Do you value your business like you do your health? What if you’re dealing with a major decision? It happened to me and I would like to share my story to show how similar decision-making can be in our business and personal lives.
I have been suffering with lower back pain for many years; some days are better than others, much like your business: Mondays are crazy in our industry as we are catching up from the weekend, cleaning up, dealing with small fires, ramping up for the new week, starting the month, closing the month…then Saturdays, we can just have fun and sell cars. Some days are better than others, right?
I tried everything for my back pain; from steam rooms and massages to acupuncture and a chiropractor, all to no avail (keep reading, trust me). After much discomfort I decided to take my problem to an orthopedic doctor, someone who specializes in bones, as it seemed too painful to be muscular. He did an x-ray and immediately saw the problem; my L4 vertebrae had slipped out of my spinal track of bones quite a bit. So then I was off to the spinal surgeon. He ran a series of MRIs, followed by more x-rays, and was crystal clear in his findings and the solution: I have Spondylolisthesis, and the solution is a fusion surgery which places three titanium rods in my back, secured by eight screws. Sound bad? I sure think so! I received three opinions in two cities, and all three confirmed that I needed the surgery.
After doing some homework on the doctor I felt the best about and his experience in this very particular procedure, I read case studies of patients who had this surgery to hear the pros and cons, checked with Dun and Bradstreet for his practices’ business review, and then had a one-on-one talk with the doctor in Tampa, Florida where I finally decided “this was my guy”. I felt confident in everything leading to my decision to put my health in this doctor’s hands. Not once did I ask the price, even though my insurance plan does not cover major medical 100 percent (that's another story), but that never mattered as my nerves were setting Richter Scale records. I just wanted to make sure I was going with the best solution, and experience matters when it comes to our health and the people’s hands we put it in. Experience matters for more than just medical questions. You need experience to answer the important questions about your marketing/advertising plans as well.
What is the long-term goal and how are we going to get there? Show me the marketing plan—the full blueprint, not the short version. Are you dealing with a company who specializes in what you are attempting to do or someone who is "dabbling" in it along with the other five products they specialize in, or is it even that guy that "now has his own company"? Do a background check on the President of the company. It is so easy now with instant access to the internet to weed out the riff-raff immediately so you can get the real players on the field when having "tryouts".
Go to Dun and Bradstreet, check the company’s vitals; good or bad, this will tell you some of the history on the company. I'm not asking you to call all of the company’s “references" as we all have friends. I do recommend you ask to talk to just two or three "real time" references, as in clients who have sales happening that week. Good, bad, or ugly, you will get the truth this way. After all, if you’re looking to do a sale that generates six figures in five days or less with zero problems, direct mail and/or staffed events are not for you.
Dealers need a multi-pronged approach because with so many available channels, mail alone does not work effectively in this competitive media landscape. The mail must make the customer engage and respond, that's why it's called direct mail: the consumer responds directly to the offer. If you send a legitimate, compelling offer and back it with key components such as personalized variable data, PURLs, a live call center service to capture data, and set a "live" appointment, the customer will respond. You should also include ways to make your campaign interesting, such as unique packaging and scratch-offs that conceal special offers and make the customer actually engage. That’s the difference between any digital media and direct mail (meaning ink on paper). It's tangible.
The moral of this story—Just as with your health, the first question you ask is never "How much?” but at some point it does need to be asked. Ask the price after you have all the facts, and compare everything, I mean everything. Then you will know the value of a particular product (or lack thereof) so when you make a decision to move, you are just as confident that you have done your due diligence as I was with my three titanium rods that will already be in my back by the time you read this article.
David Jeansonneis the President of Traffic Jam Events. For more information, please visit www.trafficjamevents.com or feel free to contact him personally at 866-677-3702.
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