So as many of you know I am new to the car business and I don't have a large customer base yet. I watch Grant Cardone as part of my training. I have been focusing on Prospecting lately. The weather has been crazy in my area lately and I have been sick but I don't want to use any of this as excuses to not produce. One of the things that Cardone suggested was sending out prospecting letters to local businesses. I love this idea because I enjoy writing.
But I am lost at to how I should format the letters and what businesses I should target. I have researched a few floral shops that deliver and considered sending them letters. I have also considered sending a few courier services a letter focusing on the Toyota Prius. Any ideas about the format of my letters or/and what businesses to target would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Take a nice SUV or large sedan and go to real estate offices. Do you have friends or family that have public businesses or clients like hairdressers or dentist assistants ect. Make up a nice framed letter or certificate thanking them for being a "bird dog" (give them a name like "Angela's Angels") or sending you some business (if they are willing and actually have helped). I have given a trophy (get them fairly cheap at a trophy/plaque shop) to a hairdresser for referring multiple customers and it sits in their area everyday as a conversation piece. Make up a nice flyer and offer something (free oil changes??) and go hang it in break rooms at big employers in your area (get permission and hang it yourself). Make it specific to the employees "If you have worked here at XYZ Company for more than 2 years you are eligible for ________." Be sure you have a letter to send to all the refrences you get on credit apps or when you ask your current customers for them. Get involved with some type of organization in town that has several members and does fundraisers or other functions and help them. Make sure you wear a company shirt because you want everyone to know where you work. There will be business from the activity (you have to be involved).
Learn this phrase - "You'd be interested in a new vehicle, wouldn't you, if we could get you in to one for about what you are paying now?"
Practice in front of a mirror. Check your facial expressions and voice inflection so it rolls off the tongue effortlessly. Hang out in the service department. Volunteer to give service customers rides home. Don't lead with the phrase. Have some small talk first. You sense when the time is right. Figure out how to ask whomever you have contact with. Everyone has a car payment... at least 90 % or so. And we have all sorts of means to get owners into vehicles for about what they are paying now. Residual based financing is even available to many used vehicle buyers to keep payments low.
I always suggest doing business with people that do business with you so I would start with that! Your dry cleaners, grocery store, dentist office - you get the point. Start with an appreciation of their product or services and then offer to "pay them back" with VIP service of your own to satisfy the transportation needs of their employees. Also, if they have a website that allows customer comments or a Facebook with similar opportunities to recommend them offer to do so with the same reciprocal proposal. After all, what are friends for!
As for the copy, the more personal it appears the better. A hard sales message will appear like a direct solicitation and be received as a sales pitch vs. an offer to make a new friend in the business community.
Now, in addition to replying to your request for suggestions for your letters you should also consider calling people who have their vehicles for sale in the newspaper and offer them an opportunity to have it appraised at your dealership to sell it outright or perhaps trade it in since they are likely planning on replacing it anyway. Finally, work the early bird position in your service lane looking for orphan owners with the same proposal to trade up for the same payment or less if the year of the vehicle suggests that they may be ready.
Go back 60-90 days and contact the service customers.
Preferably 3- 7 years old.
You'll have their vehicle information, name address etc.
I should be a bit clearer. 3-7 years old vehicles.
The cars can "be a great addition to our pre-own inventory if you are looking to trade or sell to us".
A good number of off lease vehicles will be about 3 years old
Prospecting is a very unique part of the business. There are a lot of suggestions made that have been around forever. Letters, flyers, etc... can be a ton of work and if you are like most sales people I know, you will want to see a result from your effort fairly quickly. The key to effective prospecting is to be consistent, don't do too much too soon and burn yourself out, and never give up when you think the effort exceeds the result. Prospecting is something that perpetuates over time that is why it is important not to exhaust all your resources up front. Being consistent a little at a time makes a huge impact. Don't ever be afraid to tell everyone what you do for a living. Something that has served me well over the last 20 years is to leave a business card with every tip after a meal. (If the service was good and the tip was favorable of course) If you frequent certain establishments, people get to know you, take in interest in you if you tip well are friendly etc... Sales it about two things, relationships and timing. There is no one that has not had a rookie sales person approach them with some form of prospecting by the time they are 25 years old. Focus on the relationship and not prospecting for an immediate sale because the second thing that has to be right is the timing. Someone has to be in the market, able to buy, ready to buy, and willing to work with you to make a sale. Is it easier to work with someone you know or a complete stranger? The traditional forms of prospecting are just about the numbers game. Talk to enough people, you will find someone that will be interested in. My experience has taught me those that respond to generic prospecting are usually the ones that can't buy, too far upside down, bad credit, etc... Those people are always out looking. Too many of those people show up and you will start to believe your efforts are for nothing and give up. Use long term network and marketing ideas like HOA's, Chamber of Commerce, volunteer your time with the local school district or charities and simply get your positive attitude out in front of other positive people. Be yourself, people don't respond to the typical sales pitch and the best I ever received was no matter where you are and what you are doing you are a representative of your company and your actions could affect your success because it is a small world.
