Seven Mistakes We Make

Dealers all over the country have a big push on buying cars from the public.

Many are spending thousands of dollars on advertising, marketing and software in an effort to find more and better cars at their front door.

Some have even hired an “Equity Specialist” who has a full time presence in the service department and customer lounge in order to solicit customers with an offer of, “Would you like us to appraise your car for you?”

Some dealers have even started an “exchange program” offering the customer a new or newer car for the same payment that they currently have.

It’s all a waste of time. Yes, it’s a waste of time if you haven’t put meaningful processes in place that are customer friendly and effective for you and your team.

Seven Mistakes:

Mistake #1: The tendency when someone says, “Yes I’d like my car appraised,” is to drop them off at the used car manager’s desk and leave. The person making contact with the customer needs to remain the contact. Though somewhat modified, there needs to be a “full routine” presentation by the contact person to each and every customer that says yes.

Mistake #2: Most dealerships only want to buy what they know they can retail. If the program is going to be effective you have to be willing to buy anything from a stone piece of junk to a very expensive luxury car. CarMax has built the reputation that they will buy anything. Bring it to us and get a number. That should be your mantra.

Mistake #3: You try to steal it. What are you thinking? Get real. Get the unit. You will pay far more for it at the auction than you will at your own front door. Step up. Don’t be stupid. You need to own that unit.

Mistake #4: Giving verbal or handwritten appraisal quotes. Whatever you hand the customer needs to be computer generated in the most professional manner possible. The quote should be good for a minimum of 7 days.

Mistake #5: Not paying the sales person or contact person based on the acquisition. If you want staff members to give the “full routine” then you need to pay them just as if they sold a car. The full routine might actually inspire the seller to buy a car from you today or months down the road. Think about how much more efficient and cost effective it is when you can buy a car at the front door. The savings on the auction fees and transportation cost alone make it more than worthwhile for you to pay a reasonable commission.

Mistake #6: Someone hands the customer the appraisal and says, “Just let us know what you want to do.” The manager and the contact person need to do a complete review/presentation of the appraisal, answer questions and ask for the business.

Mistake #7: No one follows up with the customer. There should be a system in place to follow up within 24 hours, 1 week, etc. even if it means upping the ante $500 or so to acquire the car. There’s an old and very useful saying in the car business, “Follow them till they buy or die.” That saying applies to you buying their car as well.

Eliminate these 7 mistakes and you won’t be wasting your time, energy and money. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs