Toward the end of 2000, the door of opportunity opened once again for Creason. He was approached by the general manager for Ford of Kirkland and asked to come over and get their fledgling special finance department up and running. When I asked Creason about taking on the new position he said, “I had no clue what I had signed on for. Being responsible for the success of a department was way more stressful than letting someone else make the decisions.”
“My first goal was to level off the lead flow and lower the advertising cost,” Creason stated, “We needed to eliminate the feast or famine that direct mail and broadcast campaigns generated. I looked into Internet leads, and this turned out to be the key that solved our advertising cash flow problem. CustomerFunding.com was one of the first companies that we contracted with while adding other well known providers later. CustomerFunding.com has been a great company to partner with. They gave us a jump start when we needed it the most, and they continue to supply exceptional sales opportunities every month. Closing 20 percent of the business they send us is a normal occurrence. Even in a market that has become extremely volatile, where per lead costs have soared above $40, they have refrained from generating and selling garbage leads while keeping our investment very reasonable. I wish I could say that about some of our other providers. We continue to do some direct mail to diversify our marketing but limit it to three or four times a year.”
When I asked Creason about their process he said it’s simple. “We use a trademark name, Miracle Auto Finance, which creates customer confidence instead of fear. My crew gets the customer on the phone as quickly as possible. Our goal is to build rapport, gain trust and make a friend, which separates us from the masses. We sell the customer on the opportunity, not the car, and set a solid appointment. Once the customer is in the showroom, it’s a pretty pleasant experience. We interview for need, review credit, find the car that works best and then hammer out the numbers. Our closing ratio is a lot higher than I care to admit, which simply means we just need to improve by getting more customers through the door to increase sales.” They’re not doing bad now pushing 80 units, grossing $240,000 a month.
“I love this business,” Creason said, “Process, preparation, positive customer interaction and partnering with the best lead provider have made this a sweet gig. My philosophy now is keep an open mind and when your door of opportunity opens don’t be afraid to step through. I’ll always be grateful to the people that opened those doors for me.”
Vol 2, Issue 10