While some markets do very well with Uber and Lyft – like Vegas, where a fellow driver recently moved – other markets are just suffering with over saturation of drivers. If you know what I’m referring to, you probably just cringe every time you read a post on a driver group “I’m new and I’m so excited!”
So what do you do when your market is over saturated and the new drivers just keep signing up? Well since doing the local Uber ambassadors bodily harm would be frowned upon to say the least, it’s time to ramp up your personal game. It’s all about building the relationships with your passengers. If you’re not a people person and you don’t like to chat with passengers (I’m just here to give them a ride) you can stop reading here – you won’t be driving much longer.
Those of you who are left – welcome! You’re in it for the long haul and you’re willing to work for every dollar. And no, it’s not about having water or candy or chargers. Trust me, that’s not going to be the thing that keeps you making money in this game. It’s all about you. How is your personal game? How are you at making your passenger laugh, having a good time on the ride and passing the time quickly no matter how long you’re stuck in traffic. Can you make your passenger enjoy the ride so much that they give you a tip AND want your phone number?
October will mark my 1 year with Uber. And I’ve learned a lot. I started with the ice cold water, candy, and “no you don’t need to tip.” Now I know, it’s not all of that and long before Uber came clean about tipping I was getting tips. What I learned most of all is to be myself and TALK to the passengers. Get to know them as if you would a friend. In fact a couple of my passengers are now my friends on Facebook. Build that relationship. Because if you’re in a market that is short on riders you are probably seeing the same passengers over and over – it’s easy to start building the relationship. (Maybe this is a reason female drivers do well – better at the relationships)
Here are the steps to turn a stranger into a friend:
1) Be approachable – smile, have good personal hygiene and a clean, fresh smelling car too. These are all things that set people at ease and make them comfortable. The passenger is a guest in your car – treat them that way.
2) Give each passenger a genuine, welcoming hello. I start by learning their name, which isn’t always the name on the app as you are probably aware.
3) Assume your passenger is shy and start a conversation. An easy conversation is “how was your day?” or “Did you have fun last night?” And from there let the conversation go where it will. Sometimes the passenger wants to talk about you – how long have you been driving etc. While it’s an easy out, turn the conversation back to them – let them talk about themselves. See if you can find common ground: “You went to that concert? So did I!”
4) Be fully present and listen. It’s normally a short trip, how hard can it be to let them talk and you LISTEN, really hear them, for 10 to 15 minutes? Respond as if you are interested in what they are saying. Agree when it’s appropriate.
I’ve picked up people coming and going from funerals under the worst circumstance, but letting them talk makes them feel better and they enjoy the ride and your company. (Tissues are nice for this case) I’ve picked up a woman on the “walk of shame” in tears who said “I just wanted someone to cuddle with.” Again, just listening is really the big deal.
5) And then there are passengers who give you valuable advice like “don’t sniff the dollar bill tips from strippers.” Now that’s important… and we laughed all the way to the destination – I’m sure that question will never come up on Jeopardy but we had fun.
6) See if you can discover what your passenger is really passionate about – those are the best conversations because you’ll see them light up with excitement to tell you all about it. And you’ll get excited too!
7) Practice! If you’re not comfortable trying to connect with others it will take time but if you will just take the time to go a few steps with each passenger they will most likely make it easier for you to connect.
If you’re human you know what I’m talking about in these steps – it’s a human connection. We all crave it. We all want to connect with others.
Once you’ve made the connection you’ll get 5 stars without asking, tips without posting signs and most important, you’ll get someone who wants YOU to pick them up next time. Now I don’t give out my phone number but I do use UZURV and tell passengers they can reserve me next time – and they DO! And I make even more. But more important – I’m building my own unique business with my own clients who ask me to drive them over and over. And when the market is saturated, that’s what you have to do.