The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 6 months ago

How Tech Can Help Build Better Relationships w/ Brian Miller

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

When we fast-forward and look at technology today, Brian Miller suggests that its best use is to help build better relationships with customers. 

In this episode, Brian explains how your dealership can leverage technology to build more meaningful relationships of trust that will power generational and long-term customer growth. 

Fortellis 

This episode is proudly sponsored by our friends at Fortellis. No two dealers operate the same way which is why Fortellis provides the tools to create unique apps that help your dealership meet the needs of the market while catering to your operations. 

Not only has Fortellis created an amazing technology platform that’s designed to make life easier for dealers, but they are also pouring back into the community with events like their dealer dev day. It’s a 3-day event that empowers attendees to network with each other to create smarter, faster, and better apps for the dealer community. 

Visit Fortellis.io to browse their marketplace of apps and integrations that will allow you to run your business, your way.

Hey gang, there are fewer things Iregret more than not investing in zoom when I had the chance. How was Isupposed to know there's gonna be a pandemic and zoom stocks would explode.Looking back 20 years from now, I don't want to have the same sinking feelingsitting on the sidelines knowing I could have jumped on another bandwagonsooner. luckily we know what the next big boom and retail automotive is andthat's why companies like four telus have provided the tools to createunique apps that will help your dealership meet the demands of themarket. You see no to dealers operate. The same way the beauty about four tellus, is that you can pick and choose the apps and workflows that help you meetthe demands of the market while catering to your operations, not onlyis foretell has created an amazing technology platform that's designed tomake life easier for dealers. They are pouring back into the community withevents like their dealer DVD. It's a three day event that empowers attendeesto network with each other to create smarter faster and better apps for thedealer community. So my beloved DPB gang, the best thing that you can doright now is visit the four telus marketplace and browse through theirgrowing library of apps and integrations that will allow you to runyour business your way, visit four telus dot iO to learn more. That's fourtell us dot i o uh, huh. Yeah. I was just recently working on a blogpost and remembering back to my days and sales. Yeah, back in the day when Isold cars before the internet. Um, you know, and when I used to sell vehiclesoriginally I was that guy that would go out and take a picture of you with acamera. Remember these things called cameras and film. Once a week I go tothe local drugstore and wait a day to have them developed. It was a neatprocess. You know two prints one for the customer to send them in an M. A.In an actual envelope with a stamp...

...thanking them for their purchase.Another one that I was. How many cards? How many personal photo printers haveyou bought? Right like remember when those came out you're like wait I can'tlive at home. Yeah and they were like see grand or something crazy like that.I think so. Yeah I would I would stick these on a just a card and I kept cardboxes and anytime I connected with a customer I would contact them everyyear I would remind them I would send them birthday letters, I would workwith them when I knew that customer was coming in to see me on an appointment.I pulled out that card and I'd look at that picture and I look on the back ofthe card and there I had written down the names of their kids, what they did,what kind of career their aspirations were, what their other vehiclepurchases were. What else I sold them when they were in everything there forservice. I'd make a note. I kept this nice little sheet for one simple reason.I knew that I could only survive in sales based upon my relationship withthat customer. Everything began with that relationship. That's why I didn'tjust sell 10 cars a month. That's why I was a 25-30 car month guy. And if Iwent from dealership agency, the dealership be those 25 or 30 customerscame with me because of the relationship. And this is the thingthat always blows my mind when we, when we fast forward and look at technologytoday and we think about something like we were talking about the leaves.That's a crm. Okay, what does crm stand for customer relationship management? But ask most dealers what they are isand they're still trying to understand that and figure that out. I remember in1999 2000 setting up an early internet internet sales team and we used an I. L.M. Internet lead management and then we advanced out of ill um into CMScustomer management system. We were managing the leads, We were managingthe customers. It wasn't until recently...

...that the idea of managing therelationship was even added into into the, into our vernacular and ask mostdealers today what they managed, they manage the process rather than therelationship. The beauty of what we're doing with for telus is we offer newtools to take that crm and really make the relationship key. We can nowimmediately understand more information about that customer. So when we build aresponse, it's the right response. We can communicate in a timely way. Whensomeone's in for service, we can communicate the more relevant way. Whenwe're talking through a sales process, we go from just a management tool, well,we're not just working with the customer, we're actually doing whatwe're supposed to, we're not taking that customer relationship and that'sthe part that we're trying to manage makes sense. 100%. And I love thatbecause I would say out of the 500 Plus episodes of the podcast, a solid 60-plus of them specificallyspeak to the importance of relationship and so here we are, starting with thetech conversation and we filled that bucket for all the tech nerds that arepart of the DPB gang, but then it always, always, alwaysfinds its way back to relationships, not just any relationships, why wouldyou even want to manage the relationship so that you can build atrusting relationship? I do have one question kind of as a sidebar, I'mgonna have to dig deep back into your, your front line days, how in the balls can a car sales professional find outwhat someone's career aspirations are or life aspirations are? Because I feellike today people are triggered over...

