Customer Appreciation Gifts

Lauren Moses
What is your take on customer appreciation gifts? We have recently received some customer gifts from a company to look over (and possible purchase), but the most inexpensive one (2 nice but still cheap key rings) is almost $5 each for 500. Do you see a good response from things like this or do they just end up being more junk that gets tossed?
Dustin Lyons
I have a key ring that is branded from a manufacturer, and it never makes me think of sharing the vehicle experience with others. I drive the car almost every day which is a much bigger reminder than the a key ring would ever be, and not once has the key ring ever inspired me to recommend the brand to someone else (driving the car does though). So I wouldn't waste your money on these kinds of things unless you have so much extra that you don't know what to do with it and don't care about ROI. But I would highly recommend doing things that will get your dealership and your sales people in front of people, like Facebook delivery photos, and salesperson Youtube videos. Offer a gift like a dinner gift certificate to customers who are willing to share pictures, videos, and recommendations on Facebook rather than a key chain that they may or may not ever use and the only person to ever see it is someone who has already purchased from you.
Grant Gooley
My opinion would depend on the brand. Some brands have "swag" (hats, shirts, mugs, sweaters) that are a collectors item because of the longevity of brand awareness. That being said, if I bought a Chevy, getting a Chevrolet branded hat would be cool. If I bought a Kia... Im not sure i'd wear the hat. So.. maybe USB sticks and a mouse pad with a logo on them ($5 wholesale). Decide on your demographic and choose something that would actually be useful to the customer.
Robert Karbaum
Perceived value. Something that looks a lot more expensive than it is. If it looks cheap, it will have less impact. Also, look what other industries are doing. Remember when EVERYONE was giving away cloth bags? Actually now that I think about it I am going to go throw out the pile of them I have in my basement.
Lauren Moses
Dustin, would the gift certificates to customer for recommendations now count as like the "bird dog" fee? As far as I have heard, we can't offer anyoe something for referrals and to me that would be walking a very fine line. Grant, yes, I have thought about that. But that means getting them from GM since we are GMC and Buick. (it would most likely just be GMC) and then it's not things that we would really use. We did recieve a very neat back up power charge stick from the salesman (i keep it in my purse), but they are upwards of almost $12 for $1000. And don't know how much ROI we would see from something like that. Robert. Yes, I wanted to stick with something that not everyone does. I see one dealership that we have in the area that for whatever reason has a salesman who is doing all the right things but in the wrong ways and it drives me nuts. SO I don't want to be doing the same things that they are doing (or atleast do them, but in the right way). And don't toss them, donate! Or better yet, save them and fill them with goodies for a community women's shelter, or orphange and get other business to donate to fill them.
mark rask
I agree with Dustin

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