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OK part one ended with us discussing using SMS Marketing on the front-end as a virtual tour in our print media, as well as using billboards and contests, and how we can move our numbers in an upward direction to improve our bottom line. With our focus still on the front-end, let’s talk about those UPS that came in: didn’t purchase a new or used vehicle, but left on good terms with your dealership.
How can we turn those Ups into Be-Backs? Yes that’s right, we can turn them into customers that purchase parts, services, extended warranties, and eventually a car. When I tell this to a dealer, the first thing they do is gasp for air. I can hear you right now saying the same thing I hear other dealers say… “WHAT?” The next word is always the same, “HOW?”
At this point, I change the subject for a few minutes, because it’s the only time I ever have A GM on the edge of his chair, drooling, begging to know more. I know it’s cruel, but it’s a cruel world we live in! Anyway, back to our subject at hand.
Here is where those small returns begin to add up and turn our bottom line into something to brag about. But to get, we have to give. This is how it works: Everybody has a birthday, and the great thing is that they come every year. So we employ a strategy to capture that Ups information before we let him leave the lot. It goes something like this:
The Ultimate Trojan Horse - The Birthday Gift
Joe, thank you for spending time with us today and allowing us to show you what we have available. In return for the time you spent with us, we would like to give you a free oil change on your birthday. Please fill out this birthday card, and we’ll send a free coupon to your phone a couple of days in advance. And, if you come in on your birthday, we’ll even throw you a mini party.
Joe, excited about the fact that you are giving him something free with no strings attached, takes the card, fills out all the information, gives it back to you and leaves feeling pretty good about you.
A couple of months from now, Joe’s birthday arrives, and he receives a text message wishing him a happy birthday with a coupon attached for his “free oil change.” When he comes in for his oil change, have someone in the office bring out a cupcake with a candle on it, along with a birthday card. You could go as far as making it a big deal in front of the others in the waiting room and bring some office staff out and sing Happy Birthday to him. What kind of impression do you think that will have on the customers waiting? See any opportunities there?
While Joe is waiting for his oil change, give him a 31-point inspection and let him know of any issues he might have. Also, make sure that when you give him his birthday card, that there are at least 4-8 coupons with write-in expiration dates that he can also use for additional service and parts. Be creative with this and test to see what works the best to get them back in again. Also, when they do come in on their birthday, you should use this as an opportunity to “up-sell” them, i.e. new windshield wipers, new floor mats, something!
Capturing The Ups Information And Permission
So what information do we glean? Well, it really is up to you! Here are some things I would recommend: Name, address, mobile number, email address, birthday, gender, vehicle make, model, and year. Knowing this info will be important later. I would also include a check box with the following questions:
Once you get the birthday capture card back, you can do a couple of things with it. If you asked for permission to do additional texts/coupons, then depending on your service provider, add them to the system and to the appropriate mobile lists. Basically you should be able to set it and forget it. As long as the staff is trained properly, they will know what to do when Joe comes in and flashes his cell phone showing his Birthday coupon. Also, make sure that it is redeemed so it can only be used once.
If you chose not to ask for permission to send additional texts, but decide to send them anyway, then do not send them more than once a month. Remember what I said in part one, If you abuse them, you will lose them, and once you lose them, they are gone forever. They will not come back! You will have then shot yourself in the foot and lost out on several years of additional revenue.
Start out by printing 1,000 of these birthday capture cards, and they should be given to everyone who does not purchase a vehicle. If after you have given out almost all of the 1,000 cards and you have no changes to make to your card, then print up a couple thousand at a time and hand them out like candy. (Note: If you would like to purchase ready made birthday capture cards, click here.)
If they have given you permission to contact them, here’s the next step of our strategy. If you haven’t already, create a mobile list that is for regular service/tunes Ups, etc. When you add this new person to your list, set them up to get a reminder with a coupon for an oil change every four months. Set it and forget it. If they get tired of receiving texts from you, they will reply with the word STOP, and then they are off your list. And if they do opt-out, it won’t be from abuse. You’ve parted on good terms.
Once that is complete, add them to a second list for monthly or bi-monthly coupons. (every two months). We don’t want to overdo it. If we engage them in a way that they can’t wait to get the next text, then you have just acquired a long-term customer who will likely bring you most of their repair & services business.
There’s More To This Picture Than Meets The Eye
If you’re beginning to see the big picture, then you should be seeing service bays being full regularly, producing additional revenue above and beyond what you normally do on a daily basis. If you are handing out at least 400 birthday capture cards a month, you should eventually have an in flowing cycle of an extra 100 – 300 service turns a month, even more for larger dealerships.
Now what about those that were in the waiting room when everybody came out and sang Happy Birthday to Joe? If they aren’t a part of your birthday club, get them in! What are you waiting for? Hand them a birthday capture card. Be-Backs are worth a lot of money to you if you are engaging them to come back over and over again, and when you have control over the process, it not only becomes more profitable, but you build loyalty as well.
Rewarding Service Be-Backs, The Key To Increasing Be-Backs Life-Time Value
That brings me to my next point! Loyalty. Loyalty is worth something and as such should be rewarded. Thus the next way to engage your Service Be-Backs is with a mobile rewards program. This is very simple, use mobile rewards to keep track of every time a Be-Back comes in for service. If they come in four times a year for service, give them something in return. It could be a free oil change, a $25.00 off coupon; it could be a $10.00 Starbucks card. There is no set rule on this, so put your heads together and work out a plan that works for you. Just make sure that it’s enticing enough to keep them coming back.
Earlier I mentioned to you in regards to the birthday capture cards, about getting the Be-Backs vehicle information. Why is this important for us to know what they are driving and how old their vehicle is? If your dealership sells extended warranties, then set up no more than two texts per year to drive those Ups that didn’t purchase from you to a mobile site that gets them engaged in the process of purchasing an extended warranty.
There is a lot of profit on those warranties, and if you don’t sell them then it would behoove you to connect with a company that does and work out some sort of joint venture. But don't stop there! Knowing the vehicle info can also be used in the future. How? Set them up to receive a text 12-18 months from their initial visit and let them know that you have some fantastic trade in allowances plus and additional $1,000 off with that text message only of course.
In part three, I will cover what I call the “SMS Life Cycle.” I’ll show you someone who has purchased a vehicle and how we can now quadruple their value to you!