Does your dealership have a CRM but no RMS? If so, you're not alone.
Before the age of computers hit full swing and the automotive industry caught up, managing your customer base and prospective clients meant a Rolodex and a lot of ink. Time. Lack of automation. Needless to say, everyone knows the unique benefits for having an automotive CRM. Which is why if you’re in a position to afford one as a dealer, there’s no doubt you already have one. It’s standard protocol and helps take business operations to the next level.
It’s easy to understand the necessity for a digital tool to manage all of the information and automate processes for your current clients and prospects – the people you’ve spent money acquiring as leads. Your highly trained salespeople have spent the time building a relationship with that lead, ideally turning them into a paying customer. Then what? You spend countless marketing dollars on retargeting to get them back in after the sale for service. Put follow up processes in place to turn them into repeat customers.
But what other asset do we leave on the table unmanaged? The inner and outer circles of those acquired customers.
Now, don’t get us wrong, most people have a referral “program” in place. It’s dependent on your salespeople even asking for referrals and the only tool most dealerships use for facilitating this process is still on the back of a business card. The classic “Send me a referral and receive $100.” Outdated as a walkman.
Companies have tried to solve this problem in the past with clunky online referral management programs that required the DNA of every referring customer to “sign up” and become a referrer. A few have done a decent job at convincing dealers to use their online referral program tool – but they fall short because customers don’t use it. At least, not to any substantial degree.
Enter RMS. A true Referral Management System consists of a mobile free app for the consumer to use that is effortless to use and is focused on being a consumer tool. It’s their social business networking app. A word of mouth app in their pocket at all times, not just a piece of dealer marketing made manifest through mobile software that hijacks their phone. Every feature, every aspect of the user interface must be designed that way.
An RMS also consists of a dealer portal and total dealer account that allows the dealership to plugin to that free app, simply and intuitively, and receive every referral sent through the consumer app as a tracked lead. Now, it’s a system. One with a closed loop process that allows consumers to be notified when their tracked referral buys a car.
How important is it to have a Referral Management System, though? The truth: equally important as a CRM. It’s practically the yin to CRM’s yang. Here’s why:
You spend X amount of dollars acquiring and then retaining Customer B. If your dealership has provided an award-winning customer experience, that customer is going to want to tell people about it. Word of mouth is still king – people just get distracted by the barrage of online advertising pummeling them daily, but let’s be clear, it’s still king. Highest gross profits. Best closing ratios. It’s still the most profitable source of lead for dealerships as well and according to studies, every consumer has 150 people in their circle. If CRM allows you to manage current clients/prospects, an RMS enables you to capture and manage their entire potential circle. Everyone on the receiving end of that word of mouth thing we talked about.
If you have some form of referral program tool already, that’s fantastic. You’re working with a Blackberry. Clunky keyboard. Over-complicated. Not great penetration levels. Pretty useful due to lack of other options. However, we’ll let you in on a little secret. When it comes to referral program tools, the iPhone is here.
It’s a neat RMS called Automonkey and we’d love to show it to you.