Archive for September, 2014

competition

Independent car repair shops want those dealership customers and they mean business. Check out some of those “local car repair shop” websites! The websites are sophisticated, informative, and they are dynamic. (We don’t pick sides; we just gravitate to the most aggressive shop, dealership or independent)

I am extremely impressed with how aggressive Independent shops have become with digital, creative, and direct mail marketing. They are even using today’s advanced complex variable data technology to really deliver a “one to one” personal RELEVANT message. They have done their homework and if dealerships want to compete with them, retain customers, and grab new business, they need to first understand that it’s more competitive than ever before.

With 100% respect, visit most new car dealer websites and click on “Service Department, it is just ugly. (Some people clearly are not on commission and that’s a mistake) Just Google and visit 10 car dealerships and click on “Service.”

With 258 million registered cars on the road, the average vehicle age is at a record high 11.6 years old and is not slowing down. That means millions of vehicle with 100,000 miles plus. (Let’s not forget all the orphans! Oldsmobile, Saturn, Pontiac, Etc.)

Independents Hammer that Car Dealership Service Departments are:

• More Expensive. (They are smaller, hence, less expensive)
• Not the only place for maintenance during the Warranty period.
• Not the only ones privy to technical and repair information.
• Not as concerned with customer service and satisfaction.
• Have the same Computer Systems and Records.
• Not the only ones getting Manufacture Tech Service Bulletins.
• Don’t have that “Personal Touch.”
• Not the only ones with Certified Techs like ASE, and so on.
• Big… (you never who will work on your car that day)

Car dealerships have many advantages but few utilize them. Yes, recalls, warranty work and “just-out-of-warranty” work helps car dealers with some business. But visit any car dealership website, and you will rarely find much more than a few coupons, if that.

This is such a missed opportunity. A happy LOYAL Service customer will surly buy a new car as well, would they not? What about referrals? Do you think a happy service customer would refer friends and family to a dealership (for service or to buy) as well?

I used to think the sales department should target conquest and the competitions customers. But Fixed Ops may have a bigger opportunity to gain new customers. Let’s face it, more people fix than buy.

Both Dealerships and Independent shops have to find that competitive edge. They have to find ways to separate think diffthemselves from the pack. Discounts and coupons are great but if a customer is strapped, it may not matter. Help customers pay for their product and/or service and you will have that edge. There are creative new solutions that go beyond “accepting VISA and M/C.”

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check engine lightWe did our homework. There are clearly more car dealerships nationwide that have invested in a nice “In-House Restaurant” than any type of “In-House No Credit Check Financing” solution for their Fixed Ops. It all started when something hit me over a year ago. (I have been serving dealers for over 27 years and never caught it.) The art of offering potential car buyers different ways to finance a vehicle  is so widely accepted and effective, it is even used in adverting and marketing. (ALL CREDIT APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED or YOU ARE VIRTUALLY PRE-APPROVED, Etc.)

However, click on any dealership “Service Dept. Tab” on-line or review any direct mail coupons and you will get “crickets” or nothing, basically. Why? Why is that?  Some dealerships don’t even take the time to put any Service coupons on their website period or its half ass. This is a department that can have upwards of a 70% profit margin.

I feel like I’m missing something. I’m waiting for someone way smarter than me (almost everyone) to call me up one day and just say, “Todd, you stupid ass, don’t you realize that the Service Department is (fill in the blank) and that is why dealerships don’t offer things like In-house “No Credit Check” Funding Programs? I then say, “Oh of course, how stupid of me!”

Until that day comes, think about this. More dealers have an “In-House Restaurant” than “In-House No Credit Check Funds” available. So, car dealers see the value and are willing to hamburgerinvest $100,000 in a Restaurant so people looking at buying a car won’t leave to “think about it” but they don’t (or have not yet) invest less than $200 a month to have their own In-House “No Credit Check” funds available for Service customers that need $700 to fix their car. A customer can buy a “Hemi-Hamburger” but can’t get a new Transmission put in, unless they have $2,800 cash, an empty VISA/MC, or rich uncle!

Please allow BMD to introduce to you an exclusive In-House “No Credit Check” Same as Cash, Funding” for car dealerships. The dealership customers can take up to 12 months to pay. No credit is required and no credit is checked. All the customer needs is a checking account and valid ID. No risk for the dealership, they get paid 100% in less than 72 hours. This is a huge opportunity for dealers to not just increase new business but also increase:

  • One item Repair Orders
  • Declined Repairs
  • Hours per Repair Order
  • Retail Labor Sales
  • Parts Inventory
  • And More!

