How to use Tim Horton’s to close a test drive

Marketing for Car Dealers

This morning I received a $5 gift card in the mail from my real estate agent included in a hand written card. It has been almost a year and I will admit I had almost forgotten his name. My girlfriend was so excited when I tossed it to her on the way to work.  This really got me thinking.

Why does something so little get us so excited?? First of all, my normal routine of going through the mail involves tossing a tonne of direct mail in the garbage (start using e-marketing dealers!) then grabbing the bills.  This card did stand out as it was clearly hand-written.  I actually thought it was another wedding invitation for 2011!!!  The card was a simple thank you for the business and enjoy a coffee on me.  I will remember his name the next time someone asks me for a real estate agent.

During my 7 years in the dealership I had came up with something like this myself for test drive follow ups.  I used this tactic when the consumer was going to be shopping at several dealerships and I knew I had a 2 day window before they made a decision.  You can buy simple Thank You cards at Staples for next to nothing and the envelope resembles a Wedding Invitation.  The dealership was kind enough to foot the bill for the stamps (50 cents a piece).  Since I had photocopied the license for the test drive I had the customers mailing address and would immediately hand write a Thank You card.  My chicken scratch wowed enough customers for me to keep the Thank You Card assault going strong for years.  After getting the Tim’s card in the mail I realized I may have been forgetting something.

If your dealership will buy in here is how you do it:

The Tim Hortons Test Drive Follow up Attack:

  • Photocopy of Drivers License
  • Fill out hand written Thank You card
  • Insert $5 Tim Hortons Card
  • Insert Business Card
  • Place Stamp on top left corner
  • Include it in dealers outgoing mail

Even the super closers have to let the customer walk from time to time.  Please trust me on this, I did not have one customer ever tell me they received a Thank You card from any other dealer.  The average car sales persons follow up is so brutal you will blow their socks off!

By Ryan Thompson:

Ryan ThompsonRyan is the Canadian Account Manager for CarChat 24, and also the founder of The Dealer Geek a site to provide the basics for “America North” aka Canada.  Follow his 2 twitter handles : @ryan_carchat and @thedealergeek

General Manager at Ernie Dean Chevrolet Buick GMC in Alliston, ON. Sharing with you everything I can about the car business.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “How to use Tim Horton’s to close a test drive

  1. Hi Ryan,

    Great technique and article. I have been using this concept for several years but with a tool that sends handwritten cards and gifts with very little effort.

    I use a followup system that prints, stuffs and mails greeting cards and gifts in my handwriting to all my customers and prospects.

    Check out my site at and send a couple of free cards.

Comments are closed.