It’s a cold winter day, December 4th, 1970 in Vancouver, Washington. A 32-year-old blonde mother walks onto the lot at Bill Marshall Ford and says she wants to look at the new 1971 Ford Pinto. The salesperson walks her over to a red Pinto and says, “Want to drive it?” She nods, and climbs into the driver’s seat, while the salesperson sits in the passenger seat. They drive around the block and she likes the car. “I’ll take it!” she says with a smile. The salesperson draws up the paperwork; she signs, takes the keys, and drives away.
No internet leads back then, no BDC, no auto responder emails, and no long thread of emails back and forth. Back then it was just the customer on the lot, a test drive, and a sale. And, of course, the Pinto sold for $1919 in 1971.
A test drive is a wonderful thing. The more test drives you can get, the more cars you can sell.
Here at the magazine, we discovered a new company called Test Drive Generator out of Mukilteo, Washington. We were interested when we heard the name. Just what is a “Test Drive Generator?” We pictured a complex piece of software that calculated the psychological likelihood of a customer taking a test drive that somehow increased the sales odds and automatically forced the customer into the seat of a car. Actually, this new product for auto dealers’ websites grew out of a software company, called USchedule, that is famous for scheduling in a variety of different industries.
The Test Drive Generator software actually makes it simple for a car shopper who visits your website to simply schedule a test drive. One of the secrets of Test Drive Generator is that it doesn’t want, or like, help. One of the things they tell dealers who sign for the service is, leave the customer alone. Once a customer schedules a test drive, don’t call him or her, don’t email, don’t bug them. Stay out of the customer’s way until their scheduled appointment.
With the original test dealerships, Test Drive Generator CEO, Bryan Dawson, discovered that if the customer schedules a test drive, they will show up for the appointment unless you scare them off. “One of the things customers like about Test Drive Generator is that they can discover a vehicle on your website, research it, come and test drive it, and buy it. They don’t want a salesperson contacting them until its time for the test drive,” says Dawson. A test drive is an ‘almost’ done deal.”
The software tends to catch the car shopper once they find a car they like on your website. Starting the interaction with a car shopper at the test drive point instead of way back when they are an internet lead, reduces the time, from contact to sale, by a lot.
If you would like to talk to someone at Test Drive Generator, call them at 877-696-0415. They will provide you with the results of their test dealerships. The numbers are impressive. Check out www.TestDriveGenerator.com.0
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