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Throughout The Car Industry

Your New Car is Now Boarding

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On: Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 11:34AM | By: Karen Cook

Your New Car is Now Boarding

So, you see a commercial for a hot new car or you see one in your neighbor’s driveway and you think, “Man, I’d like to drive one of those!” You aren’t in the market for a new vehicle, but your interest is piqued and you call the dealership to see if you can drive one. Or maybe you are looking to trade your old car for a newer model and you schedule an appointment to test out something snazzy. Then the enthusiasm wanes and you don’t show up, or you forget you had an appointment at all. This is a problem for dealerships across the nation. “No shows” cost sales and are generally disappointing for sales personnel.

Robert Karbaum works for the Weins dealerships in Canada which sell Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, Audi, and Hyundai vehicles. He had an idea to cut down on the number of potential customers who don’t make it in for their test drives. It’s called an “Appointment Boarding Pass” and it’s working.

When an interested party makes an appointment for a test drive the boarding pass is sent to his or her smartphone within minutes of the call, either by email or via text. The pass looks like a regular boarding pass and states that the “booking is confirmed”. It also contains other necessary and convenient information such as the date and time of the “reservation”, the salesperson’s name, a Google Map locator for the dealerships with directions, and the phone number and email of the dealership in case the appointment needs to be changed.

Karbaum tried the new idea at the Don Valley North dealerships which had a high number of “no-shows”. Only about 36% of test drive appointments were kept. Within a month of the boarding pass system, 68% of the people showed up for their test drives. The pass makes the “reservation” seem more formal, thus, more important, than a simple phone exchange. Since about 50% of the people who test drive a car end up buying, this meant significant increases in sales for the dealership.

The program is now being used at all Weins dealerships with similar success. The 16-step process is available online at appointmentboardingpass.com and is free to set up.


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