Q: I’m a new dealer. I hear holiday season sales can really suck. What can I do from Thanksgiving through New Year’s — other than live off my savings? A: Holiday season sales can really slack off if you aren’t careful about your purchasing and marketing planning. Like any retailer...
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Neamon likes to post photos of winners with the name they drew to show that everything is above board. Boosting sales this month will mean boosting historically slow January collections, too.
Another non-collections cash flow boost is selling shop owners gift cards for their techs. Many dealers find the best time to approach shop owners is between mid-November and the week after Thanksgiving before they’ve made another decision. The gift cards can also serve to bring in new customers who normally buy from another flag.
Q: My wife decorates my truck and bakes cookies for the holidays. At first I thought she was nuts, but I think it’s helped me keep sales up while some dealers are slow this season. What do you think?
A: Your wife is pretty smart.
Deck your truck with boughs of holly and you may just find yourself fa-la-la-la-la-la-ing all the way to the bank.
Neamon says decorating the truck and being in the Christmas spirit is key. Take a cue from retailers on spiffing up the place. Look at Walgreens, Walmart, Target and other retailers for ideas. Decorating your truck can subconsciously put your customers in the mood to buy.
“I tied a wreath to the front of my truck for the holidays when I was a dealer,” says Holtz. Some guys go further and decorate the inside of the truck, even stringing up holiday lights.
Consider rewarding your best customers with something extra special. Holtz suggests spreading the joy by giving customers 10-percent-off coupons to buy their own gift. He says the more they buy, the bigger their gift. When he was a dealer, he gave coupons to shop owners, managers and service writers. He was surprised by how many non-customers called him to get a tool for a family member or friend. (Be sure your phone number is on the coupon so non-customers can call you.)
Neamon creates a package of small flag-branded gifts with his name on them: calendars, pens, mugs and the like, usually spending about $10 or $15 a packet. He gives these to everyone he sees — customers, salesmen, shop owners. It’s a smart strategy: he’s giving away advertising disguised gifts and customers are grateful for his thoughtfulness. You can’t beat that!
Phil Sasso is president of Sasso Marketing Inc. (www.sassomarketing.com), a technical marketing agency specializing in tools and equipment. Subscribe to his free marketing tips at philsasso.com/blog.