Personally, this is where those dealers that are really committed to changing that Car Dealership “image” can shine. When a lady comes in for a Lube, Oil, Filter and she also needs four new tires (winter is coming), the brake pads have only 15% remaining, and Major Service is really over due. She (or he) has pride and sometimes won’t come out and say “We don’t have the money, or we don’t have a credit card with any room, or something else. So, they just say, “I’m in a hurry, next time!” That is the customer a dealership can help and really feel good about it. (especially with a couple “little ones” there as well)

“But that is not realistic Todd, there are not very many customers out there like that.” Really? Consider these quick facts from Forbes and the U.S.Census Bureau:

  • 46% of Americans Do Not Have $1,000 Socked Away for an Emergency. (like car repair)
  • Average age of the 258 million cars on the road today is 11.6 years old. (a record)
  • 76% of Households live “paycheck to paycheck.”

This is a two prono credit check picng solution. First, we must set you up for the “No Credit Check” Car Repair Funds. Then, the advertising, marketing, and social media is where you start generating record profits in Fixed Ops. Call us today!

used car influx

How can car dealers take advantage of the recent news regarding the incredible influx of over six million Off-lease used cars set to hit the market over the next couple years? That’s our job. As a Digital and Direct Marketing Company, it is important to take current events or situations and turn them into opportunities for automotive dealerships. In this case, using URGENCY is powerful, effective, drives business, (and it is even legal.)

In fact, you owe it to your customers to let them know that their current vehicle could lose value quickly in the near future so if they are even thinking about trading it in, selling it, and getting a new (or newer) vehicle, NOW IS THE TIME!

Here is a direct mail piece customers use to take advantage of the situation.

By targeting year, make and model (with PHOTO), we then append current values with Black Book (or KBB) and apply any extra incentives a dealer wants to add. We also drive the customer to the Internet with custom Personal URLs, IVR, and offer our BDC Services as well.

market alert snip

jhon l service coupon

Lots of Specials, Incentives, and Discounts But Nothing About Paying for It! Why?

Within variable operations, there are dozens of financing options available through F&I. The new and used vehicle sales department advertise and have financing options for every buyer from sub prime to 800+ credit scores. In fact, many advertisements use “pre-approval slogans” and attractive financing to generate leads that end with an automotive purchase.

But when we move to Fixed Operations, it all stops. Why? We evaluated hundreds of dealership websites, advertisements, and Service Dept. direct mail pieces. No where did we find any messages that really gave customers any finance options beyond good cold hard cash, and “We accept Visa M/C!”  Even when we moved to independent auto repair shops, all we could find was CarCareONE and that was traditional financing that included filling out a credit application and getting qualified. (or approved)

Obviously, automotive lenders are not interested in financing $675 for someone that doesn’t have a credit card or the credit card is tapped out. But $675 could mean getting to work or not for that particular customer. So would it be fair to say, whomever has a financial solution for this customer, is going to earn their business? You bet it does!

According to Forbes, 46% of Americans don’t have a $1,000 socked away for an emergency, like car repair.  In fact, 76% of Americans are living “pay check to pay check.” This is a huge market and Forbes estimate it’s potential to be around $8 Billion dollars.

After reading several great articles written by Fixed Operations expert Don Reed (whom we don’t know personally, never talked to, and receive nothing for endorsing) it is clear that dealer profits can go through the roof by improving:

  • One item repair orders (LOF)
  • Declined repairs
  • Hours Per RO (HPRO)
  • Parts inventory
  • Retail labor sales

Not sure if this would be defined as a “rhetorical question” but what the heck! Would a Service Adviser/Manager offering customers “No Credit Check, No Credit Required Financing,” improve all of these?  In fact, using Mr. Reeds figures, if a dealer improved by just .05 HPRO’s, that would increase gross profits by about $12,000 per month or $144,000 over the next year. That is a 1,082 percent improvement!

As a dealer or Fixed Operations manager, would you invest less than $200 a month to increase annual gross profits by at least $144,000? (Now That’s Rhetorical!)

You want to really talk profit? Establishing “No Credit Check Financing” is just the first prong. The second prong is even better. We are talking “No Credit Check Financing” added into the marketing and advertising. It is one thing to just offer it, its another to go out into the market and deliver it. With over 225 million cars and trucks on the road today, the average age is older than ever before in history. At 11.6 years, it is projected to hit 12 years old soon. That means millions of vehicles with over 100,000 miles. Its time to tap it!

“No Credit Check Financing” can earn your dealership service department profit that would have driven right off the lot.

Here’s how:

A lady comes in with a Lube, Oil, and Filter Coupon for $19.95. The Service Writer notices the tires are bald, brakes are shot, and the vehicle needs major service. The lady says she knows the car is in bad shape but just doesn’t have the $1,100(or a credit card) for new tires, brakes and other service work.

