Road to a Sale Step 12

It's over. Or is it? The road to a sale step 12 will teach you that making the sale is only the beginning...or it should be. Most sales training programs identify this step as "Ask for referrals and follow-up." What they recommend is correct but the order is wrong.

Follow-up and ask for referrals is the proper order and in the road to a sale step 12 module you will find out why. I have seen many training articles and methods that teach there is no better time to ask for a referral than at the time of the sale. I disagree. Immediately asking for a referral gives your customer the impression you are done with them and on to the next one.

When is the best time to ask for referrals? Each time you contact your customers. That being said let's talk about the time table for proper follow-up.

Here is a list of when and some recommendations for the content of your contact.

  • Within 24 hours after delivery
    This should be a personal phone call. First, to thank them for their business and the confidence and trust they placed in you and your dealership. Second, to make sure there are no issues that need to be resolved. Perhaps something is not working properly on the vehicle. Before you tell them to "just bring it" and create the potential for a disaster re-read Step 11 and avoid this common mistake.

  • 3 Days after delivery
    Your customer has now had a chance to show their vehicle to their friends, family and co-workers. This is the perfect time to ask for referrals. When one person in a particular group gets a new vehicle it starts a chain reaction. Now everyone begins to think about a new vehicle.

  • 10 days after delivery
    This contact is to once again make certain your customer is not experiencing any problems. They are about 10-12 days away from receiving the manufacturer's survey. Take this opportunity to address any issues that would lead to a poor score.

  • 30 days after delivery
    This contact does a couple of things. One, it shows the customer you are there for service after the sale. Two, it once again allows you to ask for a referral.Remind your customer to send in a completely satisfied survey if they have not done so already.

    The time table presented in the road to a sale step 12 is only a guide. Your dealership may have a different set of dates and if so, use those. The content and purpose of the contact is what is important.

    So... how do you ask for referrals?

    You could pick up the phone and say, "Hi Mr. Customer. This is Joe from ABC Dealership. You don't know anyone looking for a car, do you?" Or you could dress it up and say something flowery like, "Hi Mr. Customer, this is Joe from ABC Dealership. I want to provide the same great deal and service to your friends..." blah, blah, blah.

    Do you really think that 10 seconds before your call your customer was thinking, "Boy, I wish ol' Joe would call. I am dying to give him the name of someone who needs a car."

    That would be nice, but this is the real world. Just as every call should have a purpose, so should a call asking for referral business. What purpose is that? To get referrals you say? Yes.

    But "how" is the trick. I hope you agree with me that neither of the two methods in the previous paragraph are really very effective.

    How about approaching it from another angle? Instead of calling to ask them for something how about a call to give them some information? Here is a much better approach for getting referrals during the road to a sale step 12.

    "Mr. Customer, this is Joe from ABC Dealership. Did I catch you at a convenient moment?...Good, the reason for my call is simple. I know you are not in the market for a vehicle since you just bought a new one but we just traded for a nice little '02 Toyota Corolla that would make a terrific second car for someone.
    You don't know anyone looking for a car for a student or just something to commute in, do you?"

    Now, remember what I said earlier. When people get a new vehicle they want to show it off to everyone. The "new car fever" sets in. It's on everyone's mind. So, your customer might just say..."You know, Joe. The other day at work Bill was talking about buying his daughter a car for college." Now how easy is it to ask for Bill's contact info from your customer and ask if they would mind if you told Bill they suggested you call?

    Repeat and referral business is your lifeblood. Use the road to a sale step 12 effectively and build your business.

    Make sure you never miss an update to the StayOnTarget training series. All you need to do is let me know where to send it.


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