As auto sales start to pick up and approach the pre-crash levels, a new reality will be part of the equation…NO Loyalty. at least not the kind of brand or dealership loyalty that existed just a couple of years ago. Sure there are people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s who have some brand loyalty, but the generations coming up behind them, the majority, have no such behavioral patterns. The new loyalty will be a combination of brand satisfaction and buying experience satisfaction. This doesn’t sound new, does it? But it is. Recent surveys show that 98% of people who purchased vehicles from dealerships were not ‘fully satisfied’ with their experience. What has hardened this crowd is a combination of American ‘over-expectation’ and the majority of dealers who want to ‘sell’ instead of let their customers ‘buy’.
Let’s say you have a crew of experienced sales professionals who know the tricks and are able to ‘close the deal’ with a high percentage of UPs. As the months pass, you wonder why your market share (among similar brands in your market area) doesn’t grow. You should wonder. It’s a fine line between being a ‘closer’ and being a ‘clubber’. Those customers who feel they have been clubbed (either just after the sale or months after the sale) are NOT going to refer anyone to you. They are not going to come back for their next car. They are now going to help you grow market share. The sales professional who has the extra tool in their arsenal of making the customer feel like they are ‘buying’ instead of ‘being sold’.
This lack of loyalty is not without a cure. There are those few dealers out there that buck the trend by answering question without using a question to answer the question, actually listen seriously to what a customer says and respond in a manner that addresses what the customer has put forth and creates a comfort zone that makes the customer actually want to do business with that salesperson. These dealerships may not ‘fully satisfy’ all of their customers with the experience, but they are going to take that 2% number way up. These are the dealers who grow their market share because they have the luxury of having their customers as advertising, or at worst, not have their customers as negative advertising.