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Attract More Qualified Subprime Customers with Direct Mail

Attracting the right sub-prime consumers can make a world of difference when it comes to running a car dealership. Given today’s lackluster economy and job market, that is truer now than ever. Without reaching out to and getting responses from people with less-than-perfect credit, the odds of getting ahead are slim to none. Of the many ways to generate viable leads and prospects, direct mail marketing is among the most effective.

Zero in on Viable Sub-Prime Prospects

To be effective, direct mail marketing must be geared toward a specific demographic. Therefore, the first step in the process is identifying local consumers who have sub-prime credit. This can be achieved by effectively using demographic information, which is readily available from a variety of sources. You can always pull the data yourself, but it is easier and more effective to have it included in whatever direct mail marketing service you choose. With the right list of prospects in place, your direct mail marketing efforts will be off to a great start.

Get Inside Your Target Subprime Customer’s Head

When creating a piece of direct mail for marketing purposes, you need to get inside your ideal customer’s head. This is much easier said than done. What kinds of things will prompt a sub-prime buyer to open a piece of mail? Odds are you have little or no idea. Why should you? You run an auto dealership; you are not a marketing guru.

By investing in effective direct mail marketing services, you can leave this crucial step to the professionals. They know that certain things increase response rates significantly. For instance, allowing an embossed, plastic card to peek out of the window of an envelope brings to mind credit cards, which many sub-prime consumers do not qualify for. The idea that they might be approved for a line of credit to buy a new car is often enough to get them to do the most important thing of all: open the letter and read it.

Drum Up New Business with First-Rate Mail Marketing

Why stuff envelopes full of letters and marketing pieces that are written in a hit-or-miss fashion? By opting for professional mail marketing services, you are far more likely to enjoy a considerable return on your investment. Indeed, professionally created pieces result in 2 to 10 times as many responses. Imagine what that could mean for your business! To get ahead, sign up for these services as soon as possible.


Undeniable Value of Trigger Mail

If your marketing efforts fail to capture the right prospects at the right time, trigger mail may be the solution you need. If you are not using targeted mailing lists, you are missing out on the opportunity to reach interested buyers promptly.

Capitalize on opportunities to pique the interest of prospects already primed for purchasing. Our targeted mailing lists are generated when potential customers apply for credit. Our active shopper program enables your business to present consumers with the best options for their current buying needs.

Recipients receive trigger mail of the highest quality. Window envelopes filled with first-class letters and attractive cards embossed with prospects’ names stand out among the nondescript, random offerings cluttering most mailboxes. Targeted mailing lists supply names and contact information when a prospect’s credit inquiry triggers an offer. Unlike most trigger mail programs, which only use one credit bureau, Credit Mail Experts works with multiple bureaus to give you the highest return on your investment.


Our trigger mail provides your prospective customers with two response options. Prospects from our targeted mailing lists can use the toll-free number to contact our call center or respond via our secure website. Also, our call center reps contact each prospect by phone. We comply with FCRA Do Not Call list restrictions.

You will receive hot leads via e-mail within seconds of receipt of the application. We also work with most CRM systems. With an average response rate of over 10 percent, you can expect plenty of leads from our targeted mailing lists. Few trigger mail programs provide such a high rate of return. If you have ever been concerned that your prospect does not actually receive the mailings you are paying for, rest easy; we can provide proof of each piece of trigger mail.

At Credit Mail Experts, we take care of the legwork, so you do not have to. You and your staff can focus on what you do best while we provide targeted mailing lists, contact prospects via two reliable methods and send your company hot leads immediately. Count on us for industry-leading trigger mail and follow-up techniques that result in some of the highest response rates around.

Simple Methods to Increasing Appointments

According to most experts and sources, you will set appointments with 50% of your leads, 50% of those appointments will show, and you will deliver a vehicle to 50% of those that show for their appointment. Given that, if you start with 100 leads, you will set 50 appointments, 25 of those will show, and you will deliver 12.5 vehicles. If you raise the appointments set by 10% to a 60% ratio, 50% or 30 show, and you sell 50% or 15 vehicles, you go from 12.5 to 15 vehicles delivered or an increase of 20%. These simple methods to increasing appointments can help you accomplish this 10% jump, however? It is easier than you might think.

You should first make a list of the questions most frequently asked by your customers during the appointment setting process. Next, you need to prepare answers that are effective at overcoming the objection. When answering the question, state that you understand their question. Then you should let the customer know that they are not alone in asking that exact question to make them feel comfortable. Now, answer the question and again try to set the appointment. Here’s an example:

Question: What will my interest rate be?

  • Bad Answer: Well, your credit is not so good, so you will probably pay around 22%.
  • Good Answer: That is a question I hear a lot. I understand your concern about interest rates, like most of our other customers. As you probably know, interest rates vary between new cars and used cars. Our Finance Managers are the best in the industry at finding the lowest interest rates possible for each of our customers. We also have a special computer program that will match each customer with the best finance source to achieve the lowest rate available. You will not find this combination of systems at most dealerships, only here at Johnson Ford. You are going to love the way this system works. Can you come in this evening or would tomorrow morning be better?

