Drive One For Your School

We have been doing Drive One for Your School events for nine years. You might say, why is this your best idea? Everyone knows about these events. I agree but let me explain to you how Langdale Ford makes it different. High school football is huge in our community. We have two big high schools that have a rivalry that has been going on for 60 plus years. The game is called the "Winnersville Classic". As a matter of fact, Valdosta, GA. was named by ESPN several years back as "Title Town USA!! We could not choose one high school so we got Ford's permission to partner with both schools. Ford pays for 300 test drives. Most dealerships stop at this point and let Ford fund the $6000. We chose not to limit the test drives. The first year we did a little over 300 test drives. We said wow in a seven-hour period we just had 500 people come through our showroom and a good portion of those folks have never been behind the wheel of one of our products. Most dealerships host the event at the school. We host ours at the dealership because there are two schools involved. More importantly these folks are on our turf and hopefully they will allow us to assist them with their automotive needs in the future. Not only new sales but preowned sales, service, Quick Lane, and collision work. It is a WIN WIN for us. In August of 2017 we did 1000 test drives with over 2000 people (including family members) came through our showroom in one day. We fund anything over the 300 test drives that Ford funds. This is a really neat way to get folks behind the wheel of our amazing Ford products and into our dealership. Let me explain how it works for us….

The Saturday before the big game we host our Drive One event at our dealership. We create a friendly competition between the two schools. When a customer comes into the dealership they either request to drive one for Lowndes or Valdosta. (These are the two schools.) The customer takes a 2-mile designated test drive. We hire twenty-five sorority girls from our local University to ride with these folks. Our thought process is we want it to be low pressure and a fun experience. Remember a lot of these folks do not currently drive Ford products. Upon their arrival, back at the dealership if a customer request more information then we pair them with one of our staff. We always sell several vehicles on this day but more importantly it has a residual affect for the rest of the year. In our case we have chosen the two band programs to be the recipient of the funds. This is a huge portion of their budget each year.  Both band directors over time have elected to allow the students to earn the money for their respective accounts. We have had students earn $500 in one day. This pays for their trips, band fees, uniforms, ect… It has allowed many students in our area to participate in school activities that otherwise would not be able to. The best part is we present the checks right before the national anthem on the night of the big game. With both bands on the field (700 kids strong) and 14,000-15,000 fans in the stands. It is incredible publicity for our dealership.

I know we have a unique situation in our community but most every community has some kind of rivalry. My challenge to you if you are not already participating in these events look deep within your community and see if there is a way to create your own unique event. Either Drive One for Your School or Drive One for Your Community. It has definitely been beneficial to Langdale Ford.   
                                        Mark Howell

; ;