Automotive Digital Marketing

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From the Trenches - Converting Lost Sales to Profits


Question #1: What if we had no departments in the dealership?  What if we had only areas of responsibility but all managers were paid on total store profits?  Do you think we would have greater communication and cooperation between what are now separate profit centers?


Question #2:  Do you offer exceptional customer service throughout the dealership?




Imagine a customer standing between you and your same-brand competitor.  The customer turns and chooses to give a dollar to your competitor.  Your competitor gives you a little wink and an impish grin, turns and walks away a dollar richer.  You feel like a loser.  But then the customer turns to you and hands you a ten-spot.  Who’s the winner and who’s the loser?


You need to stand with one hand behind your back to collect the ten-spot every time you’ve lost the dollar.




We all know the customer, who was so smart he went down the street because they advertised $500 lower, they beat him up, and he bought for $50 less than your advertised  price.  They beat him up again in the finance department.  “Gotta great deal”, he says. 


Then he goes in for his first free oil change and is slightly disappointed or even angry at the customer service in the service department.  Did he really get a great deal?




If you have a 20% or even 30% closing ratio and a large portion of your lost sales are buying the same brand from a different dealer, try to re-convert them for service.  You can make more money from servicing that customer than the other dealer did from the sale.  And YOU can be the hero with great reviews, service sales and profits…. And the NEXT vehicle sale.


Email service coupons to every lost sale that bought the same brand elsewhere.


Start by sending them an email congratulating them on their purchase with regret that you were unable to fulfill their needs.   Thank them for the opportunity they gave you and offer a free oil change to anyone in their household.  They may be getting a free oil change from the other dealer for their new car but not their spouse’s car.  The spouse will come in for that offer and YOU will make them a believer with great customer service!


Retarget the email you sent out, send them to a landing page, and make sure they see your service ads often online with an emphasis on customer service. (Are you retargeting your service customers with ads? You should be.)


Resend varying service coupons every 6 months for three years.  If they come in, you can stop and add them to your regular process for retention. If not, then start changing to sales promotions after three years. They may be back in the market for a new car and you have become a familiar place to begin.


Internet Sales & Marketing Managers usually deal with all departments in a dealership... or should be. Overall store profit is the ultimate goal.... or should be.  Profit only comes in one color - GREEN!

______________________________Pause one last time________________________________


Try it - you'll like it!  Visit with me at AutoCon2012 in September!



Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 186


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Comment by Tom Gorham on July 1, 2012 at 12:48pm

Bruce, I really liked your choice of words.  Customers often make short-term choices (so do we).  But it's long-term planning that provides the true rewards in life.  Our job is to provide that true reward that awakens the customer to what's truly important in their relationship to a business.  Thank you for your insight.

Comment by Bruce from on July 1, 2012 at 12:41pm

Developing a long-term relationship by treating the customer well regardless of their short term choices has to be a winning strategy.  Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Tom Gorham on June 30, 2012 at 10:12am

Thank you Michael.  The success of pursuing lost sales tends to be incremental but still significant.  I appreciate your comment!

Comment by Michael Del Priore on June 30, 2012 at 9:27am

Good Post. Excellent concept.

Comment by Tom Gorham on June 29, 2012 at 1:34pm

Thank you Mr. Darling.  You gave me some good advice on posting in Facebook.  You will see that I took it.  It always pays to be friends with True Pros!  Gracias!

Comment by Craig Darling on June 29, 2012 at 1:16pm

Tom... love your content.... you really are a "TruePro".

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