And retailers who do not have a structured customer follow-up programme are likely to be completing less than half of the potential sales on offer.
Over a three-month period ending October, a sample of 25 dealerships were shown to have increased unit sales by more than 10% as a result of regularly contacting customers while they are in the process of changing their car.
The results are from a survey carried out by business support company eGoodManners of a randomly selected group of dealerships which use its electronic sales management system.
The dealerships sold 7,695 cars during the period, of which almost half (48%) were sold as a result of pro-active calls to the customer after the initial contact. Of the total, 3,039 units were sold after sales staff made up to three follow-up calls, while 773 sales were achieved at or beyond the fourth contact – an increase of 10.7% over what would have been achieved if no further calls had been made. Few dealers currently persist with customer contact for this length of time.
Michael Jackson, eGoodManners chairman, believes it is unlikely this business would have occurred if the sales staff were not using a professional follow-up system.
“We all know that if a salesperson gets a sales enquiry, they don’t always close the sale at their first meeting with a customer. Some salespeople will follow-up the customer once or twice afterwards, but rarely more than that,” says Jackson.
“In some cases, there is a no follow-up at all. That’s because many salespeople and managers believe follow-up is a waste of time. Our research shows this is simply not the case. Consistent customer follow-up is the most cost-efficient way there is to increase sales.”
At Harratts Volvo in Bradford, general manager Steve Lester believes the company’s follow-up programme is bringing substantial additional business.
“It has also helped us to improve our customer satisfaction and retention, because it ensures salespeople follow our process and stay in touch with our customers and prospects,” he says.