Archive for February, 2008

King Ghidorah: Three-Headed Monster

February 19, 2008


Talk about solid, I put a custom BK mailer together for one of my Chevy stores, and it blew the doors off the joint!  A sickening 4.24% response rate put a huge smile on the dealer’s face, and put about half his pre-owned inventory on the road.  Usually, this dealer rolls 25-30 per 5,000 dropped, but my BK mailer flattened him out this time.  I mean, they literally ran him over.  Such a stampede makes me feel good about my work, mainly because most mail is crowned heavyweight champion if it pulls more than 1% – I’m bringing 2-3% in my sleep.

Oh well, this BK mailer gave me an idea.  How would you feel if I synthesized the best of all three worlds?  Remember King Ghidorah, the three-headed monster from Godzilla?  See picture above (the one behing Mothra).  Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Taking my world class credit card shell with the plastic card enclosed;
  • Rolling in the CRM with 24/7 IVR, appointment setting, and premium lead forwarding;
  • Sending this beast to a BK list, not just any BK list – to my secret VIP list.

OK, the card by itself gets 2-3% response all day long as you already know.  Because of the 24/7 IVR, none of the leads are lost, rather, converted into real appointments at a very high percentage.  But the kicker is sending it to this VIP BK list that is dripping with ugly!  Yuck, it’s nasty!  I’d be willing to guess that this monstrosity would pull 3.5% if it tanked.  But with tax refunds in customer bank accounts, decent pre-owned inventory, and an F&I team that didn’t work at MacDonald’s last year, you know – real, authentic carfolk, grosses should be up; four-pounders at least.

What do you think?  Should I bust out with something like this?  I would call it the King Gidorah promo just for fun.  I’d probably sell it for about $6,500 or so.  What I’d do is put a retail price of $8,500 or so, and just let ‘em go like pigeons at $6,500.  ROI would be sick.  Probably looking at grossing at least $100k min.  What is that, 1500% ROI?  That’s disgusting.  I’m probably not charging enough.  Maybe $10k or so.  I don’t know, it’s just a thought. 

Anyhow, take a look at the new video I posted today.  It’s Jay Leno at the NADA Convention last week.  Be warned, it’s pretty raw, not for everyone.  Remember, his audience was the car business, not the local PTA.  So watch with caution and make sure your computer speakers are at low volume, and frequently check over your shoulder.  There’s a funny Obama/Clinton/Michael Jackson joke that sets the tone in the beginning.  Enjoy!

Because Sometimes: Timing Is Everything!

February 18, 2008
Trapeze Acrobats 

Sometimes, the slightest error can result in disaster.  Look at the picture above.  If the female acrobat left the platform too early, she would not have been within reach for the male acrobat to grab.  If she didn’t carefully gauge the swing-pace of the male acrobat and skillfully perform her timed jump with precision, her only hope would be the safety net, if one at all.

In the automotive sales industry, marketing strategies should be developed for, and executed at, the right time.  This isn’t a novel idea, just a healthy reminder that in many cases, auto dealers don’t have the luxury of an acrobat’s safety net.  Sometimes, all that awaits a plummeting descent caused by a simple timing error is the concrete – ouch.

So you may ask, “John Greenleaf, why are you telling me this?”

We have to put our ears to the ground and listen very carefully to the soft vibrations too minor to be detected by the Richter scale.  From our masterful, super-intelligent observation, we can be tipped-off to developing trends not visible to the naked eye and accurately predict which marketing product will be best-suited and most importantly, most effective. 

Here’s some secret insider information: We have valid reasons to believe that in the next 30-45 days, there will be an immense amount of direct mail of the “saturation” ilk.  These are going to be a blitz of “leaders” that will be designed to generate a large volume of “anybody” traffic.  “Anybody” traffic simply means that since the mail will be sent to anybody, anybody will respond.  Whenever this happens, “anybody” shows up, “anybody” test-drives, “anybody” fills out a credit application, and “anybody” is approved.

Wait, that doesn’t follow – “anybody” is approved?  If you follow the chain of logic from the first anybody to the last, there is a critical break in the continuity, affecting the most important aspect of the car deal: does the buyer even qualify?  Strike one: a logical fallacy.  Why?  The “anybody” mailing list has no bearing on whether or not “anybody” can buy – or qualify for financing in this case.  This is normal and acknowledged whenever the “let’s just see what we get” approach is taken with saturation mailers.

Back to the acrobats. 

How does this trivial nonsense help?  You, the dealer, are hanging upside down swinging back and forth on a trapeze.  Me, the highly-skilled, superb direct-marketer, is cautiously perched on the platform waiting for the right time to jump.  Since my platform is located at the center of thousands of swinging dealers, there are many directions in which I can jump.  I am about to take the leap, not of blind faith but an anchored faith based on fact.  What I have been waiting for are the right conditions because from where I am, timing is everything.  Hmm, where have I heard that before?

