customers in dealership


I was in a training workshop recently when I was asked by a Dealer Principal, “What advertising and marketing ideas do you see as the fastest and most economical way to increase enquiry?”

While there were many great ideas I see working and could have shared, I stopped myself from trying to give just another ‘silver bullet’ to magically increase sales in the short term.

The answer I had to give therefore was, “What are you currently doing to ensure you are maximising referral business in your dealership?”

You can continue to search for new ideas on how to attract customers via spending on advertising and promotions, but do you really do enough to maximise referral business and leverage the relationships you build every day with customers?

From my 15 years in this industry, the reason we don’t do enough in this area is due to:

  1. High staff turnover
  2. No focus on it
  3. No or flawed processes.

The benefits of referrals are massive!

  • Referrals save you money on advertising
  • More gross profit – a referred customer spends 13.2 per cent more than a non-referred customer
  • Better closing ratio – 65 per cent of referrals buy, compared with 20 per cent of new enquiries.

Based on this, I want to give you Three Keys to Increase the Number 1 Advertising & Marketing Campaign in 2015 – Referrals

1. Give an experience

No one refers someone to a dealership after receiving a terrible experience with them. Whether it’s hotels, airlines, holiday destinations or even just a recipe, people refer when they have had an outstanding experience. That’s why your sales process and entire delivery experience is so important to get right.

2. Build a friendship

People buy from people they like, trust, and respect. And they will only refer someone to you if they have a connection with you that goes beyond the transaction. Take a genuine interest in your customers and then say to them at delivery, ‘Mr Customer, I don’t see this as the end of a transaction, but the start of a friendship’.

3. Ask continually

The reality is in this world, if you want something you have to ask for it!

But 92 per cent of customers don’t get asked for a referral at any time in the sales process. Customers are willing to give a referral if you get the first two ingredients right; it’s just our job to now ask them for a referral.

The best way to do this is by asking:

  • at time of sale
  • at time of delivery, and
  • as part of your conversations when you are making your post-delivery contacts. Simply say, “Mr Customer, as you would know, our business is based on referral business. Is there a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague who might be interested in purchasing a vehicle in the near future? I wouldn’t harass them, but just offer them the same great service that I provided you with.”

I encourage you this week to put these three keys to referrals in practice to ensure we increase our sales result without spending an extra dollar!

Great selling!

Dave Benson  
CEO/Sales Expert
Reaching Your Potential

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