After reviewing our internet departments sales logs the past few months a very interesting (and exciting) trend caught my eye that I just had to share with everyone.
First a little background. I work for a single point Honda dealer about an hour north of Pittsburgh in suburban New Castle, PA. I run our internet department there which produces about 30-35 sales a month (roughly 30% of our total sales). Out of this number for the past few months I have noticed some of our highest grossing sales have come from our owner base or referral customers. Not only were the grosses good, but these sales were accounting for about 10% our our total monthly sales. Granted this is only roughly 3 deals a month, but when talking internet sales we normally are dealing with customers we are getting through paid internet sources and to have some of the highest grosses on customers who cost us nothing to bring to the table is exciting to say the least! Definitely looks good on those end of the month ROI reports!
Why so relevant? We have been trying to maximize owner base opportunities for years? Well for one, I know we normally think of our internet customers of being hard to please and having extra special expectations. While this may be true… when one of them leaves our store completely satisfied the likely hood of them sending us friends, family, or returning for another vehicle increases ten fold. I honestly feel the connection we make with these customers is far greater than even the ones we make with our regular “floor” customers. This presents dealers and especially their net departments with a fantastic opportunity to generate new leads at no cost providing the highest possible ROI.
So how do we maximize this opportunity? Not without some extra attention to detail. As I mentioned this “internet customer” expects the world of us. However, if dealers are willing to go above and beyond to provide them with the best purchase experience possible they will be rewarded with a customer for life who will be sending everyone they talk to their way. You need everyone on board for this. A few extra dollars may have to be spent in service to resolve a problem with Mikes brakes or Joe’s windshield. We may even have to spend a few bucks in parts for those mudguards for Sally, but when you do the math, it makes much more sense to pay 120 bucks for a set of flaps then it does to pay a third party lead provider even a fourth of that for a lead who we will have to go through the whole trust building process over again. Plus we won’t be losing the trust of the customer who already bought from us.
In conclusion, take the time to harvest this internet owner base. While the idea of working the owner base is not new, I do feel it is slightly neglected in a lot of dealers net departments and is an extremely great opportunity for a few extra deals and little cost.