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cover of How To Sell More Cars with Birthday cards
How To Sell More Cars with Birthday cards

How To Sell More Cars with Birthday cards


Boost customer retention & satisfaction, closing ratios, and profit margin with birthday cards for car dealers mailed to every customer in your CRM.



The most important marketing day is a customer's birthday. By making them feel important, appreciated, and loved on their birthday, you can build strong relationships and generate revenue. Create a plan to remember birthdays, send physical birthday cards, and follow up with personal messages or videos. This simple gesture can make a big impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. How to sell more cars. What is the single most important marketing day? If there's one day of the year on a calendar, this is the most important marketing day in terms of marketing, in terms of sales, in terms of the customer experience, and the relationship that you have with them. What would you say that is? You can unmute yourself and pop right in here. I want to hear what you guys think. Anybody? Black Friday. Black Friday is a huge day in almost every retail industry, even in the car business. Black Friday is huge. It's a huge marketing day because there's lots of them going out. When I was selling radio advertising, one of my biggest customers was a jewelry store. This is the oddest thing. Jewelry stores, 50 percent of their revenue occurs between Black Friday and a year. They make all their money around that Christmas period of time. That's huge, but that's not the one I'm talking about. Anybody else? I'm going to say September 30th. September 30th. Yes. Right before quarter four. Everybody's like, got to get everything in right now. Got to lock in that fourth quarter budget. You'll see here, I've got the Grinch. I've got a Grinch sitting back there because I honestly hated Christmas forever. Not necessarily hated the Christmas, but Christmas was so wrapped up when work for me with the marketing budgets, everything else. Christmas never felt like a holiday because it was all about work and getting stuff in. Fourth quarter is a huge deal. But we're talking about Dale Carnegie and I've got a quote here. I was trying to get some slides made up and I didn't get them made up in time, so I don't have this. But I've got a screen here that says, the Dale Carnegie principle that says to make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. Most of you may know Sherman Moore. Anybody raise your hand if you know Sherman Moore here in Nashville. Sherman, everybody knows Sherman. Sherman has spoken at the Nashville Associates Sales Professional. He's on my podcast. He's been around Nashville for years. He said one thing one time to me that has stuck with me for years. He said, find your people and lift them up. Find your people and lift them up. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. Find your tribe and put them on a pedestal and do whatever. Because all people, every single person, no matter who they are, no matter how important they are, no matter how big and rich and successful and all of these things they are, they want to feel appreciated and noticed. Jim jokingly said that I've coached a lot of the top salespeople in the automotive industry. I've coached a lot of them, but I've talked to every single one of them. I've got a buddy named Ollie Rita. He sells Chevrolets and Cadillacs in Dearborn, Michigan. If you don't know Michigan, Dearborn, Michigan is the home of the Ford Motor Company. Ollie Rita works at a Chevrolet dealership that backs up against the Henry Ford Motor Museum. He's in a company town, but he's working for the wrong company. But he's the number one automotive salespeople in the United States of America. He sells close to 2,000 vehicles each and every year when the average salesperson sells about 100 vehicles a year. He's outperforming the typical salesperson by 20 times. The record that he broke, he broke the Guinness Book of World Records for most automobiles sold in a year, was held by Joe Girard. Joe Girard held that record for 43 years until Ollie Rita broke it in 2018. When I interviewed Ollie Rita on my podcast, he said that the most important thing that you can offer your customer, the most important thing to them is understanding that there's never anyone anywhere more important than the person sitting right in front of you. This person, if you can make them feel important, if you can make them feel noticed, if you can make them feel loved, if you can make them feel appreciated, everything else is going to fall into place. If you've got a good product, if you can actually help, and if you can actually save them money or make them money or do whatever your promise is, if you can take that first step to make them feel important, make them feel noticed, make them feel loved, make them feel appreciated, everything else will fall into place. The one single day that I'm going to tell you that is the most important