Archive for April, 2012

Today, I break all the rules. (You can do that when your knocking on 50 years old). This will not be an article written in “news format” or anything even close.  This is from the heart, from Todd Vowell, plain and simple…

It was 1985 when I started in this business. I was younger than 99.7% of the GM, Owner, or Dealer Principal of car dealerships nationwide that I called on. 

Now, I am the “old man”. As I start planning my party to celebrate serving car dealerships for 30 years, all I find myself doing is thinking about how much I have learned. Car dealers and GM’s are incredible to listen to because most of them graduated from the famous “School of hard knocks”. They had nothing handed to them and know far to well, “you sell, you eat”. “You don’t sell, you don’t eat”. 

 (2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”)

 Before I went into business for myself about 20 years ago, I always made sure my name was at the top of the sales board every month. As long as I did that, the money was always there.

 So why all the self accolades? My goal is simply to share some of the wisdom I have gained through the years and pass it on. (Just as my old boss Jackie B Cooper and my dad, Dean Vowell did).

Today it is just one tip, but its a big one. When applied, it works in pretty much anything you do. You already know it, so its really a reminder.  Ready? 

 Here it is:

Be unique. Be different. Look across the street at the competition, and don’t do that. 

In our marketing, my tag line says “over 300 million pieces sold”. Of that 300 million pieces, about 280 million were events that I either wrote, co-wrote, and/or created.

Case and point:

1996- The “Inventory Reduction” was getting old. Every dealer was doing them and it was getting old fast.

Solution: Create the “Certification Office Test Market”.

 Results? Over 4,000 car dealers coast to coast enjoyed record weekends for years.

1997- Back then, dealerships enjoyed great used car promotions when they did “used car acquisitions” for a direct mail event but everyone did it. 

 Solution:  I took it one step further and created “The Department of Vehicle Acquisitions”.

  Results? Over 2,500 car dealers coast to coast enjoyed record weekends for years.

1997- Car dealers were being sold an event the two days after Thanksgiving. You remember? Yes the “two busiest shopping days of the year”! Well, all the dealerships did it so it was worn out.

Solution: Create an event BEFORE Thanksgiving called “The Butterball Bonanza” and hand out Turkey Certificates worth $8 bucks. (Took six years to master and fine tune before all my competition copied it, and destroyed it.) 

Results? Thousands of dealerships became addicted to direct mail and sold more cars than they ever thought possible with direct mail.


 That is all great Todd but that was yesterday, stop living in the past, what do you have for us today? What do you have now that we are dealing with the Internet, social media and other digital strategies popping up everyday, hmm? Anything smart guy?

 YES We do: The Decoy 2.0 baby! (Everyone is doing “Black Book & Kelley Blue Book Events so don’t do it). Do the Decoy…

 Results? Record weekends, what else?