By Howard Leavitt, President, AutoRaptor CRM
I did not wake up one day and think that if only I had a CRM application, then I surely could sell more cars. The term “customer relationship management” did not exist in 1983. If it did, no one in this industry shared or explained what a CRM would do or could do to help you sell cars. Managing your business was done on paper and it seemed a good enough system.
• We managed to sell all our vehicles eventually so why change and do anything differently.
• We could handle the volume and felt like the old adage was true, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
• The Internet did not exist, we had a good location and a business was very good.
• Volume started inching up and as we sold more cars and produce more paper work I realized we were losing deals.
What worked for us for so long was starting to become unsustainable. It was unacceptable, there had to be a better way.
On the way home one night, I stopped by a retail software chain store to see if there was a possible solution to my problem and found a contact manager, a digital version of what we were struggling to keep up with on paper, and that was the beginning of the next phase of my life. I wanted everyone to see the value and how to use digital technology for follow up.
Eager to learn more about the methods and systems other industries use to grow and maintain relationships with individual customers, my management team and I flew to Dearborn for a week of seminars on team management and customer relations.
It was simple: they collected personal data not just contact data with every person they touched. It was a continual process as they added information to a client’s database, birthday, personal color choices, weight changes and all the information that would help sell the next article of clothing. The light went off for all of us that we were just collecting basic contact information.
• What if we started to collect personal data that would help build a relationship with the prospect or client? It should enable us to build a relation with a higher potential for a sale.
• More sales was the goal and we now insight to the process. What tool could we use to expand the contact manager and collect the additional information?
Today it is called a CRM/ILM application.
CRMs are more robust today but the end goal is the same: to build a relationship with the people you touch with a focus on creating a positive experience that will produce more sales. Using basic follow up techniques, using data collection order to build better relationships with your customers, and managing all of this with a digital CRM application will reap benefits in today’s competitive world.