marketing day, because it is the one day that you can make everyone on your list, everyone in your database feel important, feel noticed, feel loved, feel appreciated, is their birthday, is your customer's birthday. When we're little, it's great because you're six years old, everybody wants a pony. You didn't get a pony, but you got a birthday cake, and that's the next best thing to a pony. You get a birthday cake, you go to class, and you're surrounded by all these people who know, like, and appreciate, and love you, and they're giving you cards, and the teacher points you out that it's your birthday, and you feel good. You go home with a smile. One of my favorite movie producers is John Hughes, produced all the 80s movies, Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. They had another one called 16 Candles about the girl's 16th birthday. It was the worst day of her life because everybody forgot her birthday. If you want to make it your customer's best day of their lives, I want you to remember their birthdays. Because once we get to be my age, nobody cares about your birthday. If you get a birthday card, it came from your mama or your sister, a female relative, those are the only two, a female relative is going to send you a birthday card. You might get one from your dentist. You get a little card that your dentist sent you that you see your M. Now, you're going to get inundated with emails because you're in people's CRMs. You're going to get inundated if you're on Facebook especially, but Facebook and LinkedIn, you're going to get all these messages on there. Typically, I get several hundred messages on my birthday because I have several thousand connections on Facebook, but they're all impersonal and irrelevant to my life because someone saw on Facebook, that, oh, today's Terry's birthday, and they don't even bother to say happy birthday, Terry, it's HB, that's the message I get on HB. Yes, now I feel important and loved. You took seven seconds out of your life to type HB on my Facebook wall, when Facebook just reminded you it's my birthday, and you're afraid to get it about 20 minutes later. So, what I want you to do is think about ways that you can make your customers feel important on their birthday, and I'm going to give you three ways to do that here real quick. So, three ways. Number one is you got to have a plan. Now, social media is amazing. I love social media. I love Facebook, it's the 800-pound gorilla of social media. I love LinkedIn, it's the 750-pound gorilla specifically for business people, so it works out pretty good for me. The greatest thing about both of those is they're the world's best customer relationships managers, and one of the things they do is they let me know when your birthday is. I've got a buddy named Fran Taylor, he was selling about 50 cars a month, about 600 a year, so he was doing okay when he was selling cars back in the 80s, I think he sold cars, and he's been a sales trainer since then. He has everyone that he trains to do this, he has what he calls the birthday box system. He's old school, he doesn't believe in spreadsheets, he doesn't believe in social media. He has literally a box, back in the day we called these tickler files. You had a file with every month in it, and you put who you needed to be in touch with in that month in there, so you could reach out and remind them. He has a box with 365 folders in it, and for every day of the year, there's who's birthday it is. About two weeks ahead of time, he reaches out and he sends them a card. I don't care if you're using Facebook, if you're using LinkedIn, if you have a spreadsheet or if you're going old school and you got a box or a legal pad, whatever you do, I want you to plan ahead. In order to plan ahead, you got to find out who your people are. You can't be connected with everyone, you can't send a birthday card to everyone, you can't reach everyone, but I want you to make a concerted effort to figure out who you want to be in touch with, who your people are, so that you can lift them up. Build a system or find a system that works in what you already have, there's a million ways to do it, so that you know who's got a birthday coming up, so that you're not surprised at eight o'clock on Tuesday morning when you're drinking coffee and sitting there in your bathrobe at the kitchen table, and sending everyone HB Jim, HB Wendy, HB Bob. Plan ahead so that a couple of weeks ahead of time, you can do step two, which is send someone a card. I am a huge believer in birthday cards over the last three or four or five years and specifically through the pandemic. I don't know why, but specifically through the pandemic, I always try to keep track of what my marketing success is. I do a lot of things, I talk to a lot of people, I got a lot of balls in the air, but I want to try to figure out what's actually working, what's bringing me business. Consistently, for the last handful of years, my number one generator of revenue is me sending birthday cards to people. I'm not sending them to 16-year-old girls, I'm not sending them to frivolous people. I'm not sending them to people who get all excited, and social media influencers, things like that. I work with the toughest negotiators in the history of theft negotiators, the hardest people there are to deal with, and that's car dealers. These are the people that I'm trying to make it feel important, and I send them birthday cards, and invariably, I get messages back, I get phone calls, hey, Terry, thanks for the birthday card. Hey, that reminds me, we need to get a radio spot done. Hey, Terry, thanks for the birthday card. Oh, that reminds me, we need to have you down for another sales training session. It's not generating new revenue, these are people that I have relationships with, but those are my beloved customers anyway. We spend way too much time chasing new customers, and not nearly enough time trying to keep the customers that we got. I send every single person a birthday card, every single person who's on my, I have a spreadsheet, that's how I do it, that's my plan. I have a spreadsheet that I go through, that's got everyone's birthday listed on it. Then as a matter of fact, today, August 15th, today, I'm going to go into my system, and look at the birthdays for the month of September. I'm going to go into the system, get everything set up so that I can send the birthday cards through the month of September, so that people are getting them on their birthday, which means you need to drop them in the mail, seven to eight, nine days ahead of time, depending on how slow the US Postal Service is working that particular week. But it has to be something physical. When I was teaching my daughters to read, we did this because everything fires a different neuron in the brain. If you're trying to learn a new word, trying to teach my daughter to spell cat, you look at it, there's cat. You say it out loud, you say cat. Then you write it down, you say cat. Every different action fires off different neuron connections in the brain. When you send something physical, I should have a birthday card around here somewhere. Look for a birthday card. If you're sending out happy birthday cards like this one, or a happy birthday like this one, you send out a physical card that people can look at, people can touch, people can feel. I don't have any smelly ones yet, but if you're sending out physical cards, that fires different neurons in the brain. More importantly, it goes up on the refrigerator or it goes on a pile on the desk, and you're going to be there for a long time. I was talking to a general manager last week and it wasn't a birthday card I sent him, but I sent him a card. He bought a new store. He bought a new dealership seven years ago. I was talking to him last week and the congratulations card I sent him, when he opened that new store seven years ago, has been on his bulletin board across from his desk with my name on it every single day for the last seven years. You can't buy those kind of impressions. That's always there and it's tickling a different neuron because it's always there. But like Dale Carnegie said, it's sincere. If I send him a birthday card with a 25 percent off coupon on whatever I was selling, then that's a sales pitch. But if I send someone a birthday card and I just say, happy birthday, that's me making them feel important with sincerity. Make your plan, find a way to develop your system, and then plan ahead so seven to 10 days earlier, you're dropping a physical card in the mail so that they've got it when it's on their birthday and then step three, on their birthday. On their birthday, when everyone else is just waking up and you're going through typing the happy birthday thing, take it just one step further. Take it one step further than just writing something on the wall because if anyone is socially connected, you're going to get lost in the avalanche. If you take it once, wish them birthday electronically, but instead of just writing it on Facebook, take the time to send them a message. Take the time to send them a text. My favorite thing to do is to send a personal video. Facebook has a video component of Messenger, LinkedIn has a video component of their messaging system. Well, you can go right on. I'm going to send, hang on, let me see who we got here. So Wendy's in here, we're going to send Wendy a message. This is exactly how long this takes. So there's Wendy Navarro, she popped up on my Facebook there. I can send her a message. So you didn't know today was going to be your birthday. You're not too far off, it was the 31st of July, so I'll take related birthday messages. There you go. Except for some reason, yours doesn't work because you're an influencer. That's it. You have followers and that's weird, I've never seen that. Normally, when I hit message, it pops up and there's a little button there where I can add a video, but you don't have one, I'm going to have to look into that. So let's say Dave Castro. Dave Castro's got it. All I got to do is go in, click on the message box, hit video, and