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Business Management

Leverage Your Hidden Marketing Assets

The holidays are approaching; get ready or perish.

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In his latest book, The Sticking Point Solution, marketing guru Jay Abraham says, "One of the prevailing problems I’ve identified in the marketplace is ambivalent uncertainty; your client is not just undecided about whether to buy from you, but unsure whether to buy at all." With dealers fighting to make ends meet and OEM budgets likewise diminishing, ambivalent uncertainty will likely be exploited due to reduced industry-wide exposure and consumer top-of-mind awareness. It might also have a significant negative impact on holiday sales throughout the entire powersports industry.

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According to a recent Gallup poll survey on holiday spending, the average consumer spent $866 on Christmas gifts last year. However, it’s projected this will drop to as low as $616 this season. In years past, most advertising and selling steps have begun with the assumption that because the customer has visited your store (or called), he or she has already made the decision to buy a powersports product. It’s just a matter of where, when and for how much. However, in this new emerging economy, your holiday sales and marketing strategy must back up one huge step, and you must consider how to establish the desire to buy in the first place. In this challenging environment, Just because they’re looking, doesn’t mean they’re buying. So how should you combat ambivalent uncertainty this holiday season, and how can you do this without breaking the bank? This is where you need to put your dealership’s hidden marketing assets to work.

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When most people think of marketing, traditional advertising such as print media, radio, television and billboards come to mind. However, you must broaden your understanding of marketing to include any business activity that makes your products or services desirable. Every dealer has many hidden marketing assets. By leveraging these hidden marketing assets you can make tremendous gains towards the four primary goals of your holiday marketing efforts, without spending a fortune on traditional advertising.

Holiday Selling Objectives:

  1. Increase the number of new prospects generated
  2. Improve the frequency of visits of past and present customers
  3. Boost the conversion rate of prospects to customers
  4. Raise the average value of each customer

 

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Your most common hidden marketing asset is your customer database. It costs a lot less to maintain a current customer than to acquire a new one, yet it still appears that too much dealer marketing is geared towards obtaining new customers. Consider a direct mailer, call blast, e-mail campaign or other targeted method to hit your most viable target audience. Too often dealers forget the ones who have taken the time to visit their dealership and have made them money. Don’t make this mistake. Your customers expect you to market to them; they feel unwanted if you don’t and will go someplace else.

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Another common hidden marketing asset is your personnel. Notice that two of the four holiday selling objectives are completely dependent upon your staff. The goal of leveraging your hidden marketing assets is to make more sales and profits without spending a ton of money on traditional advertising. You’ve already spent the money on your facility, inventory, computers and website, so why not maximize the opportunity every time someone comes through the door and train your staff?

I’m completely bamfoozled that so many dealers still refuse to invest in training their team. Most dealers pay a minimum of $150 to get a customer in the door, yet waste that money and the opportunity to make a sale because they are unwilling to invest in educating a salesperson on how that customer should be handled. This is penny wise and pound foolish. Do professional football players get to quit practicing blocking and tackling? Do pro baseball players ever quit taking ground balls and holding batting practice?

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In many cases your customers and prospects are starving for quality consultation from your staff. Will your team be ready?

There are many other hidden marketing assets such as your telephones, merchandising and so on. Take a hard look at what you’re already paying for that. Combating a consumer’s ambivalent uncertainty won’t be easy this Christmas; however, this one last cash injection could be the shot in the arm you need to push through to the spring selling season where you’ll be overwhelmed with opportunity due to a massive reduction in competition.

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