Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Give or not to Give Part 2

Yesterday we started on the topic of using premiums on your mail piece. This type of marketing isn't for everyone, however it could help a lot of dealers that refuse to use them. We'll address some of the common reasons I hear thrown around for not using premiums. Which are legit? That's what we'll find out! So why wouldn't you give gifts on a mailer? #1. Your dealership's image doesn't support that type of marketing What is it about gifts that doesn't support your image? A lot of dealers say they are 'straight forward, don't use gimmicks, rely on repeat and referral business...' they tell me this is the image they've created over many years and using gifts on a mailer will discredit this image and turn off their current customers. Fair enough. For certain brands this is definitely the case (more on that later), however, if you're trying to move pre-owned vehicles on any lot you are going after a different customer than you are with new car. The image of your dealership depends on how your salespeople treat their customers, how active you are in the community, if people feel they get a fair price, and if you don't use deceptive marketing. Putting a gift on a mailer is not deceptive. Save the brand awareness marketing for your current customers and general advertising. For a big weekend event there is nothing wrong with throwing a gift on a piece. #2. It costs more. ...than what? If you spend $8000 on a mailer that flops and $9000 on a mailer that brings in a showroom full of traffic which costs you more money? #3. The sales team has to deal with "gift getters" Yes they do, and for managers, owners and GM this might mean more work for you. If you haven't done a give away type mailer in the past the sales team will need some additional training. If you have a sales consultant consider this new type of 'selling' as their next topic. Think about using a (highly recommended) "Sales Team" for the first few events, the good ones include training as part of their package. Practice makes perfect so the first few sales may not go exactly as planned, but once the sales team realizes some of these "gift getters" can become buyers they'll jump on board. One last thought, a manager I had once used to say "Speed of the leader, speed of the team" ...the leader sets the tone. If a sales manager keeps talking about the "dirtbags" the mailer is bringing in, what kind of expectation does that set for the sales team? #4.It doesn't work for your brand or line. This can definitely be the case. If you are a high line dealer, or a higher priced import dealership these are most certainly not for your new car buyer, and in many cases not for your pre-owned prospects as well. If you're one of the big 3, or an import like Mitsubishi, KIA, Suzuki, etc. this type of marketing will likely work well for you. Regardless of the brand if you have a pre-owned inventory with a variety of low priced, quality vehicles it could still be a good move. One of my clients is a Mercedes dealer that uses give away direct mailers for his pre-owned events. #5. Your sales team is not effective at turning gift getters into buyers. Refer to #3. Has your sales team had training on turning the gift seekers into actual prospects, if not it's not their fault they struggle in this atmosphere. Many dealers turn to "Sales Teams" for this reason, others look to hire a few superstars that really excel at closing this type of prospect. #6. The legal issues are frightening! Yes they are! Especially if you are in one of the crazier states (New York, Georgia, etc). Make sure you are well informed on the laws in your state and that your direct mail consultant is also up to date. If you're really concerned have your legal counsel give the ad a good once over before sending it to press. As long as you do your due diligence on the legal side you should be in good shape, just be aware of the risks. That's more than enough for today! These are just things to consider if you're a dealer that hasn't used give aways with direct mail in the past.

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