In this day and age, where competition is so fierce, we all need an edge to stand out to our customers, and it doesn’t really matter what field you are in; and in the same sense, depending on your industry, your strategy on standing out will differ from others. In one way or another, we are all in competition to get customers, make money, and increase business. These are everyday concerns. That’s not even including what has been happening in the last few months with the pandemic. Many businesses had to shut down, and as they reopened, it was not business as usual. Many restaurants offered pickup and delivery, and if they were lucky enough to have space, they offered outdoor dining. Retail stores ramped up their online websites so customers can shop from home. UPS and FedEx (and, of course, Amazon!) have been inundated daily with massive amounts of deliveries. Some gyms were able to receive special permits to hold outdoor workouts. And naturally, the automotive world is no different in involvement during this time.
Living in the Tri-State area, you can throw a rock and hit about 20 different dealerships from all sorts of manufacturers. When the coronavirus came, it hit us pretty hard in the beginning. Dealerships had to close their doors and make decisions on how to improvise their business. Depending on who you spoke to, everyone handled it differently than the next; some closed their doors temporarily, and some had their service departments open. While some furloughed most of their employees and worked on a skeleton crew, and it seems had their remaining staff pretty much work remotely. It was like everyone took on a BDC like role where business was conducted either by phone or by email.
These are changes that we all had to embrace, but not what makes you stand out. The key during this time was – what are we doing differently from our competitors? How do we stand out? What can we do for our customers? When this pandemic first hit, many people were worried about their well-being; others were worried about family members; then, some were worried about their jobs, feeding their families, and the roof over their heads. Quite frankly, I don’t think buying a car was a top priority on anyone’s minds. As a salesperson, how does one tactfully call up a potential prospect about a car purchase?
In one of the places I have worked in the past, they have always genuinely cared for their customers. Reading this article today reminded me of a conversation I had back in March with one of my former coworkers. He is one of the most caring persons I know and truly does everything in his power to help his customers. He listens to their wants and needs and delivers exceptional service every time. When the pandemic first hit, and as much as he needed to sell to provide for his family, he put that aside for a moment and approached things a little differently. He called his past clients and potential prospects – not to sell them something – but to see if there was anything he could do for them - checking in on them and their families. And I’ll tell you, the customers really appreciated it, and some were surprised that he took the time to simply check-in. He truly builds relationships with them and really shows them that he cares (or as Gerry Gould would say, he gives them the DIMTY). It may not seem like much or a big deal, but it was something he did to stand out, and everyone could use a little “edge” nowadays. And I ask you who do you think they will remember when it’s time for a car?
Often, we can forget most of what we do in this business is customer service. People tend to be loyal to and turn to people with whom they have a relationship with. Why? Because they trust that person. And when someone trusts you, they tend to buy from you. Remember, although selling is how we make a living, sometimes it’s a bit more than that.