ADM is a community of technology, application and process driven Internet professionals. I know that because I am one of them!
Auto industry social networking sites like ADM, DrivingSales.Com
and yes, even my own AdAgencyOnline.Net
have all prioritized technology and applications with little focus or credit paid to proven old school wisdoms. It is natural for us to talk about our shared knowledge and experience in areas like SEO, SEM, Microsites, CRM, VOIP Telephony systems, etc..
I could go on to convince you all that I am on OUR side with the importance of these tools to extend our messages and maximize the efficiency of our staffs, etc. Just read some of my own blogs on ADM if you doubt my resolve that the Internet and technology is the future of the auto industry.
BUT - I also value the first 25 years I invested as a dealer and the last ten as a "conventional" automotive advertising agency and I still see a STRONG R.O.I. on old school wisdoms that get little attention by most of us because they aren't new and exciting. The problem is that most dealers need us to help them survive right now and in many cases they don't have the time or money to turn their ship in time to catch the Internet and technology wave.
Those dealers may not be members of ADM but they may be paying some of our bills so this forum is for them. I will list a few FREE - or very inexpensive - NON Technology or Internet based solutions to selling vehicles and service in a down market with the hopes that some of my fellow "car guys/gals" will add some of their best practices as well.
NOTE: Please refrain from suggesting that even these practices can be improved by technology driven processes - I KNOW THAT! The problem is that so many dealers are in "techno shock" or "budget-it-is" that they won't even hear you.
1) Point of purchase merchandising - flyers posters, etc. - on sales and service writers desks or customer waiting areas for vehicle sales, F&I and fixed operation products and services. (Yes, ABN - Automotive Broadcasting Network - can place a private TV station in your waiting rooms to do this better but that would revert back to technology so see my note above!)
2) Dialing for dollars between floor ups to make appointments with previous customers - sold and pending, lease lists, service R.O.s,, vendors for business to business sales and service offers, newspaper and online for sale by owner ads to purchase their vehicle or trade it in for the same payment or less based on new finance and rebate incentives, community groups like churches and civic organizations that your staff is involved in, chamber of commerce networking and rotary like clubs, fraternity lists and alumni lists from staff in all departments - not just sales. All of these examples simply suggest that you network with the people that you know before you presume to call a stranger! (Yes, CRM and integrated Telephony systems with data based email blasts drawn from your DMS or online social networking sites like CarFolks.Com can do this better --- hah - I beat you to that point but see my above note!)
3) Leveraged relationships to cross market with area businesses to "share customers' in various venues like tent sales, community advertisements, charitable events, etc..
4) Early bird schedules for salespeople to meet and greet customers in the service drive.
5) I could go on - but John McCain is about to speak and it is your turn!