Training » Good Intentions or Good Results?

Good Intentions or Good Results?

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I have a friend who, at one time, had been a three-sport athlete in high school. Years passed. So did the athletic frame. So did, in fact all resemblance to an athlete. Like so many others, he determined to do something about it! He bought a piece of exercise equipment. It was a well-known product and the signs were hopeful. Sadly, the results were predictable. The exercise equipment, rather than becoming a source of transformation, became a handy place to hang laundry. Something was once said about the road that good intentions pave…

Good intentions. Every store has good intentions. The goals are pretty simple – profitability. Sales. Building the customer base. Exercise equipment does not equate actual exercise. Exercise does. May I suggest that many dealers’ good intentions do not equate actual sales or profitability.

Periodically, a general manager tells me he just signed for a staffed event to help boost his month. The intention is good. Usually a dealership turns to these “sales” in an effort to give a quick shot in the arm to a month with lagging sales that is not setting any records. But some dealerships turn to these “events” with increasing frequency. Do the good intentions yield the desired result? Or are they like the unused exercise equipment – the sign of a good intent gone unfulfilled because of a lack of discipline?

Not long ago, I training a BDC employee who was given the task of calling subprime leads generated from direct mail. That same day, the dealership was running an “event”, complete with vacation certificate giveaways. Interestingly, the box with the vacation certificates was placed in the BDC guy’s office, and every few minutes, the event coordinator would come in and get a certificate to give to a customer. This went on for most of the day.

Finally, I had to know how many certificates the event coordinator had given out, so I asked him. “Loads!” was his reply. “We’ve had a great response to our promotion!” as he ran out to give another certificate away. My next question was to the GM.

“So how many cars have you sold so far?” I asked, innocently enough, figuring with all the traffic and activity, he must be having a great day. “Only two and one wasn’t even from the promotion,” he responded. I could hear from the tone of his voice, he wasn’t very happy. “We’ve given out a ton of vacation certificates, but most of the people coming in are coming just to get the vacation. They register, get their certificate, and leave.” The good intention did not yield real results.

Years ago, I did a sale with a company that, instead of giving away gifts, gave away five silver dollars! They discovered it was easier to simply ask the customer if they had come to the dealership to buy a car or just get their five silver dollars. It was cheaper to give away $5 to these customers than find a premium, buy it, ship it to the dealership, and hope they had enough to give away. After all, don’t most of your employees end up with the mini boom boxes, golf umbrellas and MP3 players you gave away? Are good intentions enough? Do the giveaways really lead to sales, profitability, and a strong customer base? For the expense and effort – this is a question worth exploring to get to the real truth. Many times, these kinds of promotions are like the purchase of the exercise equipment – before resolving to be disciplined. Is there a better way? A disciplined approach to sales?

Consider this…if a dealership needs a quick fix, a staffed event will probably do just that – bring a burst of customers into the store. The traffic looks good, just like the exercise equipment. It may even help sell a lot of units in a short period of time, but at what cost for that “boost”? It can be as much as 50% of the profit generated. And, what about the mess that’s typically left behind! It may be financial as well as legal. Questionable tactics and marketing efforts may attract a type of traffic that was unintended – from the media or worse, the Attorney General!

Like the excitement of setting up the home gym or exercise bike - you may feel pretty good about yourself in the short run. However, you will eventually see that the lack of disciplined commitment to exercise will leave you looking for alternative uses for your purchase. Unfortunately, once marketing dollars are spent, there are no alternative uses for your purchase Quick sales fixes leave the same problem that was there, causing concern about the sales numbers that were bad to begin with. The secret to success is to create a disciplined marketing plan that yields long-term, consistently great results, month in and month out.

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