Success Is In the Details

April 2, 2024

We're all accustomed to calling our colleagues to get info on the industry’s pulse. We also commiserate with our colleagues in an effort to feel better about what is or is not happening within our own walls.

From time to time — certainly not always — the chatter we gather is actually a result of widespread symptoms that span markets.  

Warren Buffet once summed up the end result of all these conversations by saying, “Only when the tide goes out do you see who has been swimming naked."  

I'm certainly not guaranteeing a receding tide, but it seems this might be a good time to change our discussions towards what we should already have done and will need to do to ensure continued success. 

So what’s next? Details, that's what.

When markets flow freely, they do so because consumers feel less pressure to discern the penny from the nickel. The end result is that your attention to detail doesn't matter quite as much.  

But when markets pull back, so do the pennies. Attention to detail then becomes really important.  

In an ideal situation, the details at your business are handled tightly on a daily basis.

That said, even the most detail-oriented tire dealership gathers dust and sometimes needs a wash and a fresh coat of wax. 

Getting through to customers at the right time, with the right value, is always important. Customer relation management (CRM) is vitally important before the traffic slows, not just when it slows.  

Let's assume you see a customer’s car five times a year. That's about one visit every two-and-half months.

If your CRM offers and reminders aren't dialed in, you'll likely see a delay when business slows. Get your CRM dialed in today.

Your market strategy consists of your value package, your competitive advantage and your loss leader. 

If your value package isn't clearly communicated in all of your customer touches, you may lose.  

If your competitive advantage isn't expressed, backed up and communicated with every transaction, you may lose.

If your loss leader isn't timely and priced right, you may lose.

Align your CRM with your market strategy and you’ll create a win/win.

When's the last time you recorded and listened to your team on the phone? If it's been a while, even for those who have phone training programs, I bet you'll be disappointed — and so are your customers.  

I phone-shop throughout the country regularly and I bet that very few of your team members are asking for the sale in any meaningful and effective way.

How about the way your team presents vehicle inspections? Impressed? I sure hope so. How about your warranties?

If you want to elevate your business to being best-in-class, you have to professionalize your customer experience across every step of their journey. That means your team has to understand the customer’s journey.

We've all gone to the doctor’s office and been placed on a treatment journey with zero promises of when that journey will end. Your customers’ experience is no different.

Your team should be setting expectations up front in order to level-set the customer. If you can’t deliver on your promises, renegotiate.

Once you're on a level playing field, provide a few updates to support your promises or renegotiate them again.

People buy because the perceived value is greater than the perceived investment.

If they leave your business having a reduced sense of value for the time invested, their perceived investment — regardless of actual price — goes up. 

You can pressure-wash every corner of your shop, service your equipment, paint your bay doors and spit shine your showroom, but none of those things will resonate with customers if you aren’t delivering on the promises you make.

Professionalizing the customer experience will ensure you're not left exposed when the tide recedes.

In the meantime, you won't be so stressed when calling colleagues to commiserate about the market. Instead, you'll be handling the customers they don't have. 

Remember, success is in the details. 

About the Author

Randy O'Connor

Tire and auto industry veteran Randy O’Connor is the Owner/Principal of D2D Development Group (Dealer to Dealer Development Group.) He can be reached at [email protected]. For more information, please visit www.d2ddevelopmentgroup.com.

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