A prescription for ailing sales

When we get sick, we head to the doctor. Typically, we get a general assessment and then the physician makes a referral. The primary care doctor is the one we would like to have cured us, but in most cases, an additional step is necessary to get to the desired result. The same is true for sales success in today’s powersports market.

Asking for referrals is a proven prescription to cure ailing sales. In fact, according to a recent MIC survey, the influence of friends and family ranked as the third most important factor in a riders decision to purchase. Furthermore, you are 50 percent more likely to close a referred prospect than a cold walk-in.

So why is it that most sales people in the powersports industry don’t take their medicine (ask for referrals) regularly?

The most common reasons (excuses) are:

  • Fear of rejection
  • No formal dealership referral program
  • Not included as a step in the follow-up process

Powersports activities are typically enjoyed in groups. A high percentage of customers are members of clubs, attend group rides frequently and have a primary circle of friends that participate in the sport. The point is, most everybody knows somebody else who rides.

If a prospect is not ready to buy today, ask him if he has a buddy who might be. Inform him of your dealerships referral program and get the name or names of others in his circle who might be interested.

The optimum chance to get a referral is just after a customer has done business with you. Including a referral request in your post-sale follow-up calls is a must. Making a specific referral request via a letter or email can be very effective as well. Your CRM should be set to remind the salesperson and automate this process for each sale. It is best to include a coupon rewarding the customer for referring a friend. It is even more effective to include an incentive for the person who was referred as well. A discount coupon, gift card or T-shirt will provide additional incentive to make the visit.

As we move through the seasonal slow period for most of the country, reaching out to customers and asking for a referral is a great way to generate floor traffic and make additional sales. Getting referrals from powersports enthusiasts is easier than you think. All you have to do is ask!

Mark Hoadley is national sales manager of V-SEPT Inc. Mark has more than 20 years of experience helping business and powersports dealers to create, improve and manage customer relationships through technology and business processes. V-SEPT Inc. is a provider of integrated customer relationship management and follow-up marketing tools to the powersports, marine and RV industries.
Contact: mhoadley@v-sept.com
Website: www.v-sept.com


One comment

  1. This is an excellent reminder Mark, and still remarkably a very underused tool. The proliferation of social media and various public rating systems should prove that a customer’s opinion is 100 times more valuable that anything that a salesperson may say. There is a level of credibility already established if you get recommended by a friend. In this market where quality leads are much. much harder to come by, a salesperson should be doing everything they can to try to hit the ground running.

    Also on the subject of post-sale follow-up, a handwritten letter will get you much more visibility than an e-mail or printed (templated- gasp!) letter.

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