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What’s Missing From Your Repeat/Referral Business Strategy?

Article Highlights:

  • Get buyers back in your dealership immediately after the sale.
  • "Accessories create a more targeted and relevant option..."

Every dealership I’ve visited has a strategy for repeat and referral business. The most typical strategies include emails and postcards for service appointments, general check-ups on how the new vehicle is doing, and purchasing a new vehicle all together.

There is something missing from each of these strategies though… a valid and relevant reason for the customer to come back! These are all hit or miss when it comes to what the customer is looking for at that time. A recent vehicle buyer won’t need a service appointment for at least four months, probably even longer with today’s vehicles.  And, according to IHS Automotive, a new vehicle purchase isn’t needed for at least six to seven years down the road because the majority of Americans now hold onto their vehicles longer.

One of the most valid and relevant reasons a customer would come back to your dealership is for accessories. The majority of dealerships are missing out on this impactful strategy. Here are a few things you’re missing by not using accessories as a repeat / referral strategy:

Customers want to buy accessories: Unlike a service appointment or a new car sale, accessories are a logical next step for a recent buyer. In fact, a Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) survey found that 92% of drivers buy vehicle accessories. In addition, customers are more likely to return to your dealership within the first 90 days of ownership to buy accessories if offered at the time of vehicle sale.

Relevant messages have more impact: When you present accessories, track who purchased, who passed, and on which items. Now, you can follow up with these customers with targeted, relevant messages.

A great example I love to share with dealerships is all-weather floor mats. If a customer didn’t buy, but you kept a record of that decision, you can send him a targeted email about the same exact floor mats after the first rain or snow.

Increased service penetration: Where a customer buys accessories is where he is most likely to return for service. That could be your dealership or a retail shop down the road. Offering accessories at your dealership provides the opportunity to get customers into your service lanes immediately after the purchase and get them on a set schedule for maintenance.

Word-of-mouth referrals: “Nice vehicle; where did you get the accessories work done?” This is a common question among friends and family when they see a loaded car or tricked out truck that is “personalized.”  This is one of the best forms of referral business since it doesn’t cost you anything.

One of our customers recently told us, “Accessories help us sell more cars because now, I have a guy driving a well equipped car on the road. When people ask where he bought it from, he says ‘I bought it at D’Arcy’s.’ Then those people come buy the same car and add the same accessories too.”

Social Media referrals: Millennials are a great target for accessories because they are constantly seeking opportunities to be individuals and personalize their purchases. What’s the next step after they personalize… social sharing. A recent DrivingSales article talked about a dealership customer who came into the showroom simply because he saw videos and pictures of his friends’ new purchases on social media. He also stated, “I’m going to look cool on Snapchat in this thing.”

Do you want to improve your share of the repeat/referral business? Accessories are the key! You’ll be able to create more targeted and relevant options for getting customers back into your store and keeping them there for the long haul. For more information about adding an accessories department in your dealership, call 888-882-5398.

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Vendor Relations Business Manager, AddOnAuto, Reynolds and Reynolds

Joe Witt is the Vendor Relations Business Manager for AddOnAuto at Reynolds and Reynolds. He started working in dealership sales in 2005. He became an accessory specialist, and then moved into various management roles. Joe started as an implementation consultant with the AddOnAuto team in 2011. He spends much of his time building relationships with suppliers, restylers, and manufacturers to better the processes and products offered to dealerships with AddOnAuto.

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