Please do not translate this: Overview, content
Handing over a vehicle may be an everyday event for salespeople in the dealership, but from the customer’s perspective, receiving their gleaming new vehicle is an exciting experience. Delivery/handover is the final stage of the sales journey and it’s important to provide customers with a stress and hassle-free experience. Get it right and you’re more likely to have a happy and loyal customer and potential brand advocate, who will recommend you and your dealership. Get it wrong and you risk damaging your reputation among the customer’s network. The delivery of a new vehicle is also linked to the follow-up process as your new customer is now part of your database/network and needs to be managed effectively, and that requires following up.
It’s surprising that so many salespeople are poor at following up. Salespeople often find it the most difficult and least enjoyable part of the job. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right approach, a simple system, and proven techniques, follow-up can give the aspiring salesperson the extra edge to succeed. It’s not just about chasing down prospects and leads, the fact is salespeople rarely call a customer back or spend any valuable time with them once they actually get them as a customer.
Many salespeople focus on the next sale and that diminishes the importance of the sale they just made. We aim to provide you with a whole new look at how to improve and enjoy your follow-up process.
Please do not translate this:Follow up, content
There are two types of follow-up. The first type of follow-up is the call(s) or communication(s) to secure a sale. This type of follow-up is live and fluid. It requires you to lead and to respond quickly.
The second type is relationship following-up, which is managing a continuous flow of communication with your customer/database to keep you in front of their minds and help you develop relationships and sales over time. Developing good relationships and building on the trust you’ve gained from effective follow-up communications will encourage customers to buy from you again and provide you with referrals. To be effective, this type of follow-up requires planning and then running a basic system.
Please do not translate this:“Let me think about it”, content
“Let me think about it”
It’s great when you conduct a test ride and then afterward, the customer agrees to sit down and finalize the deal. It often happens, and you can make it more likely to happen by following the correct process and using the techniques you have learned up to this point.
However, on a lot of occasions, the customer/prospect will ask for time to think about it. It’s their right to do so, and you should be seen to be empathetic and understanding of their request. However, it should not be an open-ended period. You need to make sure you follow up and nudge the customer towards a decision within a reasonable timeframe.
The way to respond to such a request is: “Of course, I understand. What I can do for you is hold and guarantee the price I’ve offered for the next 72 hours. I can’t guarantee that price any longer than that. I’ll wait and give you the time you need and then I’ll make contact to see if you wish to proceed – is that okay with you?”
Guaranteeing and holding the price gives you the opportunity to take control of the follow-up timing rather than waiting for the customer to get back to you. You can also use the option close at this point and say, “Should I call in the afternoon or evening?”.
When you do call, make sure to dispense with pleasantries and small talk as soon as possible and get to the point.
“As promised, the deal I offered still stands. So, (customer’s name) are you ready to move forward?”. Then use a partial “shut up close” – say nothing until after the customer has responded.
[Q] Please do not translate this:“Let me think about it”, form
Do you currently divide your customer database into categories?
Do you use a CRM tool to help categorize?
Do you use a manual or online CRM tool?
If so, what is the name of the tool(s)?
FYI, The 360 tool is available or will be available to all in the near future.
Please do not translate this:“Categorizing”, content
With category A prospects, your potential returns are very high, so you essentially do what it takes to build a strong relationship, and at the same time, nudging them towards a close. You’ll use either email, phone calls, meetings/appointments, communication apps, or a mixture of them all, depending on the preferred medium of the customer or prospect.
With your category B customers/prospects, you’ll primarily use email, but you will also use communication apps and even a direct call on occasions. You should invite them to showroom or test ride events or even meet them occasionally for a chat over coffee. These customers/prospects require a high investment, but they also offer a high return.
With category C prospects, you’ll be emailing. You’ll probably also use some communication apps or SMS. But your effort and interactions will be relatively low-level compared to categories A and B – unless you spot a specific opportunity.
