Car sales are up an average of 22% in April compared to a year ago. It’s a welcome sign that we’re past the worst of it. I’m reminded of a situation a few years ago when an inexperienced GM was sure he could increase sales with a marketing plan that involved 2 mannequins and a doubling of the sales force.
The dealership was on a corner and had huge windows for display. I’m not sure where he found them but he placed 2 mannequins in the main window and had the receptionist who was studying fashion design sew costumes for them. You won’t believe this but it was football season so he thought French maid outfits would be appropriate. He placed these provocative little gals in positions to look like they were throwing a football back and forth. He used to talk about the mannequins too. He said he would think about them at night but I never really wanted to know why. I decided to name them Patty and Yoko mainly because one looked this Patty Hearst and the other like Yoko Ono…..when in Rome!
One day the GM said to me, “last night I was trying to figure out how we can increase sales and it came to me while I was thinking about ‘the girls’.” He said, “We have 6 sales people on the floor right now. If we hire 6 more then we will double our sales.” What kind of convoluted logic was that? He never welcomed comments on his actions so I kept quite, thinking that he would come to his senses sooner or later. However, this was a man who believed that car sales success depended on a couple of mannequins in the window.
What is your marketing plan for the next 6 months? Have you explored new ideas like Social Media marketing to grow your store’s business? While adding twice as many sales people doesn’t increase sales, wouldn’t it be cool to increase sales so that you’re forced to add more sales people? Or you can wait for the mannequin’s opinion.