It all comes down to customers. Without them, there’s no reason to be in business. The best business plan and greatest product in the world are meaningless if potential customers aren’t located, marketed to, enticed to check out what you’re selling, and convinced to part with their hard-earned dollars—and then catered to with post-sale service and follow-up that keeps them coming back to you.
Managing this extended life cycle of finding, selling to, and retaining customers is a major challenge in any industry, but is especially daunting in the complex business of automobile dealerships, where the relationship is very different than it is with less expensive, more disposable consumer products.
Building customer relationships
Relationship is, indeed, the key word when it comes to customers and cars. It’s a total human experience built on effort, attraction, commitment, follow-up, and loyalty. The experience is not unlike a romantic relationship, when you think about it. Customers must be courted to the point of, if you will, falling in love with the vehicle you’re selling. But even then, before they’re ready to make the long-term commitment, they need to be assured they’re doing the right thing, and convinced that their partner in the relationship (which is really your dealership, not just the car) will be there for them over the long haul when the initial luster wears off.
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