There’s no doubt the ship that brought in loads of new customers and boat sales during the pandemic has cleared the harbor. This is evidenced by the eight categories of powerboats that continued on a double-digit-percentage downward trajectory in May compared with a year ago, according to reports from Statistical Surveys.
Understandably, the fast pace of new customer sales during that time was an all-consuming focus. However, it also could have left in its wake time for attending to best customer practices.
With the market returning to more “normalcy” and dealers having to re-energize aggressive sales efforts, it’s time to pause and review how the entire team relates to those critical existing customers.
For starters, here are three surefire ways to make your newest customers’ faces turn red, smoke coming from their ears, and then have them heading out the door at warp speed.
1. Topping the list, simply say to the customer, “We’re really sorry, but there’s nothing we can do for you.” This response is most effective because every customer believes there’s always something the dealer can do for them, regardless of the problem. Blowing someone off ensures they won’t bother (or buy from you) in the future.
It’s a cardinal rule in the dealership to always find a way to help a customer, no matter what.
2. Here’s a gem that guarantees the customer will show you his back. Tell him, “Sorry, your problem isn’t with us; it’s the manufacturer’s fault.” Yes, this can sometimes be true in our industry — our boats and engines are more complex than ever. I know dealers that have had to do a lot of extra work getting a boat ready for sale because the builder failed or couldn’t do the complete job. Every dealer must remember that the customer gave you their money. The customer has no relationship with the builder — the dealer is the only one he rightfully expects to solve his problem.
Accordingly, finding a way to solve the customer’s dilemma is a must in today’s climate. Dishing off responsibility to the manufacturer will ensure that customer won’t buy from you or the manufacturer again.
3. Ever had this happen to you? You go to a store to get a problem resolved, and the employee behind the counter says they can’t change anything for you and then utters these famous instant fighting words: “That’s our store’s policy.” To the customer, such a statement is tantamount to saying: “We don’t care about your problem, we don’t want to hear about it, and that’s final.” Of all that could be said to tick off a customer, rank those as the four most significant words one can use to lose a customer.
Since keeping current customers is central to a dealership’s success, every employee should be cautioned about ever uttering any of these three big blow-offs. Satisfying every customer should be the only dealership policy these days.