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How to Go from Potential to Essential

2011_07_picture-2How do you turn a lead into a customer for life. Here are a few ideas:

  • Be responsive.You have to respond in a reasonable amount of time. 24 hours is best. 48 hours is good. Anything else really isn’t acceptable. The most common consumer forum comment I get from customers regarding emailing or calling dealers: “No one ever got back to me!”I am fanatical about keeping my email inbox clear. I return all messages within 24 hours if not much sooner. How can I do this? I take action on every message immediately. I delete it, say “yes,” say “no,” or assign it to someone else or file it in a project file or an archive.I type approximately 60 words a minute (unless someone’s watching then I stumble horribly). I can respond to most email messages in about 15 seconds (see above). When someone tells me they didn’t have time to return a message it tells me they aren’t a disciplined or decisive person, aren’t organized or are rude.None of which are attractive qualities.We regularly “shop” dealerships with phone and email inquiries. We’re still waiting to hear from some as long as 18 months ago. Unfortunately in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace race that’s not going to put you on too many podiums.
  • DO NOT SELL THE MOTORCYCLE!You heard me. When I ask some salespeople what they’re trying to accomplish in responding to an inquiry invariably they retort, “I want to sell a motorcycle!” No you don’t.
    You want to make a good impression. You want to answer a question, thereby improving the customer’s condition. You want another call or email. You want to exchange information. At the most you want to arrange for an appointment to meet with the customer.I often ask workshop participants if they are married. To which many reply in the affirmative (some respond, “many times). I then ask if they or their spouse propose marriage over the phone. “Of course not,” they scoff.Same thing. Unless it is an extremely rare occurrence (you have a hard to find or unique bike, or you’ve discounted it to the point of ridiculousness) it’s not going to happen. Especially in a first communication! So settle in, master the art of the conversation and build trust the way you build wealth. Slowly.This is why quoting out-the-door pricing or quoting trade values in first exchange is not a great practice. You’re proposing marriage, before you’ve gone on your first date. And unless you’re speaking with one of those people who court prison inmates, you’re success won’t be what it should.
  • Present an appealing image.Your email should be nicely formatted, paying attention to salutations, sentence structure and basic grammar. Plus you should have an appropriate, business-like email address. Hopefully you’re using your dealership’s address (its business communication after all) but at all times your e-mail address says something about you, and it’s not always good.I like descriptive: HarleySalesPro@dealership.com; I like provocative: YourSixSecondSalesperson@dealership.com; you should also avoid border line pornographic: SadomasochisticSally@dealership.com.

(Think I make this stuff up? This newsletter list has recently swelled to over three thousand and you should see some of the email addresses of your fellow subscribers! And people ask where I get my material.)

    • Use language well.Whether using email or the phone or even a text message you need to use language well. You don’t need to speak the Queen’s English but you also shouldn’t sound like an illiterate.And please for all that is holy stop saying “like,” as in “I’m, like, … ,” “He’s, like, …,” “They’re, like, … ” It’s almost as if Frank Zappa’s daughter Moon Unit’s “Valley Girl” has made some sort of 21st century reappearance.You don’t need to be unnecessarily polysyllabic but you do want to demonstrate the fact that you’re intelligent. Instead of saying “upside down” forks try “inverted” front forks. Rather than describing the “shiny” chrome, try “gleaming” chrome. Replace “cool lines” with “elegant design.” When you point out a feature of a product substitute “a good feature is …” with “a compelling reason to consider this is …” It’s about building a big engine and language is the key to displacement.
    • And in case I didn’t make my point … use language well.Learn how to be descriptive and you will absolutely set yourself apart from the swarm of other salespeople. Whether in email messages, on the phone or face to face here are a few other things you should know how to use:
      • Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison; rug rat, couch potato, road hog.
        • The engine is the heart and soul of this motorcycle.
        • This used bike is a diamond in the rough.
        • There has been an explosion of interest in motorcycling in our community.
      • Simile: simile is the comparison of two unlike things using the word ‘like’ or ‘as’, e.g. an example of a simile would be as big as a bus.
        • The powder coated clear coat on this paint job is hard like a diamond.
        • The final belt drive is as strong as steel.
        • Buying a motorcycle from us is as easy as pie.
      • Analogy: Similarity in some respects between things that areotherwise dissimilar.
        • Hitting second gear @ 6000 RPM on a V-Rod is like launching an F11 Fighter jet off an aircraft carrier.
        • Easing this CBR 600RR through a sweeping “S” curve is as smooth as Tiger Woods’ golf swing.
        • The profile of the new Harley-Davidson Nightster is so gorgeous it’s like the Mona Lisa of motorcycles.

Add these powerful ideas to your skill set, and soon your customers will see you not as potential but essential.

The profile of the new 1200 Harley-Davidson Nightster is so gorgeous it’s like the Mona Lisa of motorcycles.