Create Loyal Customers - Simple Tricks To Increase Sales
By Will Creech
I used to work for a man who considers himself the ultimate salesman: Jeffrey Gitomer. Jeffrey has written many books that I’d highly recommend, one of which is Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. I learned a lot during the many years I worked for him, and creating loyal customers was one of my big takeaways. If I could sum up the way Jeffrey discusses creating loyal customers, it is by delivering outstanding customer service with a wow. While it’s important to deliver a good product or service, if your customer believes in you personally, they will be far more willing to overlook minor issues or concerns. You are in sales and customer service whether you like it or not, and that is actually the more challenging part of the job. As pro detailers you know how to solve most of the technical challenges you’ll come up against. Dealing with the customer is where you most likely need to grow your skills.
THE CAR WALK-AROUND
Hopefully, you’re already doing a car walk-around as part of your process. For those who may not be, or aren’t clear on what I mean, it’s the point where you walk around the vehicle to be detailed with your customer and discuss all of the problem areas that they are concerned about. This is your opportunity to create the impeccable customer service that will set you apart from the competition and build their trust in you. Often the walk-around is seen as merely a formality and not much attention is given aside from mentally noting the customer’s concerns. Carry a notepad with you and write down everything that the customer points out. Obviously you should be setting realistic expectations for your ability to resolve each problem area. You always want to be able to over-deliver if at all possible.
The walk-around is also your opportunity to up-sell the customer when you notice issues that you can resolve for them that they may not have pointed out. Headlight restoration, plastic trim restoration, or paint correction are all great opportunities to up-sell a customer and explain what they can expect with a real example on their own car. Probably the most famous quote from Jeffrey Gitomer is “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” What he means by this is selling and up-selling shouldn’t be pushy — ever. To build trust, your job is to be the expert and offer solutions to tangible problems the customer can see value in purchasing. If the customer feels you’re trying to make money off of them because it seems as if you’re suggesting services they don’t value the results from, you will lose any chance to build trust and loyalty with them. Point out problems first and gauge how the customer feels about the issues you raise. If they don’t seem bothered, then it probably isn’t wise to pitch a service. If you misread them and they are concerned about the problem you pointed out they will ask you about it.
The delivery walk-around is the point where you walk around the car with your customer and review all of the work you’ve done. You should have the list you made during the initial walk-around with you. Discuss each item with the customer and explain important points. You should ask the customer if they are satisfied or not satisfied with each issue they initially raised. If there are any problems you should be prepared to attempt to address them immediately if possible, or schedule a return visit with them at their convenience. Most people understand and if you’ve come up against a challenge they just want to know that you’ve done your best and believe it. They also want to know that you’re willing to continue to correct the issue if possible. If you need to charge more for resolving a problem, don’t be afraid of doing so. Charging adequately for your time actually builds trust in you as the expert. Professionals don’t work for free.
BECOME KNOWN AS A SPECIALIST
There are many difficult-to-solve problems in auto detailing that are outside the normal expectations of a standard detailing job. Difficult doesn’t mean impossible, though. As with most jobs, however, they’re made significantly easier with the right tools. As a professional detailer, I’m sure you could put together a list of several of these challenges. It could include things like small dings, paint chips, leather tears, foul interior smells, and many more. Once you have a list of these problems you could do some research on how to resolve some of them. Solutions could be learning paintless dent removal techniques for handling small dings or purchasing a steam cleaner and ozone machine for dealing with foul interior odors. If you can become known as a problem solver for these issues, you can significantly increase your word-of-mouth advertising and create loyalty in your customers for being a detailer that can solve problems beyond the average detailer.
CREATE A WOW
It’s the small things that sometimes make all the difference in the world — usually a small gesture that isn’t a huge effort on your part, but something that no one else would ever likely do. This could be trivial like leaving an air freshener in a random scent (still sealed of course) in the passenger seat as a free thank-you gift. Or you might occasionally notice a small problem that you could easily resolve for a customer for free. You should get their approval prior to performing the job of course but reiterate that it’s a problem you noticed and wanted to offer this service for free for them. These small gestures go a very long way toward building huge amounts of trust and good will with your customers. It’s unlikely that your competitors will be doing something similar and, when it comes to word-of-mouth advertising, you’ll be the talk of the town.
Be Quick to Recommend not Performing a Service
Creating trust and loyalty with your clients can come from talking them out of an expensive service they thought they needed when in fact it might be a waste of money given their needs and circumstances. It’s easy to get caught up in what cash you’re bringing in today and not think about long-term relationships. This isn’t likely going to be something you need to do often, but it will happen. Being honest and transparent with your client will lead them to completely trust you and recommend you to all of their friends. By turning down a few bucks today you’ll earn many more tomorrow.
Be Quick to Respond and Proactively Communicate
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Promptly answer your phone, e-mails, text messages, etc. Always ensure your customer is fully informed. If something comes up, notify them immediately. After the service is complete and the customer has their car or truck, follow up with them to see if they are still satisfied or if they noticed an issue or had a concern. Be as available to them as you can reasonably be. Good communication will help prevent confusion and misunderstandings. It will also let your client know they are important to you and that you want them to get the quality results they expect.
Small and consistent efforts on your part can create customer loyalty. Creating loyalty is more of a frame of mind on your part than anything else. If you can create an atmosphere of helpful service, transparent communication, and small “WOWs” for your customers, you’ll create loyal clients that will promote you to their friends and increase your sales over the long term.
Will Creech is an auto enthusiast and writes a detailing blog. For more information about Will and his articles, please visit DetailDIY.com. You can learn more about Jeffrey Gitomer and customer loyalty at Gitomer.com.