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Proven Ways to be Unique and Innovative in Today's Market

I'd like to share a few tips and ideas I've learned that have helped me advance my career. These were things I did everyday and most importantly, they worked. I had one goal I'd try to achieve with every customer: what is the best vehicle for them that will fit their needs, budget and wants. It's like a puzzle. If I take my time and listen to them I gather very small pieces that will help me piece together the puzzle. Some of them are very hard to find so I need to take my time and listen carefully. I want a complete puzzle, a completely satisfied customer.

The Greeting.
The greeting is what sets the stage. "Hi folks, are you out beginning to look and shop around today? (yes we are) Perfect, we have a great selection of new and used cars, trucks and vans. I'd be happy to show you whatever we have. I can point you toward what we have on sale today. Would that be o.k. with you? (yes, we would like to look at those) Are you looking for something bigger or smaller than what your driving now? (bigger, we have a new baby on the way) Fantastic, I can help you with that. What kind of car are you driving now? (a Dodge Intrepid and we need to get a van) As we are walking toward their vehicle I say: I'm sorry. I didn't introduce myself. My name is Chris." (if you need to, be ready to say) "and yours"? By introducing yourself after the greeting they will better remember your name and you will remember their name.

The next step is the most important. At this point I would look at their current vehicle and find out what they did last time. "What do you like most about your current vehicle?" "What do you like least?" "Why are you looking to trade your vehicle in?" "What is your current payment?" Can you start to see the valuable information you can gain from these questions? Read them over again and think about what information you will get from the answers.

Be-Back CD.
Not everybody buys the first time they're in so what did I do then? I pulled out my "be-back CD". My be-back CD is an audio CD that's under 10 minutes long, it starts out with a customer of mine giving a testimonial. I then thank the customer for coming in and have my wife read excerpts from letters customers have sent me between me talking about our great service, concerns they might have, their budget, and my commitment to them. I close with promoting my website and ask them to stop back in and just by doing so, I have a special gift for them. In conjunction with my be-back CD, I have every specific step by step follow up process as well. Very new and innovative. Did it work? Of the people I gave the CD to that returned, I had a 90% closing ratio! The first version I made with my wife and the second version was made in the studio of the radio station the dealership I worked for advertised with. Click here to listen to the second version I made: Be-Back CD

Branding Yourself.
When I sold cars I branded myself "The Car Guy - You've Got a Friend in the Business". I had a caricature of me driving a car that I have on my business cards, website, magnet business cards, thank you cards and my newsletter Chris's Car News which I send out quarterly. I have helped dozens of salespeople create the same type of branding to help them build their "own" business as well. Here are some business car examples: Click here

Personal Website.
My website had info about me, lots of powerful letters customers have sent me, car research, special of the week, past newsletters, weekly newspaper ad, car links, my work schedule and of course a link to the dealership where I work. The purpose of my website is not to sell cars, it's a contact point. The Car Guy - Chris Hanson. It's also to provide information for the customer and it backs up my claims and what I have told the customer. Unfortunately I let the domain name go back so I can't show it to you.

Personal Newsletter.
Chris's Car News was sent out quarterly to my customers and once again I'm not trying to sell cars. It's another contact point. The Car Guy - Chris Hanson. I write an editorial of sorts, a new model review, new customers, quarterly quiz and free dinner give away and a story. Here are several examples of print newsletters to send your customers: Click Here

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Comment by Chris Hanson on February 9, 2009 at 8:02am
I wrote this several years ago and I'm sure it could/should be updated, but here it is:

FREE REPORT: 10 Things to Know BEFORE You Purchase Your Next Vehicle.

FREE REPORT - 10 Things to Know BEFORE You Purchase Your Next Vehic...
Comment by Chris Hanson on February 9, 2009 at 7:56am
I agree completely Ralph. Reciprocity: "A reciprocal condition or relationship.
A mutual or cooperative interchange of favors or privileges, especially the exchange of rights or privileges."

I need to find it but I also had a "10 Things to Know Before You Purchase Your Next Vehicle" report that I gave people when they left the store and emailed it.

Can you imagine if a salesperson, sent the video intro and combined it with some type of CD or report?? They will have surely got the attention of the customer, "now this is not the typical salesperson".

Like you said, most people don't realize how powerful this is.
Comment by Chris Hanson on February 9, 2009 at 7:43am

I am a HUGE fan of using personalized videos in communicating with leads, sold and unsold customers and started doing so about five years ago. Marrazzi Nissan truly "gets it". A video like that adds a personal connection that text and phone calls cannot give. Awesome videos, well done!
Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 8, 2009 at 9:02pm
Oh yeah, I almost forgot... Of course all the ideas above are great, but I REALLY, REALLY like the video CD as a "Be Back Ticket"... Reciprocity works a lot better than most people realize and giving something like a CD with videos and other goodies, such as links to useful web sites on it is a great way to be seen as assisting a car shopper to buy, rather than just trying to sell, sell, sell...
Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 8, 2009 at 9:00pm
Chris and Stan,

Check out the Marazzi Nissan Video clips in the ADM Video Center... These are sent to all the leads as part of their initial autoresponse using embedded images linked to the clips. I have seen a handful of dealerships execute this video strategy well, and the ones that do get more than double the phone contacts per leads received.

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