GREG: Welcome back to Part Five in Uncle Frank’s 21 Secrets of Creating a Money-Making Customer Experience. Today we’re speaking with Tracy Myers, founder of the Unfair Advantage Automotive Mastermind Group and the owner of Frank Myers Auto Maxx in Winston-Salem.
Over the first four sections, Tracy has covered a lot of different secrets that have really impacted his business and shared with you ways you can bring his same secrets and principles into your own business.
Here in the fifth module, we’re going to be revealing secrets sixteen to twenty-one and really show you how they can impact your business. Tracy, in this final section we’re looking at a few more of these secrets, and number sixteen says to make everything easy.
As a business owner I would love to make things easy so Tracy, how can business owners make things easy for the customers in their business or in their sales process?
TRACY: Well, look at how easy Apple made it to use a Mac. It took my six-year-old daughter three months to figure out a PC, three months! But it took her a day to figure out a Mac.
That’s a business model that I wanted to follow, so I created an “easy list” for businesses to follow. These things have helped my life easier, my team members and customers happier, plus they’ve helped make my business more profitable.
Number one: get organized.
Number two: help your team members distress. As a matter of fact, once a month, we hire a mobile masseuse to come to the dealership and give our team members massages. Pretty nice, right?
GREG: That would be, yeah.
TRACY: Most of my Team Members think so.
Number three: update your business as technology improves. It amazes me the dealerships that I go into across the country as I’m doing my consulting work and they’ve got outdated computer equipment. They’ve got computers that are four, five, and six years old, and the way computers and technology is changing, a five-year-old computer is like a hundred years old in the years of anything else. It’s way past its prime.
Number four: have all employees know what is expected of them, and this is a huge one. Also, let them know how decisions regarding their work will be made.
Number five: have management question all employees about your process as to whether there’s a better way to do something.
Number six: focus on giving more to the customer. Solicit ideas for what else they may want, but always test these ideas on a small scale before plunging in; in an earlier module we talked about testing.
Number seven: focus on your competition and learn why they are better or worse in every aspect.
Number eight: focus on creativity by looking for creative people in your business. Hand them problems and review their solutions. Too many businesses hand problems to analytical people, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I would like them to encourage them to give problems to creative people. They’re possibly the most underutilized people in business today.
Number nine: focus on directing rather than managing, especially micromanaging. Cut that out altogether.
GREG: That was great, I love those nine things you just shared. Much like the nine things you just shared and everything you’ve been sharing over the course of this product it builds into secret number seventeen which is to go the extra mile.
I can tell that you go the extra mile in everything that you do in just speaking with you for the last couple sections. What are some ways that make you look like that hero to your customers by going the extra mile and what does that do to the mind and the psychology of the customer, especially when they’re making the purchase and after they make the purchase?
TRACY: I’m going to keep this really simple by sharing a quote from the excellent book The Go-Giver by my friend Bob Burg and John David Mann: “The secret to success, to gaining it, to having it, is to give, give, give. The secret to getting is giving. And the secret to giving is making yourself open to receiving.”
Remember, the more you have, the more you have available to give. Don’t shut off the flow. To answer your question, there are lots of ways to go the extra mile, but the way that makes the most impact is to give, give, give back to your customers.
It doesn’t have to be monetary; it can be kindness, it can be calling your customer on their birthday, remembering their name, remembering the name of their spouse and asking how their kids are doing. All these things make a massive impact on your customers, their families, and their lives, and especially your relationship with your customer, which is what you’re trying to grow.
GREG: That’s great and you know, I’m sure you have examples for days of the ways that you’ve gone the extra mile in your business, or how team members in your business have gone the extra mile.
I was hoping you could share just maybe one or two of these examples where you’ve gone that extra mile to please a customer and really everything changed, put a smile on their face and you really looked like the hero at the end of the day?
TRACY: There are literally hundreds of specific instances that I can recall since I’ve been here so long, but from my experience the one thing that most customers want you to do that most businesspeople don’t do is to listen to them.
I don’t mean talk back to them or even just let them talk to you; I mean intently listen. I remember many years ago, I sold a car to an older lady. Two years later she came back to me, she asked for me, I greeted her, and she wanted to know if she could talk to me.
Of course I said yes; I thought she wanted another car. We went to my office. She talked and talked and talked for over an hour about everything under the sun except a car.
She was all over the place, and me being a lot younger and a lot less patient, I was asking myself, what in the world does this have to do with selling this lady a car? So I interrupted her and I was very rude to do so but I said, “What kind of car are you looking for today?”
Well, she looked at me, she stared at me for a moment, dropped her head, and she started crying uncontrollably. When she pulled herself together she apologized and she explained that she didn’t want a car; her husband had passed away three weeks earlier and she just needed someone to talk to.
Well, that statement, of course- that lady changed my life forever. Plus, she’s bought more than a dozen cars from me over the years. It was definitely a win-win situation because she got a car, she got someone to listen to, but I got a life lesson that I could never have paid for.
GREG: Wow, that’s a really moving story and I think that’s a really, really great example of how you can just take a little extra time and go that extra mile with a customer and at the end of the day you learned a lot, but it turned into a lifelong customer for you.
That actually rolls right into secret number eighteen, which is, you say,to get people talking. In another sense of it, how do you get your customers talking, raving and saying all this great stuff about you and now, through social media, going out and tweeting and Facebooking and leaving reviews about your business?