just like that, I hold the button down for 20 seconds. Dave Castro, happy birthday to you, brother. I hope you have a fantastic day. Boom, hits the end. Now, he's got a video message on his birthday. I guarantee you he's not going to get another video message on his birthday. So send them something that's going to be a little more memorable than just typing HB on their friends. Love you when I sing, I have sung to people. Here's a crazy thought. This is absolutely crazy. Pick up the phone and call someone on their birthday. How wild is that? Pick up the actual phone and have an actual conversation on their birthday. Ask them how they are, ask them how they've been, ask them what's the best thing that's happened to them since the last time you talked to them. Go out of your way to make them feel important. So those are our three steps. You're going to make a plan, you're going to find your people and find a way to lift them up. Get you a spreadsheet, get you a box, get it on social media, whatever. Make a plan, send them something physically, a physical card on their birthday, and then follow up on the actual day of their birthday with a personal message, either on the messenger, a video message, or a text message. I got a buddy who sells cars in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has this thing, it's the craziest thing. He works with American Greetings. American Greetings, and I think he pays like $30 a year for this. But for $30 a year, you can go on and if it's Dave Castro's birthday, you pick an electronic card, an e-card for Dave Castro, except instead of giving a PDF or a JPEG or something, it's just a graphic, it's a video. Last year on my birthday, Mike Smith, he sent me a video message from William Shatner, Captain Kirk, saying, happy birthday, Terry. I don't know how this even happens, but it's an amazing thing for $30. For $30, I got a birthday wish from Captain Kirk. How crazy is that? So follow up with something electronic on the day of the birthday. Fran Taylor, who I was telling you about just a second ago, he sends a birthday card to everyone in the house. When he sends a birthday, when he sold a car, he would get the husband's name, the wife's name, the husband's birthday, the wife's birthday, and all the kids' birthday. He would send birthday cards to little Susie. This is a little weird, maybe we can't get away with this in today's day and age. But on Susie's birthday, he would send a birthday card to little Susie with a pony and a cake on it. Then the whole thing, on the day of the birthday, he would call them, hi, this is Fran Taylor from Bob's Auto Mart, can I speak with little Susie? He would wish little Susie a birthday. Little Susie would just get all wide-eyed and hand the phone back to her mom. Your moms always thought that was the coolest thing in the world, that he went out of the way to make the child feel important. If you make the kid feel important, you're going to make the mom feel important. If you make the mom feel important, well, checkbook's going to loosen up. So go out of your way to make them feel important, stay in touch. I'm going to do this. When I'm doing sales training, one of the things I do is I tell everyone that knowledge without action is just entertainment. So I hope I've been entertaining here for the last 10 minutes, but that's not the reason I'm here. I'm here to get you to actually take action. So we're going to take exactly one minute. One minute, everyone put yourselves on mute, and then take out your phone, go to Facebook, find somebody whose birthday it is, and then send them a message, send them a quick phone call, send them a video message if you can do it. Do something right now to find someone that you can make feel important on their birthday, and I will see you in exactly one minute. Okay. All right. I got mine in. There we go. One minute. There we go. You made someone feel important. You made someone feel appreciated. You made someone feel loved and noticed, and that's a big step along the road. Who's got some questions? Who wants to talk about this? Something to add? Hey, man, this is a great idea. It's so simple, and having us do it like that, it just puts it into muscle memory. So you've literally created a new routine for me. Yeah, thank you. That's what I had to do. You got to get those neurons to fire one way, one way, two way, three ways. You get the neurons firing different connections. And then the important thing is, the important thing is, like you said, muscle memory and what you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while. And you keep doing this one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other, making one video message after the other, until you can't not do it, until it's just ingrained. Honestly, I had one person, which is rare, it's usually more than one person a day that has a birthday. I don't know about you guys, but I only have 500 contacts in my Facebook. It's been mostly personal contacts. But anyway, so yeah, easy to make muscle memory in the next