It’s Not All That Complicated

The most misunderstood topic I discuss in my workshops are SETS & SUBSETS. If you’re anti SETS & SUBSETS you might want to read just a bit further.

I will be the first to agree SETS and SUBSETS are not for everybody. They are especially not for you if you haven’t solved a lot of your other used car issues.

I’m not going to try to sell you on SETS & SUBSETS, but I do want to show you that first, it’s not all that complicated and second, it’s something you’ve done with success in the past in one way or another.

SETS & SUBSETS are all about setting up a price leader to drive traffic to the store.

What’s so bad about that? Don’t you do that right now? I have to believe that in one way or another you do it with your new car business, so why not do it with used?

The lead or number 1 car is the most important car in the SET. You can do SETS in 2, 3, 4, or 5 car SETS. Experience has taught me that going deeper than 5 just confuses the issue and makes it much more difficult to manage.

If you had 5 similar cars and you wanted to advertise them as a group (you did this back in the program car days), wouldn’t it make sense to advertise the least desirable of the 5 as a price leader in hopes of driving traffic to the other 4, or better yet, to your store?

The lead car is simply the least nice of the group. Make it safe, but don’t make it too pretty. This is not about bait and switch. It’s about the customers transferring themselves to another car in the SET or to one out on the perimeter.

The key to SETS is picking the right lead car. It needs to be desirable in the “public’s mind,” and most important is that it should be the latest model you can find for that SET.

Two of the biggest mistakes that dealers make are trying to make a profit on the lead car and picking too nice of a car to be the lead.

The lead car is a “loss leader.” More often than not the car that dealers pick to be a lead is really a number 2 car. A 2 car is a profit maker and one that you’ve fully reconditioned, so you would want to make sure you haven’t made it the lead.

If you want SETS to work, you have to advertise your lead car at what you have in it or less. If you try to make a profit on the lead car the traffic probably isn’t going to show up. The sole purpose of the lead car is to drive traffic to the dealership.

When done correctly one of three things will happen:

1. The customer shows up and buys the lead car.

2. The customers transfer themselves to the 2, 3, 4 or 5 car.

3. The customers buy something out on the perimeter.

The key is that the customers showed up on your lot today and you have a chance to sell them something.

So, there it is. SETS described in its simplest form. It’s not all that complicated or any great trickery with the consumer. You’re just advertising a price leader and giving the customers some other choices when they show up.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs