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Christopher Ferris

Christopher Ferris CEO

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"Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war ..." Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene 1 (William Shakespeare)

"The Dogs of War" was a classic action film that starred Christopher Walken as the leader of a band of mercenaries (dogs of war) tasked with assisting in the overthrow of the government of a (mythical) African country named Zangara. The movie was actually filmed in Belize and is well worth watching, especially if one admires Mr. Walken's acting skills. What does all of this have to do with car sales, you ask?

Daisy Duke and Emmie Lou (shown in the photo above) are automotive sales professionals extraordinaire! These two fantastic female mountain cur / boxer mixes came to the Ferris family courtesy of West Tennessee Animal Rescue. Mrs. Ferris and I picked them up while attending the March 2007 Digital Dealer conference held in Nashville, Tennessee. Daisy Duke and Emmie Lou really like Dealer Communications President Mike Roscoe, since Mike convinced me to attend that specific conference! He is definitely responsible for their current cushy lifestyle in the Granite State!

Soon after their arrival at our home, Daisy Duke and Emmie Lou graced my previous employer's (GM dealer) website. Customer reaction was immediate, overwhelming and continuous. Hmmm. We were onto something. And it was something good. Many phone, e-mail and in person inquiries centered around the dogs. Customers who inquired about Daisy Duke and Emmie Lou could not wait to tell us about their own pets. And so, it began. We learned quickly to take notice of our customers' devotion to their pets and to make use of such relationships to build rapport.

Here's a brief hit list of how to use your own "dogs of (car) war" to increase gross profit and CSI:

Talk to your customers about their pets. Talk to your customers about your pets. Compare photos. Share stories.

Show genuine affection for your customers' pets. Sales consultants and managers, service advisors and managers: remember your customers' pets' breeds and names. I am serious. Customers will be astounded and will love you in return. Service advisors: please take note of pets being moved out of customers' vehicles during walk arounds and write ups. The customers will be glad you did. Trust me, so will you, when the final R.O. has been written.

Stock your service waiting area and your receptionists' desks with canine and feline snacks and with bowls full of clean water. Keep a few extra dog leashes handy. Keep a few small plastic shovels and many plastic bags handy for hoo hah patrol. (Hey, we're in the car business. We take hoo hah every day and smile. So, we can shovel it, too, as needed, and still smile.)

Grace your website's staff page with a canine and a feline mascot. Create an accurate biography for each animal and make sure that your mascots actually hang around the dealership for visitors to see, appreciate and spoil. The customers and mascots will love it. Mascots love to jump in on a T.O. at every opportunity.

Hire a mobile pet washing service to come in once per month to conduct complimentary pet "recons" for service customers having major work done and for customers taking delivery of recently bought new or used vehicles. To avoid having a pet "war of the worlds" occur in your service drive, you can schedule separate "recon" days for cats and dogs.

One need only watch a few episodes of Cesar Millan's "The Dog Whisperer" or "Dogtown USA" to understand that the same Americans who love their cars, trucks and SUVs love their cats and dogs even more. What's beautiful is that these beloved cats and dogs oftentimes ride around in their customers' vehicles and are just waiting to be welcomed at a dealership. Or not. The choice is yours.

Daisy Duke and Emmie Lou love to snooze as the rays of the sun warm their bodies. The gross profit that they dream about is yours for the taking. All you have to do is let loose the dogs of (car) war on line, in your showroom and in your service waiting area. And the cats, too. Your dealer principal will thank you for being pet smart, indeed, when he reviews the monthly statement.

 Christopher Ferris   c 603.233.8759   ferriscc@comcast.net

 www.drivingsales.com/blog/chrisferris

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