The customer gets the LOF, and drives off, or…
The Service writer has a button or there is a sign on the wall that says, “Ask About Our In-House No Credit Check E-Z Funds!” So she asks, and finds out all she needs is a valid Checking Account and ID. (As long as she is not going around town writing bad checks, she will be approved.) She puts 25% down ($275) and agrees to $70 a month for the next 12 months.  Simple as that…
She gets all the critical work done on her vehicle TODAY (New tires, new brakes, etc.) and her family, kids, are safe again in their vehicle. Plus, with the car fixed, getting to work on time is no problem.

The dealership doesn’t have to worry anymore about bad checks and 100% of the funds are wired to the dealership in less than 72 hours, GUARANTEED. (Backed by National FDIC Bank)

Let’s break down the $1,100. If the profit was at 35% and this type of scenario only happened even one time over an entire week, you are looking at $1,925 added profit per month ($23,100 a year) that would have drove off the lot. Considering the lease on this product is less than $200 a month, this is a “NO BRAINER!”

That is just phase one. As a Digital and Direct Mail Marketing expert, phase two in next. This product is too powerful to just wait for customers. We need to now send out a “Pre-Approval Notice” to targeted vehicle owners that would certainly get important service work performed on their vehicle if they had a way to pay that didn’t break the bank.

Having your own “In House No Credit Check EZ Financing” is your ticket to tapping an entire market of consumers who need your services. Forbes Magazine pointed out that 46% of Americans don’t have $1,000 tucked away for emergencies like the car breaking down. They have a job, no credit cards (or they are tapped out) and don’t go around town bouncing checks. Forbes estimates this is an $8 Billion dollar market. It’s time to TAP IT!

About the author: Todd Vowell has been a business owner since 1994. Took 3 start up companies from zero to over $30 million dollars with over 140 employees including 52 salespeople. Over 2,000 people have been hired, trained, motivated, and educated by Mr. Vowell in the art of successful automotive digital/direct marketing, sales training, and social media.

5,000 Car Dealers have executed over 400 million pieces of mail with his events. Since 1987, dealers have invested over $125 Million Dollars in his custom exclusive events and sold over 600,000 vehicles. Promotions like The Butterball Bonanza, The Auto Loan Alert, The Decoy, Certification Test Market, Drive Back to America, and Dept of Vehicle Acquisitions.

Mr. Vowell is proud to have worked with Jackie B Cooper, Jim Rohn, and his mentor, best friend, and dad, Dean Vowell.

Specialties: Creates the path, never follow it. He combines digital and complex variable data direct marketing, strategy, and enthusiasm for automotive direct mail marketing events worth a repeat performance!

football tailgate

If you don’t believe Traffic + Excitement = $ales, then you’re either in the wrong business or lost your mojo!

Football is back and so are passion, rivals, and talking smack. Most if not all dealerships are located in an area where the favorite team to root for is big business.

Buy Mail Direct specializes in creating a Digital/Direct mail campaign that ties in nicely to your hometown favorite team. From A to Z, we handle everything. Since College games are usually on Saturdays, it makes it perfect sense to have a 2-day event on Thursday and Friday. For NFL games on Sundays, of course Friday and Saturday fit nicely.

Campaigns have a custom home team flavor but here are five ways to cash in BIG TIME on the BIG GAME!

  1. Include a $25 Fan Gear Gift Card and a drawing with guaranteed winner(s) for two (or more) great seats to the big game that weekend as an additional bonus for coming down to the dealership.
  2. Throw a “Tail-gate Party” as your theme and fire up the grills a little extra that weekend. Salespeople, put a jersey on! Invite the local college (or even high school) cheerleaders down. Put all the trucks up front, drop the “Tail-gates” and really deck out the dealership with extra colors and local football theme!
  3. Plan ahead and have your logo put on footballs and/or hats as give-a-ways for coming down to the dealership. There is nothing better than your dealership branding all over the parking lot and stadium for months to come!
  4. Any town within four hours of the stadium is fair game. A limo to the game or transportation provided by the dealership in a nice new Sport-ute is a great hook to build more traffic!
  5. Insurance: Have a winning number to win the big $5,000 package. Or, consumers can throw a Nerf football into an open sunroof, punt a football into the back of a truck, or even different team “Contingency” events like “run back the opening kickoff” or “if your team tailgate with truckwins” and so on!

For more information or other ideas, call 27 year automotive marketing expert Todd Vowell today!

Buy Mail Direct Inc.

Digital Car Leads

916-259-1751

Cell 916-580-5190

http://www.buymaildirect.com