This month’s Word on the Street segment features Laura Morse, the eCommerce Manager at Jim Norton Toyota in Tulsa, OK. As Laura will tell you, her multifaceted career prepared her to tackle automotive sales as an industry veteran. State Farm Auto insurance just may have stolen their slogan “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two” from Laura.
While most dealerships are scratching their head on how to mitigate sales losses in the era of COVID-19, Jim Norton Toyota is meeting and possibly exceeding their sales targets. As it turns out, their processes and commitment to outstanding customer service prepared them for just this sort of event.
Below are some of the key moments of our conversation together on how to equip yourself to make the most out of the situation.
On Creating an Empathetic Message
At Jim Norton Toyota, my General Manager saw very quickly we couldn’t have the same sales message as we were using a few weeks before. We took a look at ourselves from the customer’s point of view to see if we liked our own message under these new and very serious conditions.
The message we wanted to create was not “Big sale going on today!” but “How can we help you today?” Thankfully we launched our Express purchase program last year as well as Service Concierge. So, for us it was not new to offer and promote safety-conscious home visits for sales test drives or picking up a customer’s vehicle to be serviced and returned.
It may sound funny, but back when I was on the sales floor, I always treated my customers the way I’d want someone to treat my mom, dad or brother. To me this feels the same – what can our dealership do to help our loyal customers during this unusual time?
On Social Media and Being Creative
We know people are spending more time on the internet than ever before due to COVID-19. Our social sites are seeing a lot more engagement. But if everything we post is a blatant sales message, folks are going to stop reading pretty fast. So, we enjoy offering a mix of interesting content peppered with sales info.
We recognize our dealership staff and congratulate high achievers, give fun employee birthday and anniversary shout-outs every day. We worked with our service department to create ‘Tech Tip Tuesdays’, which offers helpful service advice. Then we do Trade-Talk-Friday, answering common questions people have about trading-in their vehicle.
On Sanitation and Informing Customers
Our company is taking extra precautions to ensure our customers’ safety while visiting the dealership. Not only has our dealership followed every CDC guideline, but we have added plexiglass dividers throughout our customer-facing departments. We want customers to feel safe while they’re here.
After someone has been in lock-down for a month, they tend to look for any reason to go out! Having reliable transportation is so important and why the Oklahoma Governor deemed automotive an essential business.
On Industry Veterans Adapting to New Technology
Everyone on our team has been very resilient and adaptable. Thanks to the guidance and vigilance of our General Manager, we were a process driven dealership beforehand. So a lot of this came second nature.
With a sales team of over 50 sales associates, we quickly started a telecommuter process and changed our team schedules. Tracking everyone’s activity and reporting was essential before but was now is under the microscope. I believe it is a large contributor to why we’re doing well.
That wraps up this month’s segment of Word on the Street! If you’d like to be featured as a person of interest, please contact WOTS@fzautomotive.com.