Conversions: When Do They End?
In the automobile sector, we frequently consider conversions in terms of a funnel-type trip, including the results of the customer’s journey in addition to marketing and sales. We guide them along the path we want them to take in the hopes that it leads to a sale. Am I mistaken? Many dealers evaluate the outcomes of each of their marketing and technology partners based on two criteria:
What did I pay for?
What number of automobiles did I sell?
In most cases, performance evaluation is straightforward. Every month, a dealer or general manager reviews their doc sheet and discovers that they spent $3,000 with a marketing partner but only sold three automobiles for $800 in gross sales. (Or some financial equivalent to what they spent.) This is unjust to the vendor, in my opinion. Customers may conduct preliminary research when they are “thinking” about purchasing a car, thus, the findings that a vendor brings in could not appear until the consumer is absolutely ready to buy, which could take up to 90 days. If the dealer, general manager, or general manager bases judgments on whether to maintain or fire a marketing provider on these standards and for this amount of time, they might be doing a disservice to the company.
I comprehend the funnel analogy. The top funnel consists of potential customers. The bottom funnel contains potential customers. However, while reviewing the performance of vendor partners, dealers frequently overlook top-of-funnel consumers. Why? because they are unable to connect a “lead” with a sale in a straight line!
However, I’m not here to discuss sales attribution. I don’t believe “conversions” ever come to an end. People have traveled 60 miles to my shop in a busy auto neighborhood simply to save $50! That’s crazy! I’m referring to the question of whether the conversion of “sales” is the “final” conversion.
Let me tell you a tale. Barry Goldwater, a candidate for president and American politician, came from a family that ran a department store in Phoenix, Arizona. Goldwater was spotted at a gathering wearing an outrageous, floral tuxedo. He told the laughing visitors, “One thing about owning a store, is” You must wear the items that aren’t in demand. *1
Auto dealers frequently place a greater emphasis on closing the deal than on customer service. This is incredible to me considering that a significant portion of the revenue that keeps the lights on, especially in the current economic climate, comes from service penetration. However, dealers continue to be overly preoccupied with making sales and pay little attention to revenue from warranties, recalls, parts, and routine maintenance.
The “Field of Dreams” is not the business world. It doesn’t work like, “If you build it, they will come.” Do you believe a consumer who purchased a car from you wouldn’t think about taking their car to a local shop like Jiffy Lube? You are aware that they would and frequently do. Because of this, independents are winning the war for frequent customer-paid maintenance. Consider yourself in complete control of warranty and recall work. What about the franchises you compete with? Dealers should actively seek out these consumers because many jurisdictions have laws regulating retail labor charges for warranty service.
While I don’t advise against pursuing sales, I do believe that dealerships shouldn’t ignore other revenue-generating areas of their stores. The “service” page on practically every dealer’s website is either nonexistent or out of date. However, Jiffy Lube’s website is crammed with details, pricing, and content on how and why customers should select them. If we go back to Mr. Goldwater’s anecdote, we can draw the conclusion that dealerships ought to dress in non-selling items and services that are being overlooked, specifically. Dealerships may be losing out on clients who don’t even realize they need it because they’re choosing Jiffy Lube over the dealership, opting to have warranty and recall service performed by a rival, or both.
Once a sale is made, conversions continue. If you don’t allow it, the customer’s adventure doesn’t end when they purchase a car. Knowing this, savvy dealers guide their clients on a path that can result in a lifetime of service, referrals, and brand and dealership loyalty. Over the course of their lifetime, that one customer who purchased a car from you can easily go from being the $800 loser to the $100,000 winner. My recommendation? Continue past the sale. Maintain the connection for as long as you can while establishing as many more as you can. Do not stop. This is a protracted run. If you are a good leader, your clients will follow. The best leaders are also good followers, as the saying goes. It is not a “final conversion.” Your dealership will benefit indefinitely from this arrangement; all it needs to do is say “I do.”
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