“Advertising for Growth”

There are many forms of advertising dealerships use to generate growth in their fixed operations. There are newspapers, mailers, open safety campaign processors, handouts, and the list goes on. There are many ways to measure the results of these using the dealership DMS program as a source of information. 

The DMS is an accurate source of information however there’s no way to distinguish the difference between a customer responding to a mailer or just a dedicated client that has their maintenance done at the dealership. One interesting way to measure advertising is to look at the cost per impression. An example might be if the local newspaper has a circulation of 50,000 that your placing your advertisement in for a cost of $500 it would be easy to calculate your cost per impression. It should be noted that if your advertisement is in a certain section of the newspaper how many of that 50,000 would actually look at that page? Then ask yourself would they see your advertisement and take advantage of your promotion?

I’ve seen countless examples where dealerships spend large amounts of advertising when their service Department is slow to see no response. Even if they see a response it is so small that their low cost labor operation doesn’t generate near enough gross profit to pay for the advertisement. The mission should be to have processes in place that the service Department being slow doesn’t happen. My favorite ways to promote consistent repair order count growth remains using open safety campaign information provided by the manufacturer and contact the customer by phone directly. If the staff contacts ten clients per day per advisor to inform them of an open safety campaign on their vehicle the dealership will always remain appreciated and respected. There is no cost on effort by the staff to use the available information on safety campaigns to be proactive in servicing the needs of the clients. I believe there’s an additional way to advertise the dealership in such a positive way it builds consistent repair order count growth and recommendations by customers beyond any printed materials.

It’s a culture ingrained into the staff to not argue on issues involving customer concerns. If the customer had a nail in the tire and the vehicle was under warranty your staff could argue Mike is not a covered item and the client owes $30 to repair. There’s no way to win this argument in a manner that keeps the customer satisfied. Why not charge the $30 to advertising repair the tire and take care of the customer to retain them long term as a dealership client? I’ve seen so many times dealership staff wants to debate and argue with the customer about such small items they lose them totally. They surely won’t send family and friends to a dealership this so quick to find ways customers are covered and they owe money.

We must develop a culture in our staffs that understands the critical importance of the customer. They will send in their family and friends when they understand that your dealerships Mission is to identify ways to take care of the customer’s needs. No amount of advertising in mailers or newspapers can generate that amount of goodwill. Have cookies and snacks available with assorted beverages not looking for an extra dollar $1.50 for an item but just to provide better customer experience. Put money into these suggestions and call it the best advertising dollars you’ve ever spent.

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Margin Plus
Cell: (419) 282-1351
Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting