From the General Manager’s chair

Data Fatigue

In my opinion there has never been a better time to be in the car business. We have so many incredible tools to sell and service vehicles that simply did not exist 15 years ago. This is one of the most serious threats to our stores futures, alienating our own customers by continuously contacting them, without good reason or good content.

Walker-Smith says we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today. “It seems like the goal of most marketers and advertisers nowadays is to cover every blank space with some kind of brand logo or a promotion or an advertisement.”

Just because it’s so easy to make contact – should we? Questions to ask yourself. Are you really having the net result, even short term by holding private events every 2 weeks? Is your CSI taking a beating as a direct result of these events? How disruptive are these events to your sales people’s growth and your stores sales process?

The only reason we hire outside vendors to host private sales is because they simply work harder than us. They are motivated and usually talented sales people that come into your store and simply hijack your huge investment. Their goal is simple, create as much gross as they can in 5 days and everyone is happy. At the end of the day, there isn’t much accountability though…

How would you feel if you bought a house and than once a month a realtor you didn’t know first mailed you a flyer with a lame “scratch and win” then continuously called you trying to get you to come to their amazing open house to validate your scratch and win? Or trip to Vegas! Or free flat screen!

Most of your customers do not answer the phone if they see your dealership is phoning? They know why you are calling and it annoys them! Data fatigue is real.

I believe customers buy a vehicle from you for one reason. They trust you. Giving a stranger full access and control of your data base breaks that trust. Data base suicide.

How often should you contact sold customers? Personally, I believe its ok to reach out once every 90 days. But do not call every 90 days inviting your customer to “the biggest sale ever” or “I have someone that wants to buy your car.” That sounds ridiculous to your customer, maybe even insulting. You should have a HUGE EVENT once per year.

On the other hand, I think your store should have a “monthly customer appreciation night.” To avoid data fatigue, make the event about the customer, not you trying to sell a car. An example of that would be only calling and inviting female customers to an all ladies wine and cheese after hours where we have the service/sales manager demo special features on the vehicle they purchased. Have all sales people in attendance to answer questions and build relationships. You should have 10 special nights per year.

Less with better content is the new more. Take back control of your surely fatigued customers. Have a plan for every contact. Use your CRM to it’s full potential and keep extensive notes on every customer. Find out how and when they like to be contacted and what their interests and quirks are. Keep building rapport.

Most stores have a ratio of 5000 customers to 8 sales people. That equates to 30 calls per shift if you call once per month. If these calls come from professionally trained sales people that actually work in your store every day data fatigue will lessen, not go away.

Now the hard part. Are you committed to training your people or hiring it out?