In all sales situations, the art of the follow-up is key. When do you make the first follow-up call? What do you say? What if they don’t answer? Do you call back the same day? Do you leave a message? I don’t want to bother them! What do I do?
Where to Start?
All this can seem overwhelming. No one wants to be a typical salesperson and hound people to death. But statistics show that before they make a commitment, customers need 5 follow-up calls.
So why are you quitting after one?
According to several experts, the art of the follow-up lies in action – and acting quickly. Most salespeople never even attempt a follow-up call or card… nothing. The rest take so much time to perform this task that the customer has likely made their buying decision and purchased from someone else. Not because you didn’t have a great product, or that you weren’t a nice person, but because you didn’t close the sale. You didn’t follow up.
Now, this next statement may surprise you:
Follow up within the first 4 hours of them leaving your office.
Really! According to this article, 50% of “be-back” sales go to the first salesperson to follow up.
But what do you say?
Answer: try to bring value to them.
If they left because you didn’t have the color or model they wanted, find an alternative and call them back. Maybe a model that will work for them has all of the features and benefits they want but is a different color – can they live with that? Make a video, send it to them, then call and remind them to check their email for your video. This will let them know you’re their salesperson, that they’re still on your mind and that you’re working hard to find their perfect vehicle.
Always refer back to your conversation at the dealership. Remind them of what they said. This lets them know you were listening, and may give them a chance to tell you they’ve decided they can adjust their budget to get exactly what they want. Or that they’re willing to accept an AWD instead of 4WD. Either way, it keeps the dialog going and the sale moving forward. Then work every day to earn their business. Don’t let them even consider visiting another dealership because you lost them as a client.
Always set up the next communication. If they know you’ll be calling, they can have their questions ready and will know why you’re calling. “Mr. White, I’m going to research a bit more and see what options I can find that will meet your needs and your budget. I believe I should have more information for you by Monday – would you rather I call during the day or after work?” Now you have set an appointment for another follow-up call, the customer knows you’ll be calling, and he knows why you’re doing it.
No problem, right?
Now, do your homework and find this man the vehicle that he needs. Your job of selling vehicles does not just happen on the sales floor. Find the right vehicle for him, and you’ll have earned his business and the right to ask him for referrals. He has now moved from being a prospect to a client.
Remember that, to them, you’re also a product specialist and your expertise will keep them working with you long after the sale has closed. When accessories are available and relevant to this customer, use this as an opportunity to re-engage. When new information about the vehicle they’re interested in or have already purchased comes available, let them know. The lifelong value of a customer must be considered and the relationship nurtured. Then, when you ask them for a referral to their friends and family, they’ll happily give it to you in light of the care and expertise you directed their way.
If you adhere to your dealership’s follow-up routine and complement it with your own personal expertise, you’ll have the successful career that many dream of – but for which few have the discipline to earn.
Robin Wilson is the co-owner of SCP Agency.
She is a self-proclaimed social media guru and specializes in social marketing for auto dealerships. She has also been instrumental in teaching auto dealerships how to market through social media to their existing database and shows them how to make sure that they do not become victims of conquest marketing. She is a marketing coach to all and has become a leader in Facebook marketing strategies in the U.S.