget about them,” Steinberg said. “But, selling the car is only half of the experience these days. It’s about having a good buying experience and continuing with them after.”
Friedman added, “It is important for the salesperson to keep in touch with the customer. The salesperson always has to call a customer and make sure they are happy. You always have to put your face in front of that customer and wow them. Make sure they know your name.”
Dietz said many reasons exist why customers and dealerships should stay in regular contact.
“Technology is more advanced now and you could spend hours going over equipment on a vehicle with the customer,” he explained. “Most people who get a car are ready to get out of there. They don’t want to stay to go over the vehicle. The next thing is service on your vehicle. (Dealerships) communicate with customers when those appointments come up or what they can do when a light pops on.”
Regular communication is what creates a relationship. These relationships can grow a sales person’s customer base.
“If you were to come in and buy a car and you had a good experience, you could refer some friends to us,” Steinberg said. “Customers are more likely to return if they have good experiences. The easiest way to do that is treating them like a person and not only a sale.”
Friedman added, “It’s how we get our business. We build our book of business from our customers. The easiest way to sell a car is when someone has a good experience and they are telling other people. The way you sell cars comes down to referrals.”
For customers, this relationship facilitates the ease of doing business.
“One of the things customers are most afraid of is the time it takes to get a vehicle,” Dietz said. “And you don’t like not knowing what you’re going to be dealing with. Keeping that relationship with the dealership makes you feel comfortable. If you have an issue, you can call up your salesperson. Salespeople like the process to be easier, too.”
Friedman said, “The way customers benefit is they know you. They know they are getting a good deal and you’ll take care of them. They won’t have to waste time looking for other places to shop. It’s like going to a restaurant and having a good experience with the server. You want the same server every time because you know they’re good.”
Each dealership facilitates this relationship differently.
“We have new car owner clinics where we invite all our new customers back and show them how to do things for their car,” Steinberg said. “It’s about helping our customers take advantage of offers.”
Dietz said it’s OK if a customer feels apprehensive when contacting a salesman and vice versa.
“It’s a mental thing,” he said. “It’s in our heads. It’s the same thing when we are buying any product. We’ve got to put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and recognize they are going to be a bit nervous. But once you get there, you don’t have that fear anymore. It gets easier each time.”