If you’re like many people, you may have a car that is at least 12 years old. If it’s been that long since you have bought one, you might be surprised that your next car buying experience may be shorter and more pleasurable. That’s because customer relations has changed.
Mark Sweeney, President of Mark Sweeney Buick GMC, shared with me his perspective on how to treat customers and why it is so critical to his business.
After listening to his insights, it may make sense to assess how you are handling customer relations for your business.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM MARK SWEENEY, PRESIDENT OF SWEENEY BUICK GMC
HOW DO YOU ADJUST TO CHANGING CONSUMER PREFERENCES? (1:45 in)
In Mark’s words – Even though things have changed, the customer really hasn’t. We try to make them feel at home. It’s an atmosphere where they won’t feel any pressure from the sales people or the managers. We realize that it is a more educated buyer.
Insight – The more educated buyer makes more informed decisions quicker. The mating dance to a sale is quicker. Today’s sales are made by facilitating information rather than hard selling the buyer.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU TRY TO EXCEED CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS? (3:02 in)
In Mark’s words – Free loaner cars, car washes, valet pick up and drop off, after hour sales to cover all bases.
Insight – By doing customer relations the right way, by making it easier for customers to do business with you, the more business you will get from them.
HOW HAS THE INTERNET CHANGED YOUR SALES PROCESS (3:31 in)
In Mark’s words – The buyers are more educated so it makes it easier for us to make the sale. Just ask qualifying questions in terms of how they found the vehicle, how they found us. If they saw it on an internet site, we know that they know the pricing.
Insight – Decisions are made easier when the buyer feels comfortable and trusts the seller. Sweeney creates a casual atmosphere, including having dogs on the premises, to make the buying process a more pleasurable experience.
HOW IMPORTANT IS INTERNET ADVERTSING TO YOUR BUSINESS? (7:27 in)
In Mark’s words – We have found definitely the internet is the place to be. Seventy-five percent of our sales are generated through the internet.
Insight – Although the internet is paying off in a big way, the dealership realizes that traditional advertising on TV, radio and through events is important too for product and dealership awareness.
HOW MIGHT THE INTRODUCTION OF A NEW BATTERY OPERATED CAR AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS? (10:37 in)
In Mark’s words – Anything new does help but you have to stock more cars. Technicians have to be trained. Anything new like that is a learning process.
Insight – With any product addition or subtraction, it’s important to consider all of the other aspects of the business that may be affected – logistics, personnel, advertising, marketing, sales, finance, etc.
HOW MIGHT THE INTRODUCTION OF SELF DRIVING CARS AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS? (12:11 in)
In Mark’s words – It will be a small percentage of the market. It’s hard for me to imagine that someone doesn’t enjoy driving a vehicle.
Insight – Having an ear to the ground on how consumers respond to this change early on should give auto dealers sufficient time to adjust to any significant new trends.