We know that all dealerships are not created equal when it comes to helping consumers with subprime credit. Most dealers don’t have the lenders, inventory or knowledge to help these customers.
We all know that, every day, subprime consumers walk into the wrong dealership and are told they have bad credit and cannot be helped. They don’t wear a sign when entering a dealership announcing their credit situation so, often, they land on the wrong car — one that’s too expensive or unfinanceable for them. They end up leaving the dealership feeling dejected. Sure that they’ll hear the same thing from other dealers, their search for a vehicle ends right there.
If you are a dealership with the right lenders, inventory and the ability to help subprime consumers, however, you can offer these customers another option. You will have the ability of knowing when every subprime consumer in your market has their credit bureau report pulled by a competitor, bank or lender for the purposes of automobile financing.
This is called a “trigger” program because once the consumer has their credit bureau report pulled, it creates a trigger notification that this consumer is in the market now. Every morning, a fresh list of these shoppers becomes available. This is one of the most targeted lists available — and the response rates prove it. As most people know, you are lucky to get a 1 percent response from any traditional mail campaign. It’s common to see response rates from 4 percent to 7 percent from a properly run trigger program.
Many of these consumers also have phone numbers not on the national “do not call” list. That means you or a professional call center can contact these customers the day after they shopped. When they receive a call notifying them that they have been prequalified for automobile financing at a dealership near them, they will most likely think that you don’t know they were turned down somewhere else, and will happily listen to your offer. They are also easier to work with upon arrival at the dealership. Unlike their last visit to a dealership, you can work the deal the correct way the first time.
Another key is the mail goes out every day. You can’t wait and mail these consumers weekly or monthly. These are some of the most valuable prospects, so it is important to send out a high-quality mail piece, with the correct message and first-class postage with a live stamp.
When setting up a trigger program, make sure you select the correct criteria that fits your lenders and inventory. You can choose FICO score; age; income; open, filed or discharged bankruptcies; no repos in the last 12 months, etc. You can even choose customers who have not financed a vehicle in the last 18 months, which helps prevent people from being upside down in their financing. It’s great to have a high response, but you want financeable customers, as well.
Now that you know how this valuable program works, it’s time to pull the trigger and capitalize on the extra revenue this program will generate for you. For free tips for “Making Trigger Leads Work,” email me at the address above.