couple of days. Good stuff. Well, good deal. All right. Barry. Yes, Bethany. The current customers, I have their address, I could send a card out. But like most of my business is social media, Facebook, but I don't have a physical address. That's weird. Like I do have people come to me on Facebook like, so what's your address? I want to send you something like. So it's a little awkward, but here's another secret for you. Bashful salespeople have skinny children. So just ask. I'm not really bashful, they just might think I'm weird. Yeah, well, and so why do they think you're weird? They get a birthday card where they think you're nice. Here's the way I do it. You said you were talking about doing a lot of coffees and one-on-ones. I have a calendar link. By the way, if anyone would like to have a conversation with me, terrylancaster.com forward slash chat. You can set up a time to talk there. If you go there, you go through, you pick a time to talk, you leave a little information. One of the questions is, hey, what's your physical address? So I can send a proper thank you. Now, I don't ask for their birthday right there, but if I'm talking to them, I'm probably connected to them on LinkedIn or probably connected to them on Facebook. So I can get their actual birthday from that. But I go in and make a point to ask for their birthday. When they're filling out that thing, they're just going to, and then I've got their birthday. What happens is if you start this list, you've got this list of birthdays, then you're always on the lookout for ways to fill in, this information that you need is the birthday or their physical address. If you know that you're going to be looking for that, then you look for certain opportunities where it just falls naturally into the conversation to make the ask. So Wendy, what is Thanks? So Thanks is an online platform you can go in and you can choose from a number of different products at different price levels, whether it's a gift card or physical product, and then you send the notification to the client or the person, and they can accept that gift. Then when they accept it, then they will receive the gift. The one thing that they just answer your question on that one, have you used it? I guess I don't have the type. Yes, I have used it and it's great. Obviously, the physical aspect of the card is pretty awesome. FYI, if you guys are probably aware that there's ways that you can send a card without actually buying it yourself online. Terry, you may know that. Yeah, I use a company called Send Out Cards. That's exactly what these are. They're produced by Send Out Cards. I typed that message into my computer, I scanned that signature in so that it looked like it came from me, and then 10 days ahead of time, my robot automatically sends them a birthday card, but they don't necessarily have to know that it was my robot that did it. Yeah, so physical is awesome, but Thanks is great for the online only or sending a gift easily. People love it and you get the data that they looked at it or whatever. Right. Oh, yeah, the notifications. All right, 1228, we're about ready to wrap up. We got a couple more minutes. If anyone has anything they'd like to add, anything they'd like to talk about, Jim's reminding everyone to save the chat over there so that you know how to get in touch with each other. I certainly appreciate everyone popping in. Today is August 15th. This was our last meeting for August. The first week in September, we're not going to be meeting because it's right after Labor Day. We'll meet on the third Monday back here on Zoom. I've got a couple of really good speakers lined up. One coming out selling on government selling. I don't remember if that's the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October. But we got those and a couple of new authors that have jumped in. So we got some good speakers lined up. I appreciate you guys popping in. Please spread the word around and share the links and invite some other folks. We get a couple of dozen folks in here on a meeting. That would be fantastic. Now, Terry also posts, he recorded this, he does list it. So if there's somebody that you think would benefit from the information, please share that with them. This meeting, they can go in and see the educational content we've got and the type of people that are on these and entice them. It would act as a nice thank you or I'm thinking of you as well. Yeah. I post those in the Facebook group. If you scroll back to the very top of the chat, I put the link to the Facebook group there. All the videos from the speakers we've had for the last little while, they're in the Facebook group and they're over on YouTube. So if you actually just Google Nashville Association of Sales Professionals, several of these will pop up from the last several speakers that we've had. So 1230, and I promise you we'll be out 1230 on the dot. Unless you have something earth shattering, I'll see you next time. How to sell more cars.

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