Archive for October, 2013

Honda has a special Conquest lease: $159 per month/36 months on 2013 Honda Civic Sedan 5-Speed Automatic LX.

To be eligible, you must be a current owner of any 2003 or newer Toyota, Scion, Nissan, Hyundai, Ford, Chevrolet, Subaru, Kia, Jeep, Volkswagen or Saturn.

The contest is to see who can get this great news to ALL Area QUALIFIED Conquest owners!  fight tween 2

We will use direct mail marketing. We ran a roof top 10 mile radius of the Honda dealership and specifically pulled all 2003 – 2010 Toyota, Scion, Nissan, Hyundai, Ford, Chevrolet, Subaru, Kia, Jeep, Volkswagen and Saturn owners. Total is: 27,144. We will send each person this attractive lease incentive and get this exciting offer directly in their hand.

You use Internet Marketing. It can be Facebook, Twitter, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Emails, Banner Ads, whatever you want. Just don’t break any laws. GOOD LUCK!



first ad 1000 wordsSo a picture is worth a thousand words?  Or better yet “One Look Is Worth A Thousand Words”.  That phrase first appeared in a 1913 newspaper ad from an Auto supply company in Ohio. The notion is basically that a complex idea or message can be conveyed with just a simple image. Is it true? Absolutely.

Buick Inside

If there was an ad that said, “the interior of the new Buick is beautiful, smooth and luxurious”. People would say, “really, great, yawn”… How do we know? We asked people. Then we showed them a picture. The response was, “That’s a Buick? Really? That’s sweet!”  Which one has a bigger impact on you, the 12 words or this picture?

So when is the last time you had a discussion regarding images and pictures with that marketing company that is doing your direct mail? Where do they get their images from? What is the quality or resolution? Do they buy them (they are NOT cheap) or do they just go to “Google images” and search key words for “New Ford” or “Cash Give-a-way” and grab them for free?

There is a better way. There are companies that actually specialize in automotive images. They take them very serious because it is their livelihood. They go to great trouble to capture that one image that really says this vehicle has class (or durability, safety, style, torque, Horsepower, etc.)

broke down on the phone

How does all this improve my mailer? People are hanging on to their vehicles today longer than ever before in history (over 11 years now is nation average). So if we are doing a direct mail promotion to people who own vehicles eight years and older, would a vehicle broken down on the side of road in 100 degree heat or a snow storm mean something to the reader? (Yes, that was rhetorical…)

Pictures are powerful all right. In fact, you can take it even further by ofbroke downfering a “highway emergency kit” to everyone that comes in for the event. There are so many options. If you are mailing to families, you can show the family vehicle broken down. If you are mailing to women, same thing. There are many other examples. This is just one.

Traditional mail is powerful and pictures are the steroids that make Direct Mail Marketing even more powerful than a locomotive! 

Any dealership that has ran a direct mail promotion the past 30 years has been frustrated at one time or another over people just coming in for a “free gift”.  The salespeople are the ones that are actually frustrated because they are the ones spending their valuable weekend time greeting ups who don’t want to buy a car, rather they just want the free gift, then go.  Or so they think. It depends who you ask. We will save that argument for another day.

Today, we want to give you three ways to fight back and eliminate this challenge before it even starts. Here you go!

1) Have an algorithm that EVERYONE understands and follows.  This formula MUST BE UNAMBIGUOUS.  Not only does it keep all of your team members on the same page, it rollorcoastalso gets the customer “married” or committed to the event and that is so critical for real success. Like a rollercoaster, once you’re on the ride and the safety bars come down, it’s on! No turning back now!

So here is an algorithm example:

  • Customer parks in this area only, one way in, one way out.
  • Customer greeted and escorted into showroom.
  • They are checked in, and salesperson continues to takes interest in their trade!
  • “Wait, it’s a 1974 AMC Matador Coupe with only 237,132 miles on it”?   74 Matador Coupe
  • I have a buyer for that car! Can we take a look at it?
  • Land on new car, get five liner, take a test drive.
  •  While Matador is being appraised, get commitment to buy when figures are agreeable.
  •  This is just an example, meet with your team and create your own!

2) Add a test drive to the letter. One of the most common comments customers make on Monday morning is “I can’t believe I bought a new car over the weekend because I really just came down for the free gift”.

When all the senses are stimulated, it can be overpowering. It’s one thing to “see” a vehicle (sorry Internet). But to sit in a new (or newer) vehicle and “feel it” is a different story all together. Then, to smell the new porche insidecar when you’re sitting in the newly designed cabin? Forget it…  The “NEW CAR SMELL” is legendary. It certainly delights the senses. Let’s not forget that “sound” when you slide into a nice leather captain chair. There is nothing like it!  After that test drive when your salesperson shows the customer just how affordable that new vehicle is, it is extremely difficult for the customer to get back into their old car.

