Say you spent that same $2,500 on direct mail. You got 2,500 pieces in the mail, averaged a 1 percent response and ended up with 25 leads. “Wait…25 leads? Are you insane? That’s four times what I spent for my Internet leads!” You’re right. It is expensive. And here’s the kicker…You may not get 25 leads. You might get more than that. You could get less. Analytics and experience allow us to predict your return with a high degree of accuracy, but regardless of what anyone tells you, there’s still no sure thing in direct response.
But let’s talk about the leads you did get. These are qualified customers. They know what they applied for, and are expecting to buy cars. On average, dealers close a much higher percentage of these leads, over 30 percent, in fact. Now of these 25 leads you sold eight cars. Your CPS is the same, $312.50, which is the only number that matters here. Plus, you only had to manage 25 leads to do it. Bottom line, you sold an equal number of cars at the same CPS - with a quarter of the effort.
That’s why the most successful dealerships rely on direct mail to maintain their huge sales volumes. With Internet alone, the sheer manpower involved in working all the leads would make it next-to-impossible to reach these numbers. And in most cases, there are simply not enough leads available in a given market to fulfill the demand. Most successful dealers use a multi-channel approach. They balance quality and quantity with a blend of direct mail and Internet leads throughout the month.
Alas, there is no “secret-formula” that works for everyone, (as much as I’d like to tell you we’ve got one). There is however, one key ingredient that the most successful dealers share alike: knowledgeable, dedicated people working all the leads.
The car business is a people business. You must have the right people contacting all of your leads, setting appointments and getting as many customers through the door as possible. You need the right people greeting, providing excellent service, following-up and generating referral business because of it. The best dealers do it. So should you. That’s the difference.
So next time you hear about the new Web-based ultra-technical thing that will “revolutionize the auto industry,” remember, it’s still a people business. And when it comes to your lead generation, don’t forget direct mail. It’s tried and true and has come a long way technologically in its own right. Most importantly, it still makes dollars, and it makes sense.
Vol 2, Issue 10