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One on One With A Car Dealer, American Style...

By Todd Vowell, CEO, Buy Mail Direct Inc.


Every now and then, you have one of those conversations that just "effects" you in ways you can't explain.  In the past 30 years, I have talked with at least 10,000 Car Dealers, GM's, and GSM's. But for some reason, some conversations just grab you in ways it is hard to explain. Let me try...

This particular dealer is a Ford store in the beautiful state of Washington. I had been working with him for a while to convince him to run a targeted variable data marketing event with us and he finally did.


In fact, the first time we spoke, I had cold called him out of the blue to tell him about a record weekend we just had at a Chevrolet/Subaru store in Washington. I was pretty jacked because we are in the middle of one heck of a recession so having a record weekend is news.  He actually hung up on me so I mailed him a "greeting card" with a little joke inside, and followed up again.

Sure I could have just let him go but if I did, we would have never even had a chance to do business. (I feel sorry for dealers that have to field 100 calls a day when they are trying to run their business so we work hard to find other ways to share information with them).

I should preface that this particular dealer did just run our "Decoy Event" and had the BEST 2-Day Event in the 70 year history of his dealerships.  We did this without using any "hook" like "win $10,000 cash/car" or " win a 3-day vacation", or "get a free BBQ Tool Kit"! He was so happy and thanked me for doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it. It feels pretty good.

I don't want this to come off as an ad for Buy Mail Direct at all. But when a dealer gets over 100 people (using no hook or "cash give-a-ways"), sells 20 plus cars off a 5,000 piece mailer that was under a $4,000 investment (all in the middle of a horrible economy), you cant help but to feel a little giddy (especially when people say direct mail doesn't work).

We also talked about his salespeople who loved the event as well, because they have done other events that were the "cash/car give-a-ways" and this time the salespeople knew people were coming in, not to see if they won something, but to talk about doing business.  When the salespeople are "sold", you are going to have a great promotion.

In fact, he told me he just found out that two other dealerships in town had got together to run a huge "off site event" and they did a saturation (win $10,000 Cash) mailer the same exact dates that he ran our "Decoy Event". He was pumped because he out sold those dealerships combined!

Speaking of the salespeople, its great to know they earned some money. I'm sure there were some "hat tricks" in there and some happy folks. Whats the saying, "everything is funny with a pocket full of money!  When business is slow, bills pile up, so I'm so glad that his salespeople earned some commissions to feed their family, take the pet to the vet, get some school clothes, and all the other things we do to make it.

We are going to get out of this recession, not by the Government spending billions of our dollars but by small business hiring people who don't have a job.  It may sound simple and it is. However, when people "buy things" (and it doesn't matter if it's a car or a die-cast car), it's the transfer of money, its doing business. When money transfers from one pocket to another, that's when it all begins.

The dealership invest in a mailer to generate opportunities. The company earns some money, the people who run the printing machines earn money, the mailman delivers the mail earns some money, and so on.

Then, a couple comes in and buys a car. They leave to go have lunch and "think about it". They spend money at the local restaurant, leave a tip for the waitress, the waitress goes and spends it. The couple return to the dealership, buy the car and get a loan.

The dealership earns some money, the salesperson earns a commission, maybe the f&i manager earns something, etc. So the salesperson gets that commission, then goes down to the local furniture store, buys that couch and a new kitchen table. The furniture store earns money, the furniture salesperson earns a commission (and maybe goes down to buy that car they need so bad), then the delivery guys earn some money, and it just keeps going and going.

This dealer (our new customer) cares deeply for his employees and the community he lives in. He supports local programs, get involved with charities, and just cares. It was such a great reminder of why I do what I do in the first place. I just love serving car dealers!

Yes, this was a special conversation. It made my day and I hope the next time you are down, or just having a tough day, remember the big picture, keep the faith, and don't forget why you do what you do. Now, go out and make it a great day!

Views: 248

Tags: automotive, data, direct, mail, mailhouses, motivate, sales, todd, training, variable, More…vowell


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Comment by Todd Vowell on September 3, 2011 at 12:51pm
Thanks much Jessica, Tim, and Mr Charles, well said, better than I for sure, plus one of my favorite words of all time, "TENACITY", what a great word. Powerful word, a word that if it walked into a bar, it would take off its jacket and beat the crap out of any other word around! LOL! :)
Comment by Charles Kim on September 2, 2011 at 3:31pm
Todd, great story that touched on many key points:

1) Success is the result of passion, commitment, and tenacity
2) ROI is what matters in any investment if time, resources, or capital
3) It is a people business and we can never forget that
4) Government IS the problem and never the solution

Keep up the great are one of the few that "get it!"

Have a great holiday weekend.
Comment by Timothy Martell on September 2, 2011 at 8:57am

Comment by Jessica Wolf on September 2, 2011 at 7:43am
Great story going into this Labor Day weekend! This is what this country was built on and what will keep it prosperous! Thanks Todd!

Comment by Todd Vowell on September 2, 2011 at 6:14am
Thanks Ralph...
Comment by Ralph Paglia on September 1, 2011 at 9:03pm
Todd, you are absolutely right on the money when it comes to job creation! Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMB) are the backbone of job creation in America.

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