With category D prospects, you’re just basically keeping in touch. So you might send them a regular email/newsletter (with their permission), or the occasional information piece via personal email. But until you see them engaging more or until you see some evidence that they might be interested – you shouldn’t invest a lot in the relationship.
Please do not translate this:“Category A follow-up”, content
Category A follow-up
Customers that have been through the whole sales process but have not been closed and are considering the offer are category A customers. You can’t hang around with this type of customer. You need to follow up asap to have any chance of closing the deal.
There is also a second type of category A customer; these are customers who have not yet been through the sales journey. They may have made an inquiry on the company website, or you may have met them at a motor show or a showroom event, and they showed an interest – you need to also follow up asap.
The question is: how best to follow up with both types of Category A customers?
|DS6-7 >> DS6-4|
So, how can you add value?
It’s simple really – provide them with some information that will be interesting to them. For example – if they are considering buying a particular model – send them an article/video or a positive review about that product. There’s plenty online. You might just want to share a link. It’s free and it takes only a little effort, but boy oh boy, doing so really changes the tone of a follow-up from being pushy to helpful.
If you send or share an article/video on a topic you know they will be interested in, you can add a gentle call to action along the lines of:
“Thought you might find this recent article/video about the (product/model) we talked about. Let me know if you’d like to talk about some of the main points raised. I’d be happy to discuss over a coffee.”
What added value to share in follow-up?
Share anything that you think would add value to them. You could use anything from:
- Send an article – via email or a link through a social media app
- Send a link to a video from a TV program review
- Share a recommendation of a book or documentary
- Invite them to an event you think they’d be interested in
- Recommend a service, or piece of software, etc.
- Share some product news
You can also follow your contacts and get alerted whenever something interesting happens to them. This can prompt a whole series of value-added follow-up.
- If you’ve successfully added them to your LinkedIn account, check regularly to see if they post or comment on articles, and give them a like.
(Linkedin is a professional platform for business people and may even provide you with opportunities to grow your network, and it’s free).
- You could also open a Twitter account and if your customer/prospect tweets something, a simple retweet or comment is enough to keep you on their radar.
- You should add their birthdays to your calendar and wish them a Happy Birthday as well as wishing them a Happy New Year and do the same for other major important cultural events.
[Q]Please do not translate this:“Category A follow-up”, Form
Do you understand the concept of value-added follow-up? Y/N
Do you know how to find and share value-added content? Y/N
Will you commit to adding value when possible to the follow-up process? Y/N
Please do not translate this:“The Chase (Tom and Jerry)”, content
The Chase (Tom and Jerry)
Now, presuming you understand what value-added follow-up is, let’s go back to the customer who has asked for time to think about the deal you offered.
It’s common for the customer to try to take control by suggesting they get back to you. It is important to respect your prospective customer’s wishes and give them space. This can be a stall tactic, of course. It is also a familiar tactic to dodge a commitment and perhaps drop off your radar.
To address it, agree with your prospect that their decision to get back to you works fine. After acknowledging that they need time, let them know that you will also follow up. This will be easy as you have agreed to give them time to decide, and usually, they will feel obliged to give you something in return.
You could also say, “That’s fine. If I don’t hear from you, when should I give you a call?”. The point is – make and agree on a date to follow up. But, you need to get their agreement on when exactly you will follow up. Once the customer has agreed to be contacted about their decision, you must follow up at the date/time agreed – no earlier and no later. Make sure to inform them how you will follow up (e.g. by email or phone).
You may prefer to follow up via phone as you have already established a relationship with them. However, one drawback is that it’s not possible to add value.
Actually, there is no proof that a phone call follow-up is more effective than email or a social media message.
You might even be nervous to make the call. A follow-up email is just as acceptable. In fact, some salespeople may find it easier to type an email or message and hit “send”, rather than having a live conversation and fear stumbling over their words. In a follow-up email, confirm your offer and ask if a decision has been made. Regardless of whether you make a phone call or email, make sure you remain professional, cordial, and appreciative.
“Hi John, just emailing to check whether you had any decision for me yet on whether you wish to proceed? By the way, I came across a video on youtube about the (product/model) – I’ve attached the link as I thought you might find it interesting.”
If you still don’t hear back from them within a couple of days, send another chasing communication and follow the same principle of adding value. They most likely will respond and they may say no or highlight their main objection – but doing so lets you know where you are rather than just having a ‘hanging’ unknown status.
A lot of salespeople keep chasing again and again, but that just allows the customer/prospect to feel they have the right to ignore you. Instead, after three follow-up messages that have either been ignored or got you no further along, try providing a message that goes something like:
“Looks like your priorities have changed and this might no longer be something urgent for you, so I’m not going to keep nagging you about it and annoy you. If I’m wrong, do get back to me and we can discuss, but otherwise, I’ll put your decision on hold for the moment”.
|DS6-8 >> DS6-6|
So, even if this particular opportunity has dropped, for now, you’ll still be in their mind because of your ongoing value-added follow-up.
That means that, should the opportunity come back to life again, they’ll immediately think of you, without you needing to keep chasing them about it. You’ll have strengthened your relationship through your follow-up rather than having weakened it.
Please do not translate this:“Category B, C, and D follow up”, content
Category B, C, and D follow up
Category B follow up
As we mentioned earlier, these are your very best customers. These are the customers you are comfortable with and you feel they are comfortable with you too. Even though they have not expressed any intention to buy a new vehicle, you might be following up with them a minimum of every 60 days. That’s only six communications a year. Actually, with your really close customers, it’s safe to make some sort of contact every 30 days. It won’t be considered annoying or hassling. If you don’t follow up – you will be forgotten about and you could be overlooked when an opportunity does arise. There are unlikely to be hundreds of these types of best customers in this category. More than 20 would be hard to manage.
Category C follow up
Category C is your warm prospects. These are people who have been receptive to your marketing or early sales outreach. Generally, they’ve demonstrated tacit interest in your offering by providing you with their contact information. They’re not as interested in you as a qualified lead, but they’re more likely to convert than a cold contact.
If you have a sizable base of them, reaching out to warm prospects is much easier and more sensible than conducting massive cold outreach efforts. They’ve demonstrated interest and awareness of your business, so they’re inherently more likely to hear you out if you touch base with them.
The idea of contacting category B prospects is to see if you can gain more interest from them. A warm lead is one that has probably already given you their contact information. Do what you can to capitalize on that, and it doesn’t have to be aggressive. Something as simple as passing along a relevant article/video on a new model launch or a special promotion through email can make them that much more interested and possibly move them to category B.
Warm prospects might not be sure things, but they’re most likely worth your time. And pursuing them is certainly more productive, higher-converting, and less stressful than combing through a seemingly endless list of cold contacts.
Category D follow up
Category D is your cold list. These are customers you may have lost or who just never followed through on deals. They are also contacts that never replied and just went missing. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time on this list. One communication a year is probably enough but do try to make the communication value-added. So many salespeople, when they lose a deal, never contact a customer again. But times and circumstances change and maybe the customer/prospect was positive to you. Just reminding them that you exist and you’re a professional will help keep you in their minds if an opportunity does arise. One well-crafted value-added message is all it takes, and with one click of your mouse, you send it to all your category D contacts – and you never know. If you don’t cast your fishing line – you’ll never catch the fish.
Free Follow-up online Tools
There are some wonderful tools to help you follow up. There are free editing tools that help you write better emails and messages. There are also some fabulous free email tools that can help you schedule messages and inform you if and when your emails have been opened. If you are serious about wanting to improve your performance, you couldn’t get better advice than to invest time to research what’s available and what works best for you.
Please do not translate this:“Update your system regularly”, content
Update your system regularly
Make sure you also update your “system” (whether you’re doing your follow up manually or via your company’s CRM system) with new information you discover about an individual client’s goals, aspirations, problems, and challenges, or anything that can help you make a connection and be helpful and interesting to them (e.g. birthdays, favorite sports teams, and other conversation topics). And make sure you’re also expanding your relationships with other individuals within larger organizations.
