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

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