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How car dealers can win over new customers and retain them long-term

Welcome to this week’s episode of Used Cars Weekly, the original CBT News show dedicated to bringing car dealers best practices and tips for the used car department, in-depth dealer interviews, hands-on dealership strategies, as well as vendor analysis. Today, host Jasen Rice, founder of Lotpop, shares his tips for acquiring new customers and retaining them in the long run.

Rice begins the episode by describing an experience he had trying to purchase a golf cart for his trip to Florida. With his Airbnb being a short distance to the beach, he decided it would be best to purchase a golf cart instead of renting one. As he browsed the internet, he came upon a business that stated on their website, that they had 20 used-golf carts available. Once he arrived, he had to wait an extra 20 minutes for them to open because their business hours were different than what was posted on the internet. Additionally, the 20 used-golf carts listed on the website had actually been sold already!

Rice noticed a lot of similarities between the pain points he experienced and the pain points that customers often experience when they’re in the market for a vehicle. In order to entice new customers, and keep them coming back, here are a few key marketing components to be aware of:

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Business hours: Due to the pandemic, a lot of companies had to shift their business hours to accommodate the needs of the business and the consumers. Make sure wherever your hours are posted, whether they are on your website, Google or Yelp, they are updated and consistent.

Check inventory: If you have a website with inventory, make sure it’s getting checked daily. Arriving at the store, to realize, the company has sold out completely, is an inconvenience to the customer. It also means that the car dealership has more than likely lost a customer and future business if the person decides to post a bad online review.

Customer service: Even after sitting outside the business for 20 minutes, Rice still tried to rent a golf cart that was unavailable. Always be willing to go above and beyond for a customer. You can call around to find other available inventory, ask them to come back, or offer a small incentive due to the inconvenience. Customers want businesses that care.

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Jasen Rice
Jasen Rice
Jasen Rice began his career on the retail side in 1997 selling cars online, then running award-winning internet departments along with being a GSM of an independent used car dealer. His next 8+ years were spent on the vendor side as a Performance Manager for vAuto allowing him to visit thousands of dealers across the nation and train them on used car inventory management. He finished his time with vAuto as a Director of Performance Management in the East and started his own company, Lotpop, in 2013. Jasen was featured on the cover of Digital Dealer in Oct. 2005 and awarded the 2006 AAISP (Association of Automotive Internet Sales Professionals) Professional Excellence Award. He's been a featured blogger for AutoSuccess Magazine and continues to speak at conferences every year. He is happily married to Kelly since 1999, is the father of five children and loves to go camping and cycling.

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