An inspiring true follow-up story
Viola, a salesperson for Mercedes-Benz was on duty in a Taipei showroom. A middle-aged married couple, with no prior appointment, walked into the showroom to enquire about buying a new A-Class. Viola provided her time in conducting a needs assessment, a vehicle presentation, and a test drive. The couple asked for time to think it over. After a couple of follow-up emails, the husband informed Viola that they had decided to buy a BMW 3-series instead. Viola was, of course, disappointed but added both to her category D list. Over the course of the following year, she sent happy New Year messages to both and also birthday wishes (she had their birth dates from their driving licenses). During the needs assessment, the date of their wedding anniversary was casually mentioned in conversation. Viola jotted the date down. Later, she sent a friendly message to the husband reminding him that the following day was his wedding anniversary. He replied immediately to thank her as he had indeed forgotten.
The very next day, the couple visited the showroom and asked to see Viola. They explained how impressed they were with her genuine friendship. They informed Viola that BMW, who had got the deal a year earlier, hadn’t bothered to communicate with them after their purchase. The husband then surprised his wife by deciding to buy her a new A-class as an anniversary present. The deal was sealed!
[Q] Please do not translate this:“Update your system regularly”, form
What do you consider the moral of the story to be?
- You can just be lucky sometimes
- Make sure you do a great needs assessment and employ a follow-up category system
- BMW sales made a mistake in not following up
The story demonstrates the power of a good needs assessment when combined with a value-added follow-up (reminding the husband of his anniversary). It also demonstrates the importance of creating a categorized follow-up system. Viola was lucky and BMW was poor, but in sales, you make your own luck by following correct processes and using best practice behaviors.
Please do not translate this:“Delivery”, content
Benefits of the delivery process
- Helps ensure that customers have a great ownership experience right from the start
- Results in an ongoing positive customer relationship
- Results in generation of referrals and repeat business
Please do not translate this:“Pre-delivery process”, content
- Any protective packaging should be carefully removed and a full Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) must be conducted by the appropriate assigned staff member and signed off on.
- Appointment scheduled for handover made and the pre-delivery email sent to the customer.
- Check all necessary sales paperwork is ready and ensure the vehicle is clean and ready.
- The vehicle must be in delivery position in the designated delivery area – checked, cleaned, and with a full tank of gas.
The pre-delivery email template.
Your new (model) is ready and waiting for collection and you can take receipt of the vehicle at (time) on (date).
There are a few items to take to the handover, which are as follows:
- A method of payment (such as a debit/credit card) for the final balance (which is often the difference between the price of the vehicle and the deposit that the customer may have paid to reserve the vehicle).
- Your driver’s licence or passport to take out the finance agreement (if applicable).
- Any documentation that was previously provided to you for the purchase of the vehicle (e.g. the deposit receipt).
Together, you and I will conduct a detailed pre-delivery inspection to ensure the vehicle is in perfect working condition
Before handing over the keys to your new pride and joy, I will run you through all the paperwork and any agreements that go with the vehicle and that will need to be signed. I will once again show you the vehicle’s main features and controls to refresh your memory so that you can ride your vehicle away safely. This “tour” of the vehicle may also prompt further questions that you may not have previously thought of.
Please feel free to bring along another family member(s) or friend(s). Please allow one and a half hours to complete the process.
To ensure your own safety, please be aware of our COVID-19 protocols:
- All staff will wear masks
- Masks and single-use gloves are available for all visitors
- Disinfectant gel is at your disposal
- Visual indications pointing out safe social distancing is in practice, and please follow the guidelines at all times
- The premises are disinfected periodically
- All staff members’ health is monitored through a daily check of body temperature and possible COVID-19 symptoms
- All staff members experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms will stay at home and contact their local health services
- All staff members frequently wash and/or sanitize their hands
- Specific procedures are in place to safely try on clothing and helmets
- Where safe distancing cannot be respected, protective barriers are in place.
