There is strong competition from other dealers and independent service shops. With all the money retailers spend to attract and keep customers, a gift is a small and very effective investment that speaks directly to your customer base on an individual level that cannot be easily forgotten or ignored.
Many new car dealerships know that a gift basket or gift to a new buyer makes sense. It’s a pleasant introduction to your business and enhances the overall experience. However, there are other ways to use gifts to build relationships. A few examples: a service customer who has had a bad experience, a sales customer who is celebrating their annual purchase anniversary, and your twenty most loyal owners who spend heavily over a long period of time. The latter are a group that is already spending money in your store. They don’t need big discounts to keep coming back, but they would appreciate a small token of your appreciation and respond well to it. The disgruntled service customer is likely to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. Once their problem is solved, why not surprise and delight with an unexpected gesture of goodwill? Product issues or glitches may be out of your control, but you can fix the relationship. As for the sales customer who already owns the car, maintaining that relationship increases the likelihood that that customer will buy their next vehicle from your store. Even a good parts wholesaler could be rewarded for coming to the dealer instead of ordering parts online or from the independent dealer.
The gifts you choose don’t have to break the bank to be effective. For a new buyer, an elegantly decorated gift basket or champagne bucket with champagne flutes and a bottle of sparkling cider, cheese and crackers, and some delicious truffles can be found for between $50 and $75. You can add promotional items or even a “gift certificate” saying the first oil change is free. Here’s your chance to make sure your customer comes back to you for service. Your gift supplier can make recommendations that fit both the occasion and your budget. Ribbons can be imprinted with your company name and logo to keep your name in front of the customer. Lower-end items might include: chocolate molds to say “thank you from the ABC dealer,” or a gourmet cookie or cake mold with your company name and logo on the lid.
A small, local gift company may serve you better than a large chain or discount store for several reasons:
- A stale or poorly presented gift has the opposite effect
- Better service and face-to-face meetings as needed
- Individual gifts and fresh ideas
- These are creative people who use gifts to market their own business – look for ideas on using themes, slogans, incorporating into your advertising, giveaways for local marketing events, or how to use gifts to say about unusual holidays like Valentine’s Day “We love our customers”
- Unique products created just for you
- All the extras that make a gift special – hand tied bows, personalization, beautiful packaging
- You save shipping and delivery costs