Selling After Surviving the Storm – How to Serve Your Community and Still Sell Cars

Dealerships in disaster areas are asking this question: “How can my team follow-up with customers after a disaster without coming across as callous?”

Here are my suggestions and advice.

Business will continue and cars will be sold. However, if you are in an area that’s been affected by recent disasters, calling about a “new car” may come across as insensitive and self-serving. Most of your customers are probably still in shock and while they’ll need to replace a lot of things, including cars, their immediate concerns are water, getting power back, or finding a safe place to sleep.

Some dealerships that are attempting to make follow-up calls to generate business are reporting that customers are getting angry and frustrated and are even turning to social media to criticize the dealer.

I have no doubt that every sales person and every dealership making these calls had a positive intent and wanted to help. But the timing of these calls and the needs of your community require a different approach.

I invite you to consider the following approach:

  • Make a master list in your area of active food banks, shelters, and organizations offering help with supplies, tree removal or other resources.
  • Create a donation center on your show floor for food, water, cleaning supplies, or pet food.
  • Add the list of resources and the info about your donation center on your dealership’s website. Create a custom, easy to remember link that will redirect to this information page. For example: www.[DealershipName]cares.com.

Then have your team call with this script:

“Hello Mr./Mrs. ______, I know this is a difficult time for many of our neighbors, and so I’m calling to let people know that we’ve created a list of resources including food banks, where to find cleaning supplies, sleeping shelters, counseling centers, and where to get pet care items. 

Have you or someone close to you been impacted by the storm?

We would like to get this list of resources to as many people as possible! 

I’d like to email or text you the link for it in the event that you or someone you love may be able to use it during this difficult time. 

Also, our dealership has become a distribution center for the following items: children’s clothing, food, pet supplies, and bottled water.

Can I share this information with you?”

In times of trouble and loss, the psychology of our customer changes from wants to needs. And those needs are going to focus on survival first, then comfort, and then desires.

Be the solution at all three levels and you’ll be able to serve while you sell!

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