Maximize Your Existing Pipeline. Optimize Your Lease Loyalty Sales Process.
Want a lead that costs $0? Who doesn’t!
A customer that is an in-market buyer that you already know their current monthly payment, driving habits and model preferences for; and who is already familiar with your brand and perhaps your service department – is the ideal customer. Selling a vehicle to “this customer” should be a breeze and will grow your margin.
A lease customer near the end of their leased vehicle term is “this customer.”
Today, it’s more important than ever to focus on specific segments of your overall customer base as a means to stabilize your sales pipeline, retain more customers and grow loyalty. In the face of current market conditions brought upon by the global pandemic a seismic shift is taking place in the methods used to reach and sell to customers beyond your showroom floor.
We recommend you inspect your customer journey in-store and online. It may be time to evaluate your communications to ensure you’re delivering a message that is timely and relevant to the current environment including social distancing and “stay at home” orders as they evolve. Your communications and customer experience today will make the difference for new sales and retaining lease customers.
Turn Existing Leases Into Leads
The popularity of leasing has grown over the past decade due to the benefits of leasing versus ownership. Capitalizing on the lease by moving a customer from an existing into a new lease takes a coordinated effort.
A dealer that invests on the entire lease lifecycle will focus its sales pipeline on those customers who return for service maintenance and repairs. A repeated strong experience builds the customer’s trust and goodwill for the dealership which converts into brand and store loyalty. The final 12-months of a lease term are the most critical to bring that customer back into your sales funnel.
Tools such as DealerTrack’s customer data mining will give you a view of all your maturing lease customers listed within a given a time range and contain a wealth of business development data. Most customer lists will provide you the current customer address, monthly payment, year/model/VIN of their current lease and in many cases their current pre-approval amount, along with any special lease loyalty incentives they qualify for.
Such customer data will put your dealership in a position to take action with a value statement tailored to a specific customer. With it, you can pull a shopper back into your funnel by delivering a customized payment quote on the same or next model with an incentivized ‘reason-to-buy’.
Data mining technologies and products do exist but they are not a necessity and many efforts can be conducted manually.
- Extracting historical DMS information into Excel format
- Pair with information from DealerTrack
- Maintain contact using CRM processes – Map these out for long-term success
- Generate personal mail delivery using a manual mail merge in Word
Processes and timeline can be tailored to individual needs and messaging of your store. Here are a few idea starters for customer communication activities that start 12-months before the lease end:
- 12-months – Initial contact informing the customer of lease end options – communications done via both email and USPS mail
- 10-months – Communicate key timelines and expectations to customers, leading to lease termination (inspection, wear and tear)
- 8-Months – Communicate the customer’s custom financial aspects; plan for allowed mileage, preventative maintenance (mainly tires and LOF), dealer offered MPI, and extended warranty
- 6-months – Communicate **Purchase Critical Timeline** – introduce digital retailing options, offer phone consultation, or chat to review the above information and determine purchase needs. Financial planning to achieve customer needs
- 5-Months – Communicate internally with UCM to determine early-out trade options. This is an ideal time to execute a marketing value proposition to the customer with a model up lease offer, customized around their pre-approval vs current payment and an incentive to Trade NOW
- 4-Months – Refine proposal options, prepare for available pull-ahead programs, send customer to SEO page on site to review lease renewal process and sales engagement. New leads should be directed to the appropriate originating salesperson in the CRM
- 3-Months – Contact customer to schedule multi-point inspection, estimate additional preventative services needed to terminate lease, assist to schedule inspection with leasing company
- 2-Months – Refine offers based on current manufacturer incentives and reiterate lease-end options in email and calls. Consider creating additional value proposition with a call-to-action to provide the customer the incentive to waive lease termination fees if they trade in/up today
- 1-Month – 30 days to lease termination is the strike zone. Ignoring the previous 11 months of customer preparation timeline can lead to customer brand/store defection
Beginning a new lease term gives the dealer the right to continue the sales – to service – back to sales relationship. A dealer who proactively engages maturing lease customers with a well-defined process will benefit from higher owner loyalty, better CSI and less employee turnover with salespeople who sell more.
Now, who doesn’t want that?