3) Make the gift something that buys you the most expensive commodity known to mankind; Time… Yes time is extremely valuable when your job is to sell someone the most expensive item most people will ever buy in their lifetime (not including a house).  For  timeexample, make the free gift a Free Lube, Oil, and Filter. This gets you at least 30 minutes with the customer to take a test drive, talk about benefits, features, safety, value of their trade and how it will never be worth more than it is today.

failuretolaunchWhen utilizing direct mail marketing for your dealership, are you still hitting “one per household”?  If you are not sure, most companies, regrettably, have an automatic default set up to only hit “one per household”. This is old school mentality and was used back when we didn’t have the detailed data we have available today. Unfortunately, some companies such as ad agencies dabbling in marketing for their car dealer clients, don’t even know about this setting.

Consider the data lists available such as “Boomers and Boomerangs” and “Nuevo Horizons”.

Boomers and Boomerangs: Baby boomer adults and their teenage/young adult children sharing suburban homes. These postwar baby boomers have all grown up, and so have their children who have returned to the nest. Boomers and Boomerangs consist of these two generations sharing single family homes. About 85 percent of the household heads are between 51 and 65 years old. Nearly 40 percent of households contain young adults (the highest percentage in the nation).failure to launch2

(One might think that if a young adult is living back at home, they certainly wouldn’t be in a position to buy a car. Anyone that says that, hasn’t had a kid leave then come back home! That old bedroom that was going to be a “Naked Room” or “Man Cave” is now going to stay a bedroom until the young adult goes and gets a job!  What do you need to get a job? A CAR!  Hey, the kid will get a car, the parents will be sure of it!)

hispanic householdsNuevo Horizons:  The nation’s highest concentration of Hispanic households. Nuevo Horizons are multi-generational, consisting of young adults and aged parents. With multiple workers within the household, income is $38,000 (far above the U.S. poverty line and a striking improvement over the standard of living in their former country.

So, if you are currently doing direct mail marketing at your dealership and you are facing a depleted list of people to hit and results are just not where they need to be, take a closer look at the “fine print” and broaden that data list criteria out to include ALL CAR BUYERS in your market.

Try it!  Otherwise, you will never know if you are truly hitting all the opportunities in your market and enjoying the absolute highest ROI. Direct mail marketing, even with a simple list, can do so much more than anything else out there.

honey badgerAre you frustrated? Are you at the bottom of the sales board every month? Do you want to be number one? Do you want to be the best in the business? Then you need to become a Honey Badger and you need to start right now! Why?

The Honey Badger is FEARLESS. The Honey Badger is the ultimate bad ass in the big wonderful “Wild Kingdom”!

Warning: If you click on picture and watch the video, there is some foul language, hope it doesn’t offend (sissy)…

What would you do if you had no fear? How much more would you sell if you had no fear? How much more would you accomplish if you had no fear? Let this message be the one that turns your life around.

Yes, social media is important. But in sales and marketing, it is a relationship business. You can be all over the Internet with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the rest of them. But you still must create relationships. You still need to make the phone calls, knock on the doors, and shake hands. Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain (Mark Twain).

  • Make that phone call
  • Knock on that door
  • Ask her out
  • Ask him out
  • Go introduce yourself (you may never run into him/her again)
  • Say your sorry
  • Go Skydiving
  • Make that speech to a crowd
  • Shoot that video
  • Quit that job and go for it
  • Stop fulfilling someone else dream
  • Buy that home
  • Lease that car

Whatever it is, be the Honey Badger – No Fear – You can do this!

Always remember: Keep the faith, lose the fear. (Todd Vowell)

The Buying Environment is critical to the success of your event.

How you set up the dealership, design the showroom, parking, food, drinks, etc., is what makes the difference between success and failure.

It is not uncommon for a dealer to tell us they stopped doing direct mail because they just didn’t sell any cars. The people just want to get their free gift and leave.  When a dealership gets traffic, but sells no cars, that is just extremely unfortunate, but fixable!

Car buyers are back and your competition is not sitting still!

Selling dealerships a direct mail event with no preparation, is like selling someone an unassembled bicycle, with no directions!

Creating a buying environment is an art. Also, it takes a well thought out plan that must be followed.

The dealership should accept nothing less than 100% commitment from all team members including the receptionist, salespeople, and Managers!

We can’t put the entire Game Plan in one article because there is too much info and no game plan is the same. Every dealership is different and the game plan changes for different types of events as well. But here are a few items to get you started down that road to creating the “Buying Environment”!

Checklist. Every dealership should have a checklist of items they want to accomplish before, during, and after the event. There are many items that are obvious and many that are not. Gather all your key personnel the minute you have decided to do a direct mail event and create your checklist. Some direct mail marketing companies will help you with one.