Are your people using good answers or bad answers? As you can see, with the good answer we have overcome the objection and most likely caused the customer to get excited that they contacted the right dealership that has a system to find the best interest rate. There’s a good chance this customer accepted the appointment and came into the dealership. If they come into the store, there’s at least a 50% chance of making the sale. If they do not come to the store, the chance of a sale is zero.

  • Here is a short list of other questions you may want to add to your list:
  • How much will I need as a down payment?
  • What will my monthly payment be?
  • I do not want to drive that far to buy a vehicle.
  • Will I need a co-signer?
  • I want to refinance my current vehicle.
  • I cannot come in this week.

That should get you started with your own list of questions. Once you have all of the answers prepared, make sure that everyone involved in the appointment setting process can respond to each question without hesitation. The best way to do that is by role playing.

By the way, if you really get good at overcoming objections you may also increase your appointment-to-show ratio. If you increase your lead-to-appointment ratio by 10% and your appointment-to-show ratio by 10%, you will increase sales by 44%. That is not an increase to scoff at!

Working the Lead: Days 1 through 120

You pay good money for the leads you purchase. It does not matter if they come from direct mail, the Internet, television, radio, newspaper, or any other source. Unfortunately, most of the leads many dealerships receive get worked once and then tossed in a pile, never to be touched again, whether it is just one lead or 100 leads .I hope this is not the case at your store, but if it is, you need to read on.

This process is the one taken by David Basha, the owner of Carriage Nissan and Carriage Mitsubishi in Gainesville, GA. It is the most comprehensive and thorough working of leads I have found after 20 years in the industry.

Day 1 – The lead is sent directly to the appointment setter, either a salesman or the BDC. They immediately call the prospect to make the first attempt at setting an in-store appointment. We all know that you do not get through to 100% of the leads on the first attempt. The lead does not go into the “dead” file until personal contact is made and disposition (interested or not interested) can be made.

Knowing that hot leads must be contacted immediately, his team sends the first letter the same day. This letter acknowledges the prospect’s information has been received and this dealership seriously wants their business. It covers the basics of financing options and inventory selection.

Day 7 – If an in-store appointment has not been set and kept, letter #2 is sent out. This letter covers the reasons the dealership and the prospect may not have been able to get together yet and offers new and compelling reasons to call for an appointment today.

Day 14 – Most dealerships have long forgotten about this lead by now, and most prospects have started shopping elsewhere. But not David, because he and his team are just getting started working these leads. It is time for letter #3, which reminds the prospect that Carriage wants their business and even has a special gift waiting for them at the dealership. Not relying on just a gift, the letter also reminds the prospect why Carriage is the right dealership to help with their credit situation.

Day 30 – Letter #4 goes out on this day with an urgent message that now is the time to make that purchase. Special financing options and new inventory selection are discussed.

Day 60 – It is time for letter #5 to hit the mail. This letter offers a free oil change while the prospect is weighing the opportunity to explore options for replacing that vehicle.

Day 90 – You guessed it; it is time for letter #6. Fear of rejection is the main reason why people ignore offers of help for this long. In this letter, the dealership explains how easy the credit interview appointment is in an attempt to remove that fear.

Day 120 – Letter #7 offers the prospect automotive financing and the opportunity to get a nationally accepted credit card. The dealership again stresses that they want the prospect’s business and are willing to work for it.

Now that is how to work every lead to the fullest extent! At the end of each month, they take one more shot at the leads that they weren’t able to reach. In one month, that stack included 180 leads. From that she was able to set 20 additional appointments. If half of those 20 people keep their appointment and Carriage can deliver vehicles to half of those that keep their appointment, they will deliver 5 additional cars.

It’s time to stop allowing your leads to become orphans. Go for it and make more money.

Please contact us at or visit us at if you would like free copies of the letters mentioned in this article

One Huge Thing Your Management Team is Probably Doing Wrong

Your total package marketing program is not just about the advertising you use to generate the leads. It truly is anything and everything to do with a prospect and customer interaction that helps get these individuals through the sales process. Marketing is defined as the total sum of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling. You see, you can have the best advertising in the world, but if you do not have a great marketing plan, you will not sell many vehicles. All managers involvement is key to the success of the sale.

At most dealerships, the customer starts with a salesperson and is turned over to a manager or closer if needed. The manager has no relationship with the customer when it is time to help with a close. This makes it more difficult to ask the customer for more money down, longer terms, or higher payments.

With the Reverse T-O (Reverse Turn-Over), the process becomes much smoother, and the likelihood of a sale is greatly increased. The goal is to have the customer interact with the managers early and often. All appointments are set with one of the managers. If a salesperson finds a walk-in on the lot, the prospect is introduced to a manager as early as possible. The manager then explains the sales process to the prospect and makes them feel comfortable with the dealership. The manager asks the prospect to allow the salesperson to take a credit application. This gives them the opportunity to know what they are dealing with early in the game. ( See the article on improving sales )

When it comes time to finalize the deal, the managers can easily step back in to help with the close. This final step is made much easier since the customer is already comfortable with the manager. The final result is a much higher percentage of vehicles delivered to appointments and walk-in traffic.

The Reverse T-O not only improves sales by giving your sales team tangible support through each and every sale but also increases customer satisfaction as you handle each and every sale with a personal touch. This can boost future sales as well since your referral program is only as strong as your last happy customer!