Combine Your Trade Shows & Open House with a Marketing Strategy
Giving customers tangible rewards such as discounts on their next purchase is a great way to build loyalty. But there are other things you can do to strengthen your relationship with current customers and even do some prospecting at the same time. Industry events such as trade shows or your dealership’s open house offer opportunities, as to strictly-for-fun sports or other entertainment activities.
Trade shows and open houses
These events are designed to bring in as many visitors as possible, both current customers and prospects. Holding an invitation-only function in conjunction with them is an easy way to single out your top customers and say thanks.
Sports and entertainment
Most customers would jump at the chance to join you for a round of golf or to attend spectator events like football or auto racing. Choose activities that ensure you’ll have plenty of time to interact directly with your guests, rather than concerts or other events where you won’t have time to talk.
A personal invitation demonstrates your individual interest. You can easily take that a step further by adding high-quality prospecting to the mix. Rather than inviting only current customers, you can invite key prospects. You can also encourage your guest customer to invite a guest or two of their own – for instance, two more people to complete your foursome. That adds value for them, helping them strengthen their own relationships with customers or colleagues.
Everybody has a good time, everybody wins, especially if the individuals your customer invites fit your target audience. Having spent “face time” with them, you have a solid reason to follow up.
Create your own events
Besides loyalty-building activities associated with existing events, you can do more. Why not invite your best customers and their families to join you and your people at your annual company picnic? You’ll strengthen relationships company-wide, not just with one person within your dealership. Family-oriented activities help bridge generation gaps, too.
Host a customer-appreciation party – an informal dinner, wine tasting, etc.
Or host a learning activity – a focus group about improving your dealership, a sneak peek at an industry-leading new product, a seminar presented by an expert from one of your OEMs. Everyone loves to be asked their opinion, and everyone wants to be first-in-the-know. You’re making it happen for them, and they’ll appreciate and remember that.
Pair the right customer with the right invitation.
Personal interests vary. To get the biggest bang from your loyalty-building activities, match your customers with activities they’ll appreciate most. You probably already know quite a bit about some of your top customers, but not all. So make an effort to learn more about them – what they like to do, what they’re passionate about at work and in their off time. You can keep note of this information within your CRM software.
Make the most of your efforts.
Advance planning will help you make the best impression and assure you can spend your time with guests rather than worrying about event details.
- Identify your objectives – generating goodwill, obtaining referrals, etc.
- Set a budget.
- Plan the details – not just who and where, but time frame, transportation, advance notice, no details left to chance
- Follow up.
Take plenty of pictures or shoot video. Share them as part of your social media marketing and on your website. And share them with your guests as part of your follow-up, so they can relive the fun they had and share their experience with their own customers and colleagues.
Building lasting customer relationships starts with a formal incentive program such as Loyalty Bound. Showing your best customers a great time may win their hearts, but rewards that help them save money will win their minds.