A lot of dealers spend big bucks on things such as targeted ads and mailers to persuade people who are already their customers to come back through the door once they purchased a car.
But Paul Garavel knows there's an easier, cheaper and better way: It just takes a little effort, a lot of kindness and a few tchotchkes.
At his two stores in Norwalk, Conn. — Garavel Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram and Garavel Subaru, which are about 2 miles apart — customers go on what amounts to guided scavenger hunts through the dealerships as they wait to take delivery of their new vehicles.
Customers, with a small paper bag emblazoned with a dealership logo in hand, meet the leaders of each department during their hunt and receive a series of useful branded items with each interaction, including a key chain, an ice scraper and a coffee mug. Each gift is accompanied by a business card dropped in the bag.