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Consistency: Better Than a Crystal Ball

By Alexia Henson

If you're like most dealers, you may feel that you don't want to inundate your customers with mail. However, the issue is that your competitors are most likely sending mail to the same customers that you're trying so hard not to overwhelm. 

It’s difficult to decide whether to mail regularly or spontaneously. You may be asking yourself: is there an equation to calculate how often I should actually mail my customers?

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. This is why engaging your customers on a regular basis is so important. You never know when they’re going to need or want your service. You can't predict when a customer's vehicle is going to break down or when someone gets a promotion and they can finally afford the convertible of their dreams. 

The right time is different for everyone. Here's a perfect example of a business being consistent until the time was right for me. I'm sure you’re familiar with the cleaning and upholstery coupons that seem to fill your mailbox on a regular basis. Even though I owned a white couch, I can't tell you how many times I ignored their offers. My couch seemed perfectly clean! But one day, I walked into my family room and noticed that my crisp white couch wasn't looking so clean anymore. So what did I do?

I saved the next coupon I received. And not only did I have my couch cleaned, but I spent an additional $200 for that special cleaning fluid that was "guaranteed" to do a better job.

The moral of this story is that when I was ready, I paid attention. And the company that was most consistent in sending offers is the one that earned my business. I am not saying that you should mail the same customer every week or every month. What I am saying is that you should be more concerned about missing their business rather than talking to them too much.

Bad relationships stem from under-communication, not over. I mean seriously, when is the last time you ever heard of a girl divorcing a guy because he talked too much?

Now that we've determined that there's no such thing as perfect timing, you might be questioning whether or not direct mail loses its effectiveness when used on a regular basis. So just how aggressive should you be?

I recommend segmenting out your customers into two categories: one for sales and one for service. Depending on the size of your dealership, you can break each of those categories into two or three mail drops. For sales, I suggest targeting those customers a minimum of every 60-90 days. For service, I suggest targeting them every 60 days. Remember: you can't control when the customer will need your service. But you can control that it's your offer that’s in their hands the moment they do.