The powersports industry is maturing, while at the same time, technically speaking, its customer base is getting younger. I say “technically speaking” as I am not referring to the average age of our target demographic, but rather, to the way they communicate.
Email is mainstream and rapidly becoming the most frequent method of communication for the under 50 crowd. Developing and implementing a reliable method of capturing email addresses from your prospects is a requirement to compete successfully in today’s market.
Whether sending newsletters, surveys, event invites, or a simple “Thank you for your purchase” letter, email is the critical link between the dealership and the prospect or customer. As dealers increasingly leverage this medium as a central element of their marketing mix, most also realize they have accurate email addresses for only a fraction of their prospect and customer bases (30-40 percent). While email append and similar “opt in” services can increase the number and accuracy of your existing database, the most reliable solution is to acquire a prospect’s email address on your own at the front end of the relationship.
Offering a prospect something they value in return for this information can be very effective. On the sales floor, a raffle box for a T-shirt or a gift card or even lunch at Hooters may seem basic, but it will provide more email addresses than you think. The same is true in the service bay. The line at the parts counter on Saturday seems a lot shorter if I am filling out a free raffle ticket. This tactic transfers to your website as well. I am much more willing to enter a drawing than complete a credit app.
Offering a prospect an electronic sales brochure or video of the unit of interest is hard for them to resist. A tablet computer and your CRM provide a killer combination for your sales team and a memorable experience for your prospect as well. Reinforcing the importance of email capture to the sales team as well as providing training on effective tactics and the available tools is a must as well.
Do not underestimate the value of an accurate email database (think of Groupons’ IPO). Your email database when used responsibly can be one of the highest return assets of your dealership. Make building it a priority of your store, and be creative in your efforts to reach your goal. Good luck and good selling!
Mark Hoadley is national sales manager of V-SEPT Inc. Mark has more than 20 years of experience helping business and powersports dealers to create, improve and manage customer relationships through technology and business processes. V-SEPT Inc. is a provider of integrated customer relationship management and follow-up marketing tools to the powersports, marine and RV industries.