Get On The Road To Gaining Loyal Customers With These 6 Steps
Business managers and marketers talk a lot these days about customer loyalty. By now, everyone knows it’s much less expensive to retain customers than to find new ones, even if you’re using primarily web-based marketing techniques. So loyal customers are more profitable for your dealership. But loyalty doesn’t come your way because customers care about your bottom line, it comes from showing you care about their bottom line.
If you aren’t looking at your dealership through your customers’ eyes, your attempts at business growth are aimed in the wrong direction. It’s time to get on the road to gaining loyal customers. Following these 6 steps will help you build solid, lasting relationships.
- Make existing customers a priority.
The reason current customers are worth more to your dealership is that they have already established a pattern of buying from you. You have their attention. You can upsell them with add-ons like accessories and attachments and after-market service and repair. But to do that successfully, you have to know more about them than which piece of equipment they purchased.
You can learn more and establish a stronger personal relationship at the same time by spending time with your top customers. Attend industry meetings with them, participate in community events with them, take them to dinner or a ball game.
- Help them build their business.
To gain loyal customers, you must be seen as a “working partner,” not just a sales and service outlet. So demonstrate you’re committed to helping them make their construction firm more successful. Use email, social media posts and your blog to deliver information and tips right into their hands. As busy as they are, they’ll really appreciate your efforts to pass along industry news, articles, tech updates, how-to ideas to improve worksite productivity and safety, and of course how to save money.
- Stay in touch.
Following through in the ways suggested above keeps your dealership top-of-mind with customers and prospects, too. Be systematic about it. Categorize your contacts as targets, leads, new customers, repeat customers and long-term loyal customers. Get with your sales team and rank them according to how likely you think they are to develop into loyalists, then increase the marketing effort you spend on those in the “already loyal” and “likely to become loyal” categories.
Don’t neglect the others, just re-prioritize your time. And track your efforts. Customer relationship management software can help tremendously with this.
- Stay in touch personally.
It’s important to maintain a regular schedule of personal contact as well. Be deliberate about it so you don’t let a valuable relationship slip through the cracks. Try to spend time with key customers and those in your “likely to become loyal” category every couple of months. As you talk with them in non-business settings, you can learn more about their personal and business goals. That information will help you see more clearly how your dealership can become an even stronger working partner for them.
- Show them you care.
If you just said to yourself, “Of course they know we care!” you’ve forgotten how dangerous it is to make assumptions. Regardless of what industry you’re in, the primary reason customers desert companies is because they feel unappreciated.
Thank them for their business, in an email, with a handwritten card, with a phone call out of the blue. No sales pitch, just simple appreciation. Give them an extra discount now and then, or invite them to exclusive events.
- Stay with it.
People prefer to do business with people they know. Knowing builds trust. Although building relationships with customers takes time, it’s definitely worth the investment. Putting these 6 steps to work in your dealership will help you gain more loyal customers. And along the way, it will help you gain new customers, too.