What I see is a multitude of prospects that desire to purchase but do not qualify and have been turned down at other dealerships.  But since I have connections with lenders that are set-up to finance other banks declines, I am confident that the time to jump is a few split-seconds away.  All I need is a hand signal from swinging dealers, motioning to me that if I jump, I’ll be caught.  The title of this post is “Because Sometimes: Timing Is Everything.”  The reason I included “sometimes” is because sometimes, trust is everything.  What you need is someone you can trust, and so do I.  Let’s do this, let’s both check our Rolodex’s and count how many trustworthy trapeze partners we know.  I’ll go first, I’ll contact mine and then you contact yours.  Wouldn’t that be a strange coincidence if we both contacted each other?

Gotta make some calls.  Later!

Like Gang Busters

February 1, 2008

Gang Busters 1

Within less than a full month of business days in the New Year, the two direct mail programs that we have focused on has gone off “like Gang Busters.”  But what does “like Gang Busters” mean?

Gang Busters 2

History: Gang Busters was originally a radio program said to be “the only national program that brings you authentic police case histories.”  It premiered as “G-Men,” and was sponsored by Chevrolet on July 20, 1935.

On January 15, 1936, the title of the show was changed to “Gang Busters,” and had a strong run for 21 years until November 20, 1957.

Gang Busters 3

But how does that tie in to Hill Marketing Group’s strong 2008 start?

When the show aired on radio, the broadcast began with loud and blaring sound effects such as loud sirens, guns firing, and screeching tires.  This intrusive introduction led to the popular catch phrase and title of this blog entry “came on like Gang Busters!”

Just like the loud and blaring introduction of the old time radio show, we have all of a sudden exploded onto the scene as the direct mail company that is making lots of noise – coming on like Gang Busters!

Here’s what I’m hearing so far.  Dealers call me and pay me a one-time fee to do a mailer for them.  I get everything lined up; dealer does virtually nothing.  Within a relatively short period of time, the dealer begins to get a sudden surge of auto buyers all traced back to my mailer.  Dealer has access to a website that records and stores all of the incoming calls to the toll-free number that I assign to each campaign.  From the website, Dealers can see for themselves that the mailer I dropped is performing at an astronomical rate.  Dealers sit back and watch their staff roll high-grossing deal after high-grossing deal, laughing all the way to the bank!  This is the car business, and it’s alive and kicking!  If you know John Greenleaf, that is.

I guess dealers are dropping matches and setting fires during 20 group meetings or something, because I’m getting referrals every day from happy dealers and establishing new relationships with dealers that I’ve never even talked to.  In fact, I just got a call from a dealer who got my name and number from another dealer who heard from another dealer that I did a 5000 piece MasterCard mailer that got a 3.46% response.  The referred dealer immediately jumped on board and I’m dropping a mailer for him next Wednesday.  The dealer that referred the other dealer is also going to do one for the end of February, and the first dealer that referred the dealer that referred the “next Wednesday” dealer is re-signing for a 15000 piece MasterCard mailer that he depends on to make his February one to remember!

Man, I’m pumped-up!  But as I mentioned earlier in this post, two programs were in focus, not just the MasterCard.  For some really strange and odd reason, I’ve been getting requests for the Live-Check mailer.  I have no idea why.  We aren’t pitching it, nor are we even depending on it for anything.  As many of you may remember, the Live-Check was our bread and butter product about three years ago up until about a year ago.  But all of a sudden, with hardly any marketing effort at all, it has mysteriously resurrected itself and is literally flying off the shelf.  BTW, if anyone wants in on the Live-Check mailer, just contact me, and I’ll get one going for you in time to roll lots of February metal.  It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, and most importantly – extremely effective.  We have many speculative theories as top why this sudden spike in interest for the Live-Check mailer has emerged, but we’re not big on speculation since it doesn’t deal with certainty, only probability, and we prefer certainty!

I hope my last post on the sales training was helpful.  Feel free to use it in any way you can, except in bars.  Imagine: “If I were to buy you a drink, and if we got to know each other over the next couple of hours, and if we discovered that we were a match made in heaven, would you come home with me – tonight?”  You’d probably get smacked up-side the head, or popped in the nose by her husband.  So, rather than taking the risk, stick to applying it in the showroom, not the bar.

Well, gotta sign off now.  I have a few conference calls to handle before I bail outta here in a few hours.  Have a GREAT weekend!  L8.


P.S. to listen to classic episodes of “Gang Busters” click here.  Enjoy!

Gang Busters 4