TRACY: You know, a few years back, Duct Tape Marketing Blog posted an article titled “Five Ways to Get Your Customers Talking”. We were doing a lot of those things already but I liked all five of those ways so much that I implemented them all that day.
Number one: ask them, not only in person, but also online. Find your most rabid customers, the ones that love you, and ask them first, and then branch off from there.
Number two: teach them. Sometimes great word of mouth just happens, but sometimes you’ve got to help it along.
Teach them how to leave great review on review sites such as Yelp or Citysearch. For us as a car dealer, we’ve got DealerRater or Car Dealer Search; just so many things to do online and so many places to leave a review, your customer doesn’t always know how or know where you need that review. So teach them how.
Number three: include them. One of the most successful things I’ve done here at my dealership, and I’m going to do it for my other businesses, is I created a round table discussion group made of select customers, and I asked them to advise me on potential marketing and business initiative.
These round table members have become ambassadors for our brand.
Number four: star them. We make our customers the star of the party. We film the red carpet celebration after they buy a car, then we post it on the web, then we send them a link to share with their family and friends, and you know what?
They actually send it to their family and friends, and guess who sees that? Their family and friends. It’s the most profitable way to use a video camera in the world today.
Of course, with the smaller video cameras and iPhones, the way they are now and as inexpensive as they are now, there’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t have a video camera on them at all times and film every customer interaction that’s positive.
And Number five: surprise them. Nothing gets people talking more than surprising them. You know, I remember being at a restaurant with my son and seeing one of my customers and her family sitting across from me. Before I left, I asked my waiter to bring me her check, and I paid for their dinner. Guess who she told? Everybody.
GREG: Five really, really super-powerful ways to get your audience talking, get your fans talking and raving. Those are just some really, really great tips. I can just get the sense, Tracy, just talking to you, that you just live customer experience secret number nineteen, and that’s to treat customers as friends.
How can businesses and your team members and associates make customers feel like they’re a part of something bigger, a part of your family, yet still have that working business relationship?
TRACY: Greg, the only way to make customers like they’re a part of our family is to build a proper relationship with them. Proper relationship building creates a connection with our customers and converts strangers into friends, and that’s what we’re really trying to do in business.
People want to do business with people they like. They stick with what makes them feel safe, secure, and comfortable. Companies that understand the principles of belonging, friendship, and dependability treat their customers accordingly. The way we treat our customers has a direct impact on our business relationships.
GREG: That’s great, I love that advice a lot. Rolling into secret number twenty, it says to always make the customer right. I know as I said that I heard some business owners just cringe and you know, that’s not always a popular thing to do, but how do you overcome your own pride or your own ego and really lay it on the line and make the right decision for your customer?
TRACY: Once again, Disney really does this right. Their cast members are taught that every customer is special, and that each interaction between a customer and staff is a link to the chain of the customer’s experience.
Disney understands if they do something wrong, they’re erasing the customer’s memories of good treatment up to that moment, but if they do something right, they can undo any wrong that may have happened before.
GREG: That’s great, and I can only imagine that in the car business you have your share of stories. I’d love if you could share a story when you really had to dig deep and make a tough decision in your business and put the customer in the position to be right and ultimately help them get what they wanted or what they needed?
TRACY: Oh, the stories I could tell. I’ll share one; I received an email from someone who had called my dealership and spoken to one of my noncommissioned sales pros. She said, quote, “He was the rudest human being that had ever walked the face of the earth”.
That’s pretty strong. Normally I would have called her immediately to apologize, but her words were so harsh about this sales pro and this person was someone who always, and I mean always, receives praise from his customers, I was really caught off guard.
So since I record all the phone calls, I went back and listened to the call. Realistically, I was shocked at how nice and polite my team member was to this lady while she was literally shouting at him.
He never raised his voice and even apologized for himself, and I’m not even sure why he apologized. He had done nothing wrong. Of course, my first instinct was to call this lady and give her a piece of my mind; I am only human.
Instead I called, apologized, and listened. For more than thirty minutes, I listened, and then she apologized to me and thanked me for listening to her.
She admitted that she was frustrated with car salesmen and had took it out on my team member. That lady ended up buying a car from us and ended up being one of our biggest fans in the community.
GREG: I love that story and I think a lot of people can really just learn from that one experience and really transcend it into their business, no matter what vertical they’re in or what industry they’re in.
There’s a lot to be learned there and that really brings a lot of secrets that you’ve been talking about together, from listening to making the customer right and the whole experience. This really brings us to the culmination, which is secret number twenty-one.
The final secret here is to make a difference. After all of these twenty one secrets, and everything that needs to be done to make an exceptional business that puts their customers first, how can businesses make the world or their community or their place in the world a better place?
TRACY: A key principle at Starbucks is the idea that you should get the chance to leave your mark. The idea is that we’re not just in business to sell things; we should also make a difference, not just in our communities but in the world.
For some people, that may be about being socially responsible. For others, it may be about being involved in our communities. Quite simply, small businesses can and should come together in communities and do big things.
GREG: I love that, I love that a lot, and Tracy. Now we’ve gone through all twenty-one secrets and next time let’s kind of break it down for everyone. Thanks again for joining us and we will see you again soon to wrap this series up.
– To Be Continued. Stay Tuned For Part 6 Coming Soon.
– To Read Part 1 Of This Series, Click HERE.
– To Read Part 2 Of This Series, Click HERE.
– To Read Part 3 Of This Series, Click HERE.
– To Rad Part 4 Of This Series, Click HERE.
– To learn more about Tracy Myers, visit his website HERE.