Salesmen, you closed the car sale, did the paperwork, and earned your commission today. Done deal, right? You are SO wrong. Remember this sales axiom: “Closing today’s sale is but the beginning of your NEXT sale!”

Savvy salespeople know selling cars is about relationships. And relationships are more than your customer saying, “I’ll buy the car.” You closed this sale. Now it’s time to prime the pump for the NEXT sale.

• More than half of car buyers receive NO followup 

Industry studies show over 50% of all new car buyers never receive a single call, card, or letter from their car salesman after the sale. Of those who do, 87% get just ONE call. When someone’s spending $15,000...$25,000…$45,000 or more, don’t they deserve better service? And don’t you want the commission when they buy again?

• Happy customers return…and refer friends, relatives, co-workers 

Your most recent customer will likely call YOU next time they car-shop…IF you maintain and build your relationship. Meanwhile, they have friends, relatives, and co-workers who are car shopping. A referral from a past customer is the sweetest of all sales opportunities.

• Make a thorough followup plan 

Don’t just contact past customers when the spirit moves you. Make a plan and stick to it.

Day of the Sale: Meet the Service Advisor — Before you hand over the keys, introduce your new customer to your Service Advisor so your customer will feel comfortable calling for service when it’s needed.

Day 1: Thank You Card — Send a Thank You card the day after the car sale. Enclose your business card.

Day 7: First call — Call one week after the sale. Congratulate them and check that everything’s OK with their new vehicle. And suggest they refer friends who are car-shopping.

Day 30: Second Call — Call again four weeks after the sale. Invite them to come in to learn how to use accessories they can’t figure out. Offer them a cash bonus for each referral that turns into a sale. (Dealerships often cover the $50 - $100 bonus.)

1-Year: Third Call — Call to see how everything’s going with their car and, if they didn’t purchase an extended warranty at the time of sale, offer it now. The timing’s good: the “new car smell” is gone, they’ve probably been in for service a couple times, and are perhaps thinking about future service needs.

• Do your homework 

Can you guess the most common after-the-sale customer question? “How do I make calls with this danged Bluetooth?” Study up on your cars’ entertainment and electronic systems because you WILL be asked after the sale.

So, do your homework, invite communication, make a followup plan and stick to it…and get ready for sales well AFTER the initial sale!