If you work in a dealership, my bet is that you are either celebrating because you exceeded your goals, are breathing a sigh of relief that you met them, or are extremely nervous because you didn’t.

This time of year is generally crammed with reports, RDRs, OEM face downs and accountability. It is also the one-time that management and salespeople reverse roles, in a sense. Let me explain:

At the beginning of every month, each salesperson starts anew. It doesn’t matter whether the salesperson was the top salesperson of the month, or the bottom… they’ve all gone from “heroes to zeroes.” Well, as the clock struck midnight and the year changed to 2018, managers also went to zeroes – all the way up to the General Manager. A new year started, and new goals are crafted – and the dealership resets at zero in both the manufacturer’s and dealer principal’s eyes.

In the middle of all of this, some of your most important people tend to take a backseat at the dealership… your customers!

Customer follow-up post-holiday – especially end-of-year -- tends to get a little less effort. While this is true at the beginning of every month (ever had that top salesperson get fat from the previous month’s paycheck and then relax a little to start the next month?), it’s even more true as the new year arrives.

Well, this is the exact time when you should be your most vigilant with customer follow-up. If your dealership killed it during your holiday sales, you would be wise to double-down on your efforts to cultivate relationships with those new sales and service customers who chose to do business with your dealership, not slack off.

Each month there is only a limited amount of time available to your salespeople and service advisors to make connections and impress these new-to-your-dealership customers. It’s not enough to simply rely on your CRM to send automated follow-up templates. You must be a little more creative and pro-active. Customers can see right through that. It’s a new year and these customers can’t be forgotten because everyone is so busy worrying about – or focusing on – the previous year.

Customer loyalty and retention is a full-time effort. It should be consistent, regardless of Holidays or time of year. It’s not enough to double-down acquisition and service recommendation upsell efforts when the month is ending, while slowing down at the beginning of the month. There’s an old saying in the car business – “If you would take a deal at the end of the month, why aren’t you taking the deal at the beginning?” This saying also applies to customer retention and loyalty. Don’t just focus on these follow-up efforts when times are slow, and business is good. You’ll never know if that next customer follow-up call ends in a new sale if you don’t make it.

Currently, at just about every dealership across the country, everybody is a zero. Don’t take your foot off the gas. Charge into the year making every second count -- whether your efforts are in sales, or service.

Don’t wait for that next person to walk through the door that you weren’t expecting. Reach out to your past customers – especially those that recently purchased – and connect with them. You just may find your dealerships starts the new year with a bang.

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