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Bright Ideas

7 Steps to Key Mailer Success

Posted by Dan Rutledge on 10/24/13 9:27 AM

The Key Mailer has long been a staple of car dealer promotions, but oftentimes it gets a bum rap - “lots of phone calls and showroom traffic, but no buyers.”  However, with just a little preparation and proper execution, a key mailer can provide an infusion of energy into your staff, and a quick boost to your numbers.


Follow these best practices from dealers who routinely experience huge gains with key mailers, and you’ll become a fan of this often misunderstood promotional tool.

  1. Hold your event early in the month.  By the second half of the month, your sales staff will be busy working leads that are being generated by your advertising.  Holding your key mailer event early gives your sales staff the opportunity to devote entire days to properly working with every prospect that comes through your door or calls you up.
  2. Indulge everyonDirect Mail Campaigne’s fantasy.  Why do people buy lottery tickets?  Because it’s fun to fantasize about what you would do with the!  The same concept applies to the key mailer.  The structure of the piece strongly suggests that the recipient has a good chance of winning a brand new car....and is a lock for a nice consolation prize.  The people who come in on some level hate their car, and have been fantasizing about how they would look in the grand prize vehicle.  So, indulge their fantasy!
  3. Greet them enthusiastically.  Get the showroom buzzing every time someone enters.... like you are just waiting for the grand prize winner to walk through the door.  (After all, the winning key has been mailed to someone).
  4. DO NOT PRE-JUDGE ANYONE.  As you discuss their plans about what they are going to do with their new vehicle, use this time to learn about their current vehicle; is the payment too high, is it falling apart, etc.?  Remember, on some level they hate their current ride.  It’s part of why they were motivated to show up.
  5. Have a registration procedure.  This is official business.  They are possibly the recipients of a brand new $35,000 vehicle for free.  Plus, even if they walk today, they are drivers and if you have their contact information you have another shot at converting them when the time is right for them.
  6. Make a big deal out of the consolation prize.  Have the item readily available.  Present it with a flourish and thank them for coming in.  Take the time to provide some packaging - gift wrapping, special envelopes etc.  It enhances the feeling and they leave with less disappointment.  Plus, it sets up our final - and crucial - best practice for Key Mailer success.
  7. Ask EVERYONE the “phrase that pays”.  When they have collected their consolation prize, and the thrill is gone, THAT is the moment to put all the information you learned in the greeting phase.  Do your best Columbo impersonation and ask them....”Say Bob, if I could take that (current vehicle) off your hands and get you into something newer and nicer for about the same money you’re paying now....would you be interested?"  If they say yes, you now have a car deal working.  If they say no, you’ve made a friend and, with professional follow-up, will have an opportunity to sell them when they are ready.