Sure, it’s vitally important to constantly attract new customers—before your competitors do. But don’t ignore your current customers or take them for granted.
It’s far easier and less expensive to sell more items, more often, to people who know you, than to attract and sell even once to strangers. And when you make use of some of the features of dealer management software, the process of getting repeat sales can be surprisingly fast, easy and economical.
Consider direct mail, for example. With detailed point-of-sale (POS) software, you already have the most important part of any direct mail campaign: the mailing list. You have each customer’s name, mailing addresses, e-mail address (be sure to ask for it), purchasing history, and other relevant data. So you know what activities they’re most interested in, and which additional products, accessories and services they’re likely to want or need in the near future.
But don’t assume they’ll automatically think of your dealership when they’re ready to buy. They may be as much aware of your competitors as you are—or even more so, if they often visit them to buy or just look around…and you don’t.
There are several ways for dealers to use direct mail to make additional sales to current customers, and also to attract new customers (once you obtain their names and addresses and add them to your database).
One of the most popular and well-proven ways is to send out a newsletter on a regular schedule: monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Or even semi-monthly during peak seasons. You can have your newsletter printed and mailed, but it’s far more economical and faster to send it as an e-mail or e-mail attachment.
Whether you have it written in-house or by a freelance writer (to control the cost, pay him or her by the page, not by the hour), you can probably obtain some of the content—articles, photos, new product info, etc.—from suppliers. You may also be able to obtain permission to use excerpts of articles published in certain powersport magazines.
To encourage readership, your newsletter should be written in a friendly, helpful way, as if you were talking one-on-one to each customer. Tell them about the new products that just came in, provide helpful tips, include a money-saving offer, and perhaps have a Q&A or FAQ section that answers common questions and addresses seasonal concerns. Avoid hard-sell promotional language; it can turn readers off.
In most cases, this would be a discount off the regular price. But it might also be a “free gift” with purchase. (Cosmetics counters in department stores do this all the time.) Or, if appropriate, you could offer free tickets to a seminar or product demo, or a free three-month subscription to a magazine.If producing a newsletter seems like too much effort (it can actually be fun, once you get past the first issue), at least send out half-page or one-page e-mails on a regular basis. Use them to announce new products and services, and to promote upcoming in-store events. Direct marketing experts will tell you that every advertising message you send out—regardless of the media—should have an offer…a reason for the customer or prospect to respond by a specific date.