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Sell the Sizzle-CashForClunkers Success

Sell the sizzle not the steak. A phrase that though well turned is still every bit applicable today as when it was first coined.
As with any business our goal is to accentuate the positive of a given situation and find somewhere within the public mass a chord of commonality upon which to build value rapport, and ultimately a lasting business relationship.
With the CARS Program, we could choose to wait on the sidelines as the belle of the ball hoping our dance card would fill or make sure the DJ is spinning the platters that will keep the dance (sales) floor “hoppin”!
So we at the Tim Dahle Nissan in Sandy Utah chose to take Cash for Clunkers into an event with no equal.
Since the premise of the program was to stimulate new car sales, we emphasized the fact that by removing from circulation and recycling so many gas-guzzling older vehicles the economic and environmental impact is extremely beneficial to all. In addition, the monthly payments on a yearly basis often are equal to or less than the expenditure they pay for up-keep on their current auto.
Next in identifying the key target markets and current banking restrictions, we determined that in most cases the cars allowance would allow us to put even first-time or credit challenged buyers into equity loans and procure financing. Lastly, for those customers whose cars did not qualify, we were able to work out enhanced trade values with our local wholesalers, who are naturally experiencing a shortage of inventory, to step up on trade values so that in most cases we are able to reflect C.A.R.S. comparable trade values against retail values on used vehicles as well.
With those principles in mind we set out a simple inexpensive marketing plan:
1) From our DMS and CRM plan base we garnered approx. 4,000 names of customers that within the last two years had either attempted to trade-in, purchased or serviced a 2002 model year or older vehicle and set our call center personnel to calling and at least leaving a message with all that had current numbers and our receptionist stuffed mailer envelopes for the remainder.
2) We sent out a 10,000 piece e-mail blast through City Twist with multiple links to website designed with Frank Davis of
3)We rented a huge dumpster, and after spray painting "Clunker" and” $4500”all over the cars, placed them in it on our front pad. Also we shot short informal "RAW" footage off cell phones and uploaded them (with our link in the description) to YouTube ( ) and other free sites .
With sales and gross both up and spending less than $3500 on the entire campaign, a sense of fun and the unequivocal confidence on the sales floor that every customer who comes in can be helped,
the "SIZZLE" is selling!

Bryan Armstrong New Car Manager Tim Dahle Nissan Sandy, Utah

Views: 88

Tags: advertising, attitude, campaigns, cashforclunkers, fun, marketing, sales, stimulus, strategy, success, More…win


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Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 7, 2009 at 10:31pm

You were right when you suspected that the suspension furor last weekend pushed your story down the list too fast... After reading it I cannot help but say "YES! Somebody gets it...". The greatest opportunity that Cash For Clunkers has delivered for car dealers smart enough to seize it, is a huge, temporary, but humongous amount of SIZZLE! Back in my early days of selling cars in the 80's and 90's we would put together events called "Slasher Sales" and the hoopla (sizzle) that we were able to generate with local TV news station coverage and "Investigative Reports" on our sale of cars for $99 would generate so much activity that we had to hire off-duty police officers as security guards and for crowd and traffic control. We would give away $15,000 worth of cars for $495 and get $150,000 worth of media and publicity... And, we sold cars, I mean WE SOLD CARS! Cash For Clunkers is like a nationwide Slasher Sale... Limited Time, gotta get to the dealership before everybody else gets all those billions in Fed Bucks... The key is to be the dealer who uses marketing and promotional magic to weave the biggest net of SIZZLE! Thanks for a GREAT Blog Post...

Here's a few examples (click thumbnail to see full size image) of some of the SIZZLE! being created by dealers around Cash For Clunkers:

Comment by Bryan Armstrong on August 1, 2009 at 9:30am
Just wondering if anyone saw this as I posted just as the "suspension" furor hit.

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