EDITOR'S NOTE: RENE GNAM,
the leading direct response advertising consultant, has worked with
General Motors, Car Dealer Insider Newsletter, Corvette News,
Mustang Monthly, Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, Car
Review, Mid-America Corvette Supplies, Orange Buick, DeVoe
Chevrolet, Truck Cap & Accessory Association, and AWAE Jobber.
Readers will profit by his column of marketing advice and may
contact him at 813-407-8400 or Info@ReneGnam.com
Car dealers are so busy
trying to sell new vehicles that they often don't have time to
properly go after repeat business from their very best source --
customers who have already bought a new or used car, truck or R.V.
If your dealership is one
of those overbusy places, refer to this checklist of how to get more
business from the people you've already sold once:
Drop a "thank
you" letter in the mail the same day that Joe or Susie picks up
a new vehicle. Include the name of your service manager and a
"preferential rate" discount coupon for the first service
One week later, mail a
"we love you and hope you love your car" letter. Include a
bonus coupon good for something great, like a free radar detector,
if the customer refers another chap who buys.
Three weeks later, send a
"first service reminder" notice, just a card, with a
reminder that the vehicle is under warranty. The customer must bring
the card to your service manager for a free gift (windshield
polishing cloth, ice scraper or something similar). This gives your
service manager a chance to sell your extended service plan, but be
sure to give the service manager a commission each time he succeeds!
Now create and mail, once
every two months, a series of postcards alternating with letters and
flyers -- all devoted to service visits. The cards are mailed by
themselves. Letters go with enclosures on your special deals (tire
sales, wiper checks, etc.), all designed to bring the same customer
At least twice a year, mail
a "second car deal" flyer, with a super "private
customer" discount not in your newspaper ads.
You might sell Joe or Susie
a second car, but the main idea is to get them eager to keep opening
your mail so they can find deals they can't get elsewhere. Also,
you're building rapport, a feeling that you care, a desire to come
back to you.
Stop crimes! I bought a new
Lincoln Mark VI and a new Mercury Cougar Villager from the same
dealer within five months, a few years ago. Not once has that dealer
telephoned�ever! That's a crime! I switched to Cadillac. Show Joe
and Susie you care, you value their business, you want more
business. Use your phone! Fire the non-producing salesperson who
can't exhibit written records of follow-up calls.
The most important maneuver
is to set a schedule of direct mail promotions, time them with your
secretary or assistant who becomes responsible for getting them
addressed and posted, and do a decent job of setting up a
"database" (mailing list with additional data) on your
computer or at a computer service bureau.
The series of mailings I've mentioned above must be timed starting
with the date of purchase. Don't rely solely on your manufacturer
promotions. They're insufficient to build the loyalty you want.
use the manufacturer-provided promotions, and your own series, and
also intersperse extra mass mailings to your complete list for
"spring tune-ups", "winter prep", etc. Don�t
think all this mail is offensive. It brings you business!