The Power of Follow Up

When a private seller is initially contacted by a dealership about their vehicle listing, they are naturally defensive, unsure if it’s solely a means to have them “trade up” or if the dealership wants to “lowball” the vehicle for an unreasonable amount. Two things are at the top of their mind during this first contact.

  • Is this a legitimate contact?
  • Will the dealer pay me a fair price?

This can cause stress and at times, agitation on behalf of the seller. It’s our objective to put the seller at ease and if necessary, provide them with a range for their vehicle. Additionally, their perception of what the vehicle is worth may be much higher than the actual market value. This often means we won’t get past the seller’s emotions in the first contact.

However, after a few weeks of dealing with private buyers, struggling to figure out how to pay off the vehicle, negotiating title transfer, etc. Sellers often become much more receptive to a transaction with a dealership. And with good reason! We are the experts at transferring titles, conducting payoff activity and providing an equity check to the seller.

Why Following Up is Important

This is why it is important to have a strong follow up process in place to continue the dialog with the seller as they progress through their journey. The first attempt is only an introduction to the concept of a dealership buying their vehicle. Using a follow up process that includes multiple contacts exponentially increases the chances for a successful acquisition. Everybody in sales has heard the term before, “It’s a numbers game”.

Using a follow up schedule will exponentially increase your total acquisitions compared to a single call. At a minimum, a dealership should be contacting sellers at least four times after the initial outbound text message and up to five times for a robust follow up process. Keep the following in mind when developing your follow up schedule.

  • Be as consistent and disciplined with the follow up schedule
  • Plan the follow up so it doesn’t land on the same day of the week each time
  • Monitor your work and coordinate with your team to prevent lost opportunities

The Value of Meaningful Contact

Another important point to consider when you are developing your follow up process is the quality of the contact. Avoid contacting sellers with a “checking in” mentality and instead opt for utilizing the valuable initial contact information by taking notes in your CRM or email about the reasons they were selling or their attachment to the vehicle.

The point being, meaningful contact goes a long way in developing the rapport and relationship with your seller rather than adopting a “touching base” mentality. Letting the seller know you’re still interested in acquiring their vehicle and then reinforce that follow up with personal information or an offer of your expertise.

Introduce a Four “No” Follow-Up Strategy

Once you’ve developed a sound process and meaningful contact touch points, you should stack the odds in your favor by introducing a “Four No Strategy”, this means you maintain contact with sellers until each one of them has said “No”, or “Not Now”, or “Not Yet” at least four times. Every time you’re in contact you have an opportunity to advance and build the relationship with the consumer.

Acquisition Teams and Buy Centers with a “Four No” strategy will always enjoy a conversion rate many times higher than their competitors who have no such strategy. What strategies do you have on your acquisition team right now to ensure that you contact your sellers regularly in a gentle and meaningful way so that you win their business and their loyalty?

“Top of Mind” Awareness

There’s also the fact that about 50% of consumers requesting information from your dealership today will not sell for at least 14 days, while 20% of those will take more than 21 days to sell.

Contacting your prospective sellers every 7 days or sooner builds trust and professionalism and keeps “top of mind” awareness. In this context, your customers do not regard contact for status of their vehicle and making appointments as a waste of time or contact.

How do you nurture your consumers so that they learn to trust you and see you as a professional, someone they can depend on? This simple strategy could be critical to the success of your acquisition team or buy center. Implement it and prosper or ignore it at your peril.

 

 

Mark is Director, Dealer Development at Vehicle Acquisition Network. His experience includes the design, development and management of performance improvement, training and technology solutions as well as the successful implementation of large scale, multi-year projects for companies including Ford, Navistar, BMW, Rolls Royce and MINI.

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