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Shop Talk: The 98% Solution

Well, here we are in another election year. Relax. This article is not about anything political, except for the fact that those in the House and Senate enjoy a 98% rate of re-election. That is, the incumbent, the one we know, is getting voted back in nearly every single time. Why am I sharing this at a time when some of you are shattering records and literally selling out of inventory?

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Contrary to wishful thinking, that pace cannot last forever. If it did, none of my articles, or anyone else’s for that matter, would have any impact. But, just like the passing of recent predictions of the powersports industry crashing, this too shall pass. So, am I just stating the obvious and business has cycles that we can’t control? Yes and no.


No time to read? Listen instead!


There are cycles in everything. Weather, economies, business and even health. But it’s what you do during these cycles that can help keep your dealership performing at a very high level. I want to touch again on the power of postage. But, this time, I want to do so with re-election thinking. First some math.

Suppose you’ve been in business 10 years and have averaged 50-unit sales per month. That would mean a total of 6,000 sales over the course of 10 years. And, if we account for 25% of that being repeat business, you will have 4,500 customers in your database. These are people who became comfortable with how you do business, liked what you offered and VOTED to buy from you. Doesn’t it make sense to seek re-election from them?

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Usually, when dealers sign up to do a mailing, they send out an average of 5,000 high impact pieces of mail. In major metro areas, that number could be larger, but this is just an example. Now, if you’re willing to spend money to mail out something of quality to total strangers, and expect great results, wouldn’t it make even more sense to create something for people that already trust you enough to have purchased in the past?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You could run down to your nearest office supply store and buy something to mail and get results on your own and you’d be correct. But, for the extra money, you could create a higher volume of traffic, larger gross profit and far more unit sales if you bring in professionals.* Companies who do this on a national level are always very effective and offer guarantees of high-performance results. You can’t get that doing it yourself.

Plus, when you allow yourself and your team to focus on what you’re really good at, and let the other pros do what they are experts at, the results are always over the top. And, when you are spending money, that’s the result you should expect. I have worked with several of these mailing companies whose services range from simply producing the piece of mail to producing, mailing and even supplying staff at your dealership for the duration of the sale.

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You decide how much you want them involved. But here are some guidelines.

  • If your sales team is fairly new, get the company to staff the event.
  • If you have a mix of seasoned pros and newbies, get the company to supply a team leader.
  • If your staff has all been with you for a while, spend big in high quality impact mail and work it yourself.
  • Be certain to ask all the advice you can so that everyone is on the same page.

The real bottom line is, when done correctly, these events often produce a month’s worth of business in as little as a week. With that kind of traffic, it’s best to hire pros who can work with your managers and team to help them understand what is going to happen during the event. That goes a long way to keeping things professional and lets everyone have a piece of the success.

*For information about how to select the right company and program, email me at [email protected] 

John Fuhrman is the senior trainer for Performance Road Agency. He has trained over 15,000 sales, F&I and management professionals for retail operations and dealerships across the U.S. For the month of July, John will offer a free 30 minute consult, to discuss your dealership situation, email him at [email protected] for an appointment. Performance Road is one of the only agencies with a 100% subscription-based training for all variable departments. 

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