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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Feb 05, 2019

Anti-Relationship Marketing: Avoid These Eight Sales Script Mistakes

Anti-relationship marketing is lethal, and yet so many companies do it.

I’ll bet your company is doing it too.

What is this deadly sales sin?

Anti-relationship marketing is ticking off your customers after you’ve made the sale.

Anti-relationship marketing is standard marketing practice for some companies, and can cost you not only your current customers but generations of customers to come.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s the short version of my story. Three years to the day after I purchased my new Toyota, I got a call from the dealer. The salesperson said, “We'd love to buy back your vehicle, there’s a high demand for it and we’re paying premium dollar.”

As you probably can imagine, this is just an invitation to churn. They're trying to get you to come back in and buy another car or start another lease.

So I politely said, “No thank you. I keep my cars for a long time, over 250,000 miles and about 12 years so I'm not get rid of this car anytime soon.” Sure enough, 30 days later I got the same phone call and heard the same story.

They called, emailed, and sent postcards every 30 days offering to buy back my car. By the fifth month, I said “Please record this in your CRM that I am a buy-and-hold persona. Don't ask me again. If you do, I will never use your dealership again.”

The next month came, and so did the email, postcard, and call. I took my business elsewhere. I'm never going back to that dealer ever. They've lost me, my kids, generations of my family and friends, and now listeners as potential customers.

Unfortunately, my new dealership did exactly the same thing. As did my wife’s car dealer.

This attitude and way of treating a consumer is anti-relationship. If you don't listen to me and absorb the information I'm giving you, we are not communicating. It's the height of laziness and arrogance to treat customers that way.

Now I'm sure these practices work on some level, maybe one in ten, maybe one in 100, convert. When you were spamming and annoying customers, you might uncover the occasional person who did want to sell their car and trade up to the new model.

But where is the value for the rest of the people that don’t?

You could offer them something else, and even more importantly you would have detailed personal information about each one of these customers that you could use to personalize, update, and customize their experience with you to build a relationship for the long-term.

In that spirit, I have some suggestions.

8 Anti-Relationship Mistakes You Need to Avoid:

  1. The buyer’s journey doesn’t end at the sale: How hard would it be for the salesperson to ask, “What are your goals for this car?” You want to capture after-sale value. Segmentation should start early so you can put them into the most profitable funnel for their buyer’s persona. After all, they are still buying services and products from you.
  2. Dear Occupant, I Love You: No channel (email, postcard, phone call) attempted to personalize the experience to me at all.
  3. All mouth and no ears: Once they had me on the phone, they weren't listening to me at all. I told them exactly who I was, what I wanted. There was no interest in understanding me in any way, shape, or form.
  4. Who cares what you want? They probably had a quota for a getting estimates and that was their sole focus.
  5. One size fits all, whether you like it or not: Did they match to my buyer journey, or what they wanted to sell?
  6. “I’m sorry Dave, I won’t open the pod bay doors”: Most CRM software has an infinite capacity to create different buyer personas. Depending on the software, it can be as simple as adding a hashtag to the notes field (#BuyAndHold) that you can filter by, or as complex as adding them to a new marketing automation funnel.
  7. A mind is a terrible thing to waste: Car dealerships need to maximize the value of that army of people calling all their customers. Their brains can understand things email automation never will. Give them the full toolbox to get value out of every interaction.
  8. No alternative plan to pivot to: If you do the work to understand your buyer personas, you can then create offerings for each one:
  • A service plan for each persona.
  • A concierge service. I would probably pay a premium for service if I knew I was going to get white glove service: detailing, pick up and drop off - things that would make car servicing more convenient for me.
  • Create a loyalty experience for each persona, for example, a regular winterizing service.
  • Create a new phone script that the phone bank could switch to. “Oh sir, you don't want to sell your vehicle, that's great information. We have a plan here for people that want to keep their older cars running at the highest level. Can I connect you with our expert in car longevity?”
  • Create a point person to handle those personas.

And it’s not just the automotive business. I see these same mistakes being made in capital equipment, in B2B services, in virtually every industry I work with.

Companies don't put themselves in the shoes of their customers. They don't shop themselves.

They look at it through their own lens and their own internal myopic view. And they just straight-up aren't listening, I think it reflects their culture, their mission. It goes back to the leadership's beliefs.

It's sad because it is a huge wasted opportunity.

The bottom line is as old as the Golden Rule, treat others as you would wish to be treated.

To learn more, check out The Industrial Executive podcast.


Topics: Industrial Executive