I look forward to seeing you soon. If you require any further information before the handover appointment, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please do not translate this:“The delivery process”, content
The delivery process
Another list of things you should do:
- Examine the wheels and make sure the tires are inflated to the recommended levels.
- Inspect the headlights, rear lights, and indicators to see if they are working correctly. Also, test the brake lights to see if they are functioning.
- Check that the starting mechanism works to ensure that there are no problems and the customer is aware of how to use it correctly.
- Check that the vehicle’s coolant and engine oil levels are correct, topping them up if necessary.
- Inspect the vehicle’s bodywork for damage (scratches/marks).
- Sign off using the appropriate official inspection form.
- Review all of the paperwork with the customer, including sales-related documents, the vehicle’s warranty coverage, maintenance schedule, and any special manuals associated with the vehicle.
- Once the customer has completed the finance process, your sales team should bring them to the delivery area to review the owner’s manual and maintenance schedule.
Please do not translate this:“Customers need to feel they belong”, content
Customers need to feel they belong
Identify dealership services
Highlight the dealership’s hours of operation, in particular, the service department. Try to go the extra mile by introducing the customer to one of your service advisors.
Offer the customer to take a short demonstration ride
Complete the final delivery checklist
It is mandatory for the delivery checklist to be completed. Make sure the customer signs the delivery checklist to verify that you have covered all items satisfactorily.
Thank the customer for their business.
This is the point at which the sales experience is complete and the ownership experience begins. Remember: “The last impression is as important as the first.”
At this time in the training, we would have done some role-playing. You would team up with a partner and role-play the write-up process presentation of options. You would take turns playing both roles, the role of the buyer and the role of the salesperson.
Please do not translate this:“Post-Sale-Pre-Delivery”, content
The fact is, it’s often the case that a customer signs a deal and purchases a vehicle that is not in stock. When this is the case it’s important to manage the period between signing the deal and the delivery.
An unmanaged waiting period can result in the customer deciding to cancel the order.
Communication channels should be kept open and your customer should be on your category A follow-up list until the vehicle has been handed over.
Communication should be made at least every two weeks during the waiting period. Added value content is extremely important during this period and if managed well, the communications should help solidify their purchase decision and can also help build anticipation for the handover.
Selected positive reviews, articles, and videos should be added to the communication. Your first communication within 5 days of ordering:
- “I will keep you posted with regard to the delivery schedule of your new (model). If there are any changes for whatever reason, I will inform you immediately. Right now everything is on course, as planned. I’ve attached a link/article/video of your new (model) test ride that may interest you.”
- Great news!
Your new (model) has arrived. It looks absolutely amazing. You’re going to love it.
Of course, you’ll want to collect asap. Would you like to come to the showroom to complete formalities early or late this week? I’m available on Tuesday morning after 10am or Thursday after 4pm. Let me know which one suits you best.
Once we have agreed on the time and date, I’ll immediately send you an email that you should check before the handover appointment. It includes everything you need to know about the process to ensure the handover is a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Please do not translate this:“And finally…”, content
If you do wish to provide a gift – make it personal. It’s not about providing a big budget item. It can be relatively cheap and inexpensive but a gift can work well if it’s personal to that particular customer. You don’t need to do lots of research. Just use the needs assessment element to ask questions that get to know the customer’s interests and then you can understand what kind of gift would be relevant.
Doing nice things like handing over a gift is always good, but only if the basics have been done right. It’s also important to undertake the follow-up to ensure expectations have been met. If you do get everything right, you can significantly increase your number of loyal customers.
Please do not translate this:“Do’s and Don’ts”, content
Do’s and Don’ts
Please do not translate this:“Do’s ”, content
Do create and use a category system for customers/prospects
Do make a specific time every week for follow-up
Do send out a pre-delivery email
Please do not translate this:“Don’ts”, content
Don’t ever walk past a guest or showroom customer without showing recognition
Don’t send out a follow-up email without a value-added piece of information
Don’t take any shortcuts in the process – do it by the book
Please do not translate this:“Evaluation”, content
Please do not translate this:“ Program Evaluation”, content