Have you had a happy customer say something like this: “Oh thank you so much! Let me know if I can ever do anything to return the favor.” My experience is that every dealership, and nearly every salesperson or service advisor, has at least 10 customer “evangelists” looking for ways to sing their praises.
We get busy at dealerships working deals, writing work orders and counter tickets and sometimes don’t stop to realize we have a veritable legion of word-of-mouth referrals at our fingertips. A recent post by Duct Tape Marketing suggests we can discover ways for our customers to promote us. I believe Social Media tools have amplified those opportunities. I’ve found that there are simple steps you can take to tap into that force and best of all, they won’t cost you a dime.
1. Acknowledge the impact. If 200 of your Facebook fans have 200 contacts each and they share your store’s content, your message will reach 40,000 people. You can certainly appreciate those numbers!
2. Get over it already. I know it’s strange to come right out and ask for referrals. We’re used to advertising to the masses and expecting Ups to show on the lot. Many sales and service staff are simply afraid to ask, mostly because they haven’t been trained or “feel funny” doing it. Face the fear and do it anyway. There’s a gold mine there for taking.
3. Be aware. Look and listen for your advocates. “If I can ever do anything…”, “I tell all my friends about how great you guys are!” These remarks and others like them happen regularly on your sales floor and service drive. Ask your customer if they’re on Facebook or Twitter. Give them a link to your Facebook page and ask them to share it with their network.
4. Reward loyalty. Appreciation goes a long way. Make that happy customer a VIP on your Facebook page. Give them a mention on Twitter. Spotlight them on your website. When presented correctly, most customers enjoy the notoriety. It’s an honor to have them sell for you and if they don’t want to be in the spotlight, offer to donate to their favorite charity.
5. Hello! Your employees. Your team members are your best customers and “brand advocates”. They live the story of your store everyday. They know your customers so well because they’ve been serving them for years. What a valuable relationship! Let your employees know that you want them to engage and converse with their customers via Social Media. Get a good Social Media policy in place and take advantage of the opportunities that come with these long-term sales relationships.
Think outside the comfort zone. Brainstorm with your staff. Create ways to amplify your customer’s desire to promote your store. Word of mouth marketing extends your reach and catapults your store into new selling opportunities.