This blog was written by Callum Watkins, Head of Marketing at 1st Choice Insurance, an independent motor trade insurance brokerage based in Shropshire.

It’s the age-old question, ‘how do I keep my customers loyal?’ Imagine if you could retain 100% of your customers. Imagine if they returned 2, 3, 4 times each year. According to the Harvard Business Review, depending on your industry, it can cost businesses 5 to 25 times more to gain a new customer. So, clearly, customer loyalty is a great place to start!

At 1st Choice Insurance, we are motor trade insurance experts who talk to motor traders of all shapes and sizes, and in all locations. This has given us some great insight into the challenges motor trade businesses face, and how they react to them. Customer loyal is a key question, so we thought we would help by sharing some of our experience.

This blog will outline 6 ways we believe motor traders can use psychology in their marketing to build customer loyalty.

Ooze passion and expertise

Why did you get into motor trading? You must have been passionate. Maybe you were born to fix cars? If you were, communicate this passion. People ultimately buy off people, not companies. So, if your business lacks personality, become the happy face of your business. Add personality! Maybe you work with other local businesses, associations or charities. If you’re doing something worthwhile or different, assume your customers would be interested. Communicate your passion!

Generate customer reviews

When customers are deciding, one of the most powerful psychological influencers are recommendations, also known as word of mouth marketing. Do you collect reviews from your customers? If not, you defiantly should. You don’t have to pay for any software, just ask people to leave you a review on Google. Google your name and you will find your business listing where people can leave a review. Send them this link! Giving away a freebie is a great tactic to get started. Maybe you could offer a car cleaning set in a prize draw or a free valet. Having a rock solid 4/5 out of 5-star rating on Google from 50 ‘REAL’ customers will help you stand out from local rivals.

Recognise and remember people

We know this is massively important in a social setting, so why treat your customers differently? If someone feels valued, they will want to give you their money. Has Dave from the around the corner trusted you with his car twice a year for ten years? Let him know! Has Laura come to your garage to change a tyre, replace a clutch and get an MOT? Tell her! Just a simple ‘thanks for your business’ will work wonders. It would also help you generate some great customer reviews!

Collect and use your data

Are you collecting data such as their postcode, mobile number or email? If not, then you really should. Drop people an email or a text to say happy birthday, offer advice, a free winter check or just a simple text ‘Be careful the road is icy, always check your tyres etc etc….’. This WILL make you stand out, and different is rememberable. Rememberable is hard for your rivals to compete with.

Be local, and be social

In short, get involved. Don’t be invisible. Are you or your team trying to lose weight, going to a local football match, just tried the new restaurant in town? Tell people! People like to read peoples opinion, especially if you can be funny! Imagine if you were the funniest garage in town? Get used to showing your personality, your ethos, not just your services and you will have more in common with your local prospects.

Think ‘first impressions count’

When you meet someone, within 7 seconds you will already have formed an opinion about them, without you being physically aware. Do you think you make a good first impression? Do you smile, make good eye contact and go above and beyond? Do you offer advice, discounts, thank your customers and compliment them on how nice their new car is? If you don’t, you should. A great first impression will make you stand out. You must be likeable and trustworthy.

Put loyalty into action!

There are just a few simple ideas to give you some food for thought! There are many more things you can do, but these are a great place to start. I personally think collecting reviews is vital! You don’t have to spend money on flash campaigns to grow, you just need to be recognisable, and rememberable.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and stop chasing pure profit. If you shift your focus from profit to service, you will retain more of your existing clients. It will spread like fire and you will not only enjoy your running your business more, you will also see your bottom line grow. Just have fun and enjoy what you do, and your customers will notice and compliment you!