Enthusiasm. Everyone in your organization feeds off you. Go out and make sure that you openly express your enthusiasm, your confidence, and your commitment to this event. Everyone that is involved in the dealership from Service, Parts, Receptionist, Body shop, and of course the entire sales department.  Bring all department heads in and talk about how each one can make sure that every customer they come in contact with knows about your BIG EVENT coming up!

Transform. The dealership should be lit up like the sky on the 4th of July! Banners, Event tags, Pennant Strings, Big Balloons, Hang Tags, Event Badges, Showroom Posters, Lot Signs, etc. Don’t hold back. Go all out!  We are creating a “BUYING ENVIRONMENT”!

Social Media.
This is where Social Media can really make a difference. Social Media is not a tool to sell but it is great for getting the word out.  So have at it! Get your team involved and start getting the message out there about the BIG EVENT! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube (Make a quick video), so many more, use them all!

Credit Apps. You do not want salespeople spending valuable time filling out credit apps all day. A five liner is fine but when it comes down to completing the entire application, bring in some temporary help either from the office or a managers spouse or other options.

Hire a DJ. Every town has a local inspiring DJ. Bring them in and have some music. Music helps create that “BUYING ENVIRONMENT”! It says “something BIG is going on over there. Something out of the ordinary is happening. It looks like fun. Instruct the DJ to congratulate everyone that buys a car today over the loud speaker.

Celebrate the Buy. When someone buys a car, celebrate! This is critical for truly creating that “BUYING ENVIRONMENT”!  After announcing the purchase over the sound system, let them “hit the Gong” you just bought ($40 bucks)! It’s all about having fun. It’s all about the environment; remember that, it’s important.

Traffic Control. Traffic will be a factor. Most seasoned professionals agree, “One way in, one way out”. If your dealership has an exit in back or out through a side entrance, block it, lock it. No matter what, one way in, one way out! Also, always place the deepest discounted cars right where most people will park. When people get out of their car, they need to see your best deals FIRST!

Security. Security can be official, where you go hire a company that has professional uniforms, orange cones, and Emergency Vehicle Lighting. Or, Security is your Parts Manager and a few mechanics with nice professional blue shirts on that say “Security” on the back. (Again, every event is different, markets are different, have a meeting, talk about it, plan). Since dealerships give so much to their communities, some towns will even send over a patrol car to help. You would be surprised what you can get if you just ask!

Telemarketing Party. The night before the event from around 5 to 9, have a telemarketing party. This is much easier to do with today’s fancy online CRM’s. You want to call your customers and all hot leads and prospects. Create a script (need help? call Buy Mail Direct) Order pizza. Make it a party. Have some contest. Have fun. Make phone calls! Invite everyone down for your BIG EVENT!

Clean Cars. Yes you have machines, but invite the local high school cheerleaders down to wash cars during the event. (Pay them $5 bucks a car or going rate) Get them involved. Ask them to do stuff like create a cheer for everyone that buys a vehicle during the BIG EVENT. Remember, we are creating an experience. We are creating that BUYING ENVIRONMENT! We want this experience to be different, to stand out, more importantly; it needs to be fun again. Buying a car can and should be fun!

Prepare Receptionist. The receptionist is so important. They need to be involved.  Begin by making sure they not only know about your direct mail piece but have a copy up at the receptionist station so any backups also can read and know what’s going on.  There is nothing worse than Mr and Mrs Jones calling the dealership for more information and the receptionist doesn’t know what your doing so she just takes the call, figures it is just another sales call and parks the call on hold and pages, “Sales call line 4, sales call line 4”! The important thing to remember is you must make sure your receptionist is involved and knows what to do. If she gets a phone call regarding the mail piece, she is to deliver the call to “Mark Manager” or whoever is qualified to take these calls. (You can get this mailer paid for before the event even starts)

Go Home! Every dealership has that one pessimist. That one “Eeyore”.  Sometimes it is the salesman with 50 years’ experience and sometimes it is even a manager. You can’t Eeyoreafford to be shorthanded but even worse; you can’t afford to have a pessimist on location. Green peas especially are prone to being easily influenced.  One way to stop negativity before it starts is to bring the known subject(s) in and ask them to help you create a positive culture this week for the big event.  No matter how you deal with it, if it ends up not working, it is better to send someone home during the event than let them disease the positive culture being created. Negativity is contagious but so is Positivity!

Meet and Greet.  Salespeople will be busier than anyone. They can’t be tour guides and spend three hours walking around with Mr. and Mrs. Jones trying to land on a car. They will be greeting and qualifying quickly and diplomatically. Once they greet customers, they can bring them in to the showroom to get “checked in” and then begin the process. This is a very powerful step when creating that “Buying Environment”. With all of today’s technology, a basic Tablet can replace the old “check in form”.  Once they get checked in, they have metaphorically stepped away from the dealership and now reside in the “BUYING ENVIRONMENT”.

It is a lot of work. A dedicated team can do this! Delegate out your checklist and stay with it. It can be fun and should be. Car buyers are back. Get your share and wee bit more! Image