Now that I’m back in the swing of things at the car business after spending the last few months helping small businesses grow with Connect Marketing, it strikes me that if small businesses work to engage and follow up with their customers the same way a great car salesperson does, they would be rich.
Rich? Okay maybe not rich, but certainly more effective. Here’s a recent example for you. This week, I inquired with a small business about their services. The owner answered the phone and described to me her services and processes, which by the way sounded very convenient to her and very inconvenient to me. Concluding the conversation, she did not invite me to come in or ask my name. For her, I was just asking for information, but for me, she turned a buyer into a shopper.
In the automotive business, a great salesperson will follow up with you till you’ve passed onto the next life. We perceive that you’re busy and will put off making a big decision like a vehicle purchase as long as possible. We’re in the business of selling cars, so we call, email, send carrier pigeons - all in hope of spurring you along to make a decision. Are we annoying? Yes, probably. Does it work? Yes, mostly.
So, what to do as a small business owner with limited resources trying to grow your business? Plan for and cherish customer inquiries. Have a phone script or at least a few points to be sure and cover in each conversation. Create and implement a system for follow up -whether it’s your calendar or a customer relationship manager.
In every conversation to be sure to capture or cover:
• Customer’s name, email and number
• Short verbiage on how to describe your business
• How you are different from your competition
• Why your customer should choose you
• Answers to a few basic questions – remember to ask questions so you know what your customer needs
• Next step – always ask the customer to do something whether it is come in for an appointment, learn more online, a specific time you can follow up by phone or email
• Then, follow up.
Lead the conversation – treat it like an agenda in a meeting that may run three hours if you don’t jump in and stay on task. Remember this is your customer – or she will be your customer if you give her a reason to stop shopping and start buying.
Monica Parker MonicaDParker@gmail.com 451-6372
Monica Parker is the e-commerce manager for the Mountain View Nissan and Mountain View Chrysler dealerships. Originally from northwest Alabama, she moved to the area and graduated from UTC. After years working in the restaurant industry, she launched and managed the special events department at the Hunter Museum of American Art. Then, she managed e-commerce for BMW of Chattanooga where she focused on marketing/advertising, CRM management, and reputation management. Then, she joined the Connect Marketing team, where she continues to contribute as a guest editor in her new role at two of the Mountain View dealerships.