Dealers Elevate Customer Service Issues in Sales Roundtable

Publish Date: 
Feb 13, 2010

Why should a customer buy from you? In this day and age, just answering “because,” isn’t going to cut it. Steve Zarwell led a Dealernews Live! roundtable discussion Friday morning to talk about this and other questions on dealership sales – and how to rein them in. Dealers from all corners of North America pooled ideas during the session.

So, why should a customer buy from your store? Answers varied, but the common suggestion was to offer potential customers what they can’t get anywhere else: your brand of customer service. “When you take care of your customers, they are disciples of your business,” Zarwell said. “They will provide more advertising than you ever could.”

Building lasting relationships with your customers is key to keeping them. To start, Zarwell suggests taking a few minutes to update your website with bios, pictures and contact info of everyone on your staff, and it helps in building customer loyalty.

“If you have no customer loyalty, I guarantee your customer is getting his stuff on the Web for $5 less instead of with you,” said attendee Shannon Bushman. “He’s not willing to pay any premium because he doesn’t know you.”

Step out from behind office doors to play a bigger part in your dealership. “I have dealer principles come to me now asking what they should do with their office,” Zarwell said. “I say get rid of it. That’s retail space you can use. You need to be out there with your customers.”

A dealer principle will make a lasting impression on customers if he or she is out there meeting and greeting them.

Don’t just attend events; rather invest in them. Customers tend to remember the people who go above and beyond just showing up.

“Don’t ignore things like owner’s clubs and events,” Zarwell said. And don’t wait for customers to find you. “Go to your customers with units,” Zarwell says.

While working at a dealership years ago, Zarwell remembers bringing six units to an office building where potential customers were waiting. He sold four of them on the spot. “You might get a few guys who say ‘no,’ but you’ll get more people saying ‘you’re kidding,’” Zarwell says of the customer outreach. (Continued)