I’m Samuel Marcus and, after I married Serena in New York City, she and I immediately moved to Chicago to start our married life away from both mine and her parents. I had an office in downtown Chicago, and my wife and I lived in an apartment in a northern suburb of Chicago.
I have previously told you of my good fortune in obtaining that 20-year marketing contract with a local mattress store and also a tie-in placement commission with a hotel chain.
Thinking creativity wise each time I am engaged in an activity, I recently put together a marketing deal for my consulting firm following a chance encounter in purchasing an automobile. Success usually entails having an expensive car and that is why I bought a Lexus.
Having done my homework on the internet I knew that the average profit on such a car was about three or four thousand dollars per auto sold. That being a fairly large amount of profit, I wondered what it would take to make me want to come back to that same dealership the next time I was in need of a Lexus.
I went to my office one day and concocted a marketing plan. Then I went out to the owner of the dealership, explained my marketing plan, and Mr. Michaels, the owner, quickly agreed to a contract with me that will pay me $100 for each auto sold for the next 20 years. With the mattress contract and this auto contract, Serena and I will have a large income for the next 20 years. Again, as in the mattress contract, I will access to all sales invoices and sales tax returns to verify the number of Lexus cars sold.
So what was the master plan that I sold Mr. Michaels on? The first thing was that every purchaser of a new Lexus was to receive a one-night stay at a local hotel. Oh, yes, with this deal I again set up a commission for my company on this arrangement.
In addition, I had Mr. Michaels offer free car washes in a separate building on Saturdays until 1p.m. The waiting room for the car wash, however, was in the main showroom in a large area where those waiting were able to partake of a free breakfast each and every Saturday whether they came in for a car wash or just came by for the free breakfast. The breakfast table was overloaded with lox, bagels, cream cheese, sweet rolls, coffee, tea, milk, fruit juices, and other goodies. There was a server who would pour the drinks and clean up afterwards as each guest left.
Of course, there were also two or maybe more sales associates in there extolling the virtues of the new Lexus cars and discussing with the visitors whether it might be time to trade in their vehicles. No hustling by these sales associates; they just stood around making conversation with the people stuffing their faces.
In addition I had Mr. Michaels join a national organization that gave him the opportunity to purchase advertising specialties at a low price. So every Saturday those who came in for breakfast or a car wash were presented with a gift.
These gifts included items such as a rubber jar opener imprinted with the car dealership’s name and telephone number. The next week there might be a key chain, again with all of the dealership info on it, and then another time it might be a fountain pen, or a small flashlight, a coin holder, a coffee cup, or many other items.
Everyone who came in each week for the free car wash was also given a lottery ticket to win a prize for the drawing held midweek and announced the following Saturday. The winners received prizes such as two tickets to a Cubs or Sox baseball game. There were also tickets to the local theaters and free dinners for two (liquor not included) to fine dining restaurants.
You may think that all of this cut into the net profits of the dealership but remember the rule of a happy restaurant customer. That restaurant customer if satisfied and happy with his or her dining experience is not just a one-time profit experience for the owner of the restaurant but is a potential 10-year customer because of the good service and fine dining experience.
So it is with a customer who purchases a Lexus from Mr. Michaels’ dealership. That customer will be coming back again and again for many years to at least give Mr. Michaels the chance to sell that customer another Lexus.
© 2017 Albert Zimbler
Albert Zimbler is a 92-year-old author of six humor short story books on Amazon of which MORE DATING AND MATING SECRETS OF SENIORS AND OTHER HUMOR SHORT STORIES is the latest. He also teaches senior improv.