Steady as She Goes Part 1

May 28, 2013 / John Paul Strong / 0 Comments /

I often hear dealer principals and managers say, “It’s a roller-coaster ride!” when describing the ups and downs of the sales cycle. I always remind them that this isn’t their first rodeo. Obviously, the fast start for sales in the first quarter followed by a slowing April and May has led to the question, “Do we need to change up the plan?”

In earlier blogs we discussed the potential for June to be the biggest selling month of the year. I also addressed the necessity of reviewing your marketing plan’s effectiveness through the first half of the year in terms of generating traffic for your dealership.  If – and this is a big if – you have operated with due diligence up to this point, now is not the time to fall victim to knee-jerk reactions. Now is the time to trust the plan you and your team designed based on the history of your dealership and the potential for the year. I firmly believe right now is a lull before what should be a very solid summer.

So, what’s working in regards to the various elements you have to present to your market?  Here is my list as a three part series of key areas that have generated traffic.

Direct Contact

mailboxI have previously described the importance of having due diligence in managing your team to effectively contact customers. Your sales team should already be reaching out to customers with both sales and service mail. Both are working individually but are especially effective when done hand-in-hand. We have seen a trade-now message touting the equity value of current vehicles produce traffic. Used car values are at an all-time high, and with factory incentives heating up as summer unfolds, you can present a solid case to buy and trade now!

You can reach out to service customers with a message featuring timely service specials for this time of year. With vacation season at its height, and airline fares through the roof, service mail is turning increased ROs. Even more importantly, craft your message to combat the price-perception issue that the corner franchise store is cheaper. The real upside to service contact is achieved when the sales staff is put in the loop when a service customer brings in an aged vehicle.

Tomorrow, Part 2: Short-Term Success


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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