...the mustard that was two yellow on there, like a hot dog. How do you approach? Like, let's justtalk about how you did it back then, How do you find out that level ofinformation, what the kids are interested in? I feel like if I askedsomebody what their kids were interested in today, they'd be like,who's asking? Yeah, what do you want to know that you're stepping, you knowwhere I live? You know, it's like this kind of a weird get out of my face, youknow, it's like that's how did you do that? How did you approach that to evenget that kind of data? Well, you know, when I would actuallylook at my cards, if I was lacking that data, first of all, I would step backand say, okay, what did I not do right in my process? If I didn't establishtrust early in that process, then I wasn't able to ask those questions orget those answers, which means I failed probably as a salesperson to initiallydo what I'm supposed to do and that's established trust and then build a relationship, youcan't build a relationship if it's not built on trust, that's the cornerstone.Um, and so for me a lot of times that discussion might begin with how, youknow, obviously you've got the general agreed at the dealership, you find outwhat their, you know at a high level what the need is. Okay. We'veidentified that they're looking for a new vehicle. We might have verifiedwhat type of vehicle they're looking for, what it's used cases for in thatuse case or your commuting really? Uh, where do you commute to? Oh, you workat? So, and so how is that? Uh, is that where you see yourself in a couple ofyears and you just shut up and let someone talk and you build that bond. And so when you're in that test driveand you load the three kids in the car, there's, there's billy, billy, how oldare you? Seven cool billy. You know what you want to be when you grow upand astronaut? That's pretty cool. I can have that conversation because thetrust has already been established. Yeah, I was in a clubhouse room theother night and it was like sales versus marketingor or no sales, personal brand versus...

...sales. And as you're speaking and I'm writingnotes, um uh it brought to mind peopledeliberating for over an hour sales tactics and then you go, Michael, what's youropinion? And I'm like, well I believe that no sales tactic willwork if you are a dick of a human. Mhm. And the reason I think about that, notbecause I think brian miller is a dick of a human. Quite the contrary. You'reyou're sitting here. I'm writing notes, I wrote down, shut up and let them talk. Ah ask going a step further by asking themwhere they work. Like everything I think about relationships and likefortifying the trust comes from just this innate desire to be a good personand good people care about other people, good people care about letting otherpeople talk. Um most experiences that I've hadpurchasing vehicles, nobody's even cared to ask if I have kids, let aloneinclude them in the test drive and ask their age and what they want to be whenthey grow up. Like to take that level of interest I think is is very uh interesting. So now let's saywe acquire this information in this tech ecosystem. Human beingcollects information, What do I do, Where do I go from here? What do I dowith it? I put it into my Crm and then what Crm connects to what, what wouldbe an example of what I could connect...

...my Crm to make better use of this datathat I've collected. So it may not be as far as even having to put thatinformation into your crm. We're trying to get away from these large amounts ofdata being concentrated in specific areas, from a security reason and justfrom a daily processing point, if that information exists over here in the inthe in the D. M. S, all I need to do is I need to understand where the data is.I just need to flip to that old card I used to use turn it over and get theinformation I need. Put the card back in the box and step away from it. Andusing that same analogy here, let's say I'm at the dealership and I'm about tosend an email and I'm at the service lane. Well I'm contacting this customerand I hit a button and that button can go over and say, okay, this customerhas been in the service department three times each time it was the sameproblem, reported. Not yet fixed. So I know how to craft that email on theflip side. It may be that person has, this is their third vehicle with the,with the company. That being it is the third vehicle that may change the way Iaddressed them from a loyalty perspective, what what offerings I maybe able to provide ease a problem. I could look at it and say, wow! Thelast three cars, they've always done a tire rotation and a detail. Great.That's an automatic Upsell opportunity. Having those data points just using theexample of the service lane gives me a lot more power to do what I need to doquickly and at the same time it may not necessarily be all done at once. MaybeI'm using a contact system that's I schedule the appointment and I get themessage coming through an SmS and in that SMS message I say, oh by the waywe see usually have a detailed work done, we have somebody available, itcan have it done, would you like that as well? So you push the conversationover to there and then when that customer comes back and they drop offthe car, they're off on their way. Maybe that communication system is nowsaying you're cars almost done. We're...

...ready to have you come back and pick itup. Once again, we just want to thank you for for, for purchasing threedifferent cars from us. We value you as a customer man. Well, I got thatinstead of just your car is done. Which one do you think it's gonna remind meto go to that dealer more? Oh my gosh, I'd be tying this now my brains movingon. I I would be tying this into some sort of, well, first of all, um, youknow, creating some sort of a loyalty pro, an internal loyalty program.Forget like whatever the O. E. M. Programs might be and how they try andget you into. I'm creating an internal loyalty program. So you're saying I'vegot a repeat customer, I have that information readily accessible to me. Iwould be integrating that with my loyalty program so that when I pull upthat card, it's telling me as the rep, they qualify for this V. I. P.Experience and that thing would be tied into profit margins so that I'm notconstantly wondering as the dealer principal or as the business owner.Yeah, but if I do that for them, is it cutting too deeply into my profitmargins? Like so I would I would have it almost tied into some sort of profitcalculator where it's like no on their second visit I I as the service repdon't have to ask permission. I am automatically authorized because I seeit up on my screen that mr miller who has come back for this second serviceappointment to get a tire swap and a fluid swap and an oil change that weare going to buy him and his wife dinner at their favorite ketorestaurant. And boom it because I don't have to askpermission. I don't have to go to my manager. It's a no brainer like rain infront of me and all of that is tied into my system. Sure like people aredoing punch cards, why can't I have like something that ties into my owninternal hospitality system. This is something that nobody ever thinks ofand imagine what would happen. You come in for a service appointment forsomething as routine as an oil change...

And I'm walking out with $100 gift cardlike basically see but what happens is because we never reconcile quicklyenough the financials, We don't think that we're making any money then we'llwait. How did we make money on the oil change? You made money on the oilchange because you just invested $100 to keep that customer coming back forthe next two years. Sure. And if you're running into the sales log, you canlook and see that maybe that customer. Okay. This guy might have been the guythat, you know, he grinded us on three new car deals. We know what thepotential grosses in future sale over there. Then again, this might be theguy who grinded this once on, on a new car and then brought his daughter in,his sister in and we just conk them both over the head on a used car. Can Isay that on there? I just did. So, so you're like, okay, there's obviously abig value in this guy because he's a new and used car buyer and I have agreater growth potential just in the future. Sales, never mind the serviceside of it. And to see the tie in without this is the part that's appealing to me.Little to no intervention on my part is going to actually empower my team to domore serving sure to be like, wait. Because now I'm thinking even in thatcontext, he's a new and he used vehicle, uh, customer. But if I could pull up right away andsee anybody that he's referred to me or anybody else in his family that hasalso purchased a vehicle. Now I get a great sense on this one flip cardthat's created by this, this integration of how much generationaland lifetime value potential I have on this customer. And what's even what Ithink is even brilliant going a step further because I know what some mightbe thinking, well then how do I avoid my team judging an individual who mightnot have as much lifetime value...

...potential while that's simple becausethen you're going to have a process baked into this that says, here aresteps you can take to encourage that customer to come back to increaseprobability of lifetime value. You know, you mentioned, you mentionedthis, you mentioned hospitality um in a future world, in the future world, thiswill happen again, but in the past world before Covid you and I spent alot of time in hotels, on planes and uh we we tended to be loyal to certainbrands. For me, I was loyal. I was loyal to the Hilton brand. I've been adiamond member for years. Every time I walk into a Hilton property, what theysee. First of all they see, oh Mr Miller is a diamond level. So I'm goingto Address him a specific way because he's a diamond level for guest. I wasthinking like Motel six. If I've been to that specific location, if I've beenthat they know every time I've been to that location, let's say I complainedtwice about the H. V. A. C. System, right? When they schedule myappointment, they see they schedule room and they see him coming in as adiamond member. The processes diamond member complained about the sameproblem twice. Check the room before he gets here. Now if I'm just a silverlevel, they look at a little differently, but they're always tryingto move me to the gold level and move me to the diamond level. They're tryingto encourage behavior to get me to that level. That's the same approach that wecan do within our industry. But it all begins with looking at those littlemorsels of data in the right way and we can access all that data in near realtime by utilizing a platform like to tell us to get the information we need. I'm Michel Cirillo and you've beenlistening to the dealer Playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, pleaseclick the subscribe button wherever...

...you're listening right now, leave arating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make bigchanges in your life and career and want to connect with positive,nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive DPB Pro community onfacebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content thatisn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks forlistening.

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