Jennings Anderson Ford
Frankly, telling you to start mailing letters to companies is wrong. People are under the misconception that if you send marketing letters or anything else that people will automatically respond. They won't and you will be wasting your time. You need to understand marketing and copyrighting. Buy the book "Tested Advertising Methods" by John Caples and read it cover to cover twice before you attempt to send anything. You first need to consider four things - market, message, media and match. Who are you trying to reach, what will be your specific message, what will be your media choices to reach them and the match of your market, message and media. You want to first think of who you are and are trying to be. Become an expert in a giving area - King of Trucks example. Brand yourself and begin to go after very specific audiences as an expert. Be an expert not a salesperson. Example, market to women. Speak at women's associations and groups for free on the topic "How a Woman Can Buy A Car and Not Get Ripped Off" Finad local businesses and create alliances - restaurants, pizza shops, fulll service car washes, dry cleaners etc. Create coupons for those businesses with a significant value offer to be handed out at your dealership. Create a bundle of coupons for a coupon package. Now create a coupon with a value offer for you and your dealership that they will give out as well. A restaurant can give it with the check for each customer. If you want to be a successful person in this or any other business I would invite you to become a massive student of marketing. Study Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham and other brilliant marketing minds. You can explode your sales and build a sustainable and scalable business. I would invite you to go to my website and read my blogs as well at www.tewart.com
Best Wishes and Good Selling!
The letters to businesses don't have to be model or industry specific, it just has to show your willingness to help them as a business as well as assist any of their employees with their transportation and service needs. Just your willingness to do this will put you head and shoulders above the rest!!!! Great job!!! The other area I would suggest is using your personal social media connections to reach out to women interested in buying a car.
I have designed a program specifically for female car salespeople called "Women Selling Cars to Women". It allows you to network to the largest niche market in the world "WOMEN". Other programs try to teach guys how to sell to women, which is nice, but I feel that a female salesperson is going to be much more in tune with what a female buyer would want. You can get a feel for it at www.womensellingcarstowomen.com.
As a dealer I love a salesperson that is willing to work to build their own business. Good Luck
Angela, below is an excerpt from a recent blog I posted regarding email marketing. Writing copy for email marketing is not far off from writing copy for letters sent by mail.
In the past, I use to produce copy for email campaigns that were designed for the masses. Yes, I was a marketing lounge lizard! Like other lounge lizards before me, I was often rejected. I grew tired of all this effort with so little return and began to look at marketing in a new light. The words of my parents and grandparents came into play, “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.” If lounge lizards were a turn off, then what was a turn on? Good looks might get me to take notice but looks are fleeting, so there was no need to develop slick looking HTML emails. Charming suitors are great at first but seem to forget their Prince Charming manners after a while, so no need to develop seemingly sincere emails that are more fluff than fact. Intelligence and the ability to hold a conversation seemed to be the long term plan for holding my attention…Eureka!!! Email marketing should be the seed to begin smart conversations, which enlist my consumers in intelligent dialogue about how my company’s resources could improve their business stance.
Here is another blog post on How to Write an Effective Sales Letter:
Sit down with your Sales Manager and Pre-Owned Manager to choose which vehicles to promote and come up with a letter explaining their key features. Such as which options come standard with the car, crash test rating, etc. Add a picture of the vehicle you are talking about, even if you have to go out on the lot and take the picture yourself and upload it to the letter. Does your company give anything to a customer that recommends other customers to the dealership when the car is sold? Make sure you mention that to the companies that you send the letter to. Drop these letters as fliers to businesses you go to on a regular basis. Of course ask these companies first for their permission. Ask your managers are their any clients that are no longer asigned to a specific sales consultant. Get a print out send these letters to those customers. Obviously if they just purchased a vehicle alter the letter to ask if they have any family or friends that need a vehicle, then continue with the explaination on how they will be rewarded at the dealership.
Remember to sell yourself first, tell them why they should come to your dealership, then listen to their needs when they come in and feature those concerns as part of your demonstration of the car. NEVER overpromise and under deliver. Always underpromise and over deliver!
I also agree with Stephanie, treat customers the same way you would want to treated when you are out looking to purchase a vehicle.
Learn and practice the most powerful prospecting line ever: "You'd be interested in a new one if we could get you into one for the same price as you are paying now, right?" I'm sure your dealership has residual based financing available. If not, they need to. Troll the service waiting area after getting approval from management. You'd be surprised at how often you can insert this line into a conversation. After you do it for a while you will be surprised at your results. Most people will want to hear more even if they haven't been considering another vehicle. And the question offends no one.