We all want to find that silver bullet.
You know the one… the perfect thought track that leads to trust, credibility, and long-term loyalty. The truth is - there are no silver bullets (sorry), but there are a few tried and true methods that will pay off if they are built into your process with every customer.
Here are five invaluable rules for building rapport with customers.
Rule Number 1: Make a good first impression.
Most customers aren’t going to make their first contact with your store when they drive onto the dealership lot. They’re likely going to send an email, live chat, or make a phone call first.
Responding promptly with the information they’re requesting sets the right tone. Make sure the individual who answers the phone requests and uses the customer’s name. If a customer asks about a certain vehicle, ask if it’s okay to put them on hold while you get the right answer. If not, ask for a phone number or an email address to get back to them within a few minutes.
Rule Number 2: Be transparent.
This may sound like a new buzzword in the business. Simply put, it means to tell the customer what you’re doing, what’s going to happen next and how long things are going to take.
That helps set the proper expectations for the transaction.
If you can’t do something the customer wants, say so. A customer would much rather have you tell them you can’t do something than tell them you can and not deliver.
There are too many avenues to get information in the auto industry today to not be honest and clear about how you can meet their needs. Show them that you care and that you’re not hiding anything.
Rule Number 3: Listen.
Active listening means being able to understand what the customer wants. Let customers finish their comments or sentences.
Repeat it back to them so you understand. Don’t respond just to respond. Pay attention to body language and how your customer prefers to communicate. Try to mirror their mood - if you typically are upbeat and high energy, but your customer is more subdued, try meeting them where they are.
Rule Number 4: Treat others how they want to be treated.
We all know the golden rule of treating others the way we want to be treated.
The platinum rule is to treat others the way they want to be treated.
Ask questions about their wants and needs, listen to their wants and needs, reaffirm their answers so you understand and then present your product in a way your customer wants.
The industry has become so competitive, you’re no longer just selling a car… you’re selling an experience. That’s why you see so many dealers bringing amenities like cafes, coffee shops, or massage chairs.
The only way to sell an experience is to find what experience they want.
The only way to find out what experience they want is to ask them and reaffirm what they want.
Rule Number 5: Put the customer’s needs first.
This is the rule that we see broken more than any other. In our Performance Development Center, sales associates are trained that their responsibility is to do three things: help the customer find the best car for them, make sure it fits into their budget, and do all this in a timely manner.
Approach every customer as a lifetime client from day one, rather than a one-time customer, and you’ll be on your way toward creating customer loyalty in your dealership.