By Bob Clements | Posted in Best Practices | www.rurallifestyledealer.com Almost every dealership, regardless of the products you sell or services you offer, historically has a slow time of year. As we travel the country working with dealers, we have seen all sorts of great ideas come alive as they work to keep their businesses afloat during the slow season and start the year in the black. One great way to keep a dealership busy (and profitable) during the slow season is the effective use of winter service specials. So, what is a winter service special and how do you make it worth your time & money? Simply put, winter service specials are advertised events designed to bring work into your service department during the time of year that is typically slow. While this might vary a bit region to region, for most dealers this time is typically during the winter. A winter service special will normally be for a specific item at a packaged price. This accomplishes two goals. One, your customers can get their equipment ready for next season before the rush and, two, you have steady work coming into your shop. We have had dealers across the country try this a few different ways, but it typically works best if you send out postcards about the special to everyone in your database who has purchased from you in the last 5 years. About a week after sending out the mailer, have your parts people begin making follow up calls to each person you sent a postcard to. Their job is to simply see if the customer received the postcard and if the customer has any questions. It’s as simple as that. It’s important to keep in mind that your parts people can only make a limited number of calls per day; so, balance the number of cards you send out each week with the number of calls your parts people can effectively make the following week. Your goal is to have the card in the hands of your customer a few days before the parts person makes the call.