By and large most dealers and managers have come to understand it’s not the big that will eat the small but the fast that will eat the slow. We all know the faster we can get a car on the lot and online the more we increase our odds of making a respectable profit.
Dealers are using various systems such as buckets, vAuto pricing and my life cycle management process to stay focused on changing pricing and turn. Never in the history of the automobile business has turn been more important.
If you are dealing with timelines and you are committed to 60 days or less (which you should be) then any days in the cycle in which the unit is not available for sale is a real killer.
The question often comes up "When does the meter actually start?" Does it start with the acquisition, the day you own it, or does it start when the car goes on the lot/online?
Let me make this as clear as I possibly can…It starts the moment you own it. Period. No exceptions, no what ifs, no buts…
The two issues that often come up are the delay in getting vehicles from auction sites and those units we can’t sell for legal reasons such as we don’t have the title as required by law in some states.
Sorry…it still starts when you own the car. You are working with a depreciating asset. If your asset is going down in value then you have to price your vehicle based upon that fact. To do anything else is a shell game.
10 Things To Help You Win The Meter Game:
1. If you are in a state where there are title issues there has to be a clear line of communication with the office on a minute by minute basis to alert you when the title arrives. Any break down in communication is costing you money.
2. It’s a fact that you are having to go further out of your area to buy cars at auctions, but you have to be selective and know what the timeline is that you are dealing with. Anything you can do to reduce transportation days the better. You might even want to consider paying the trucker a bonus for fast delivery.
3. How hard are you trying to buy cars in your own market? Do you have a procedure set up so that when someone comes in and wants to sell you a car that you give them the full routine with a written appraisal? Does your website have a self appraisal link so the customer can get real numbers from you quickly. Are you tied into Trade-In Marketplace?
4. Mine your customer base. For sure, you know which cars you always do well with. Often they are right under your nose hiding within your CRM. Vin Solutions has some great tools for finding those vehicles and giving you a chance to buy the car, trade the car or ultimately sell the owner a new car.
5. I mentioned Trade-In Marketplace in number 3. Are you using it? Maybe you looked at it when it was first introduced and passed on it. The kinks are out and dealers are learning how to take full advantage of this amazing tool. Let me suggest you re-visit the idea. When you combine vAuto’s Provision stocking tool with Trade-In Marketplace you will know what to stock, what you should pay for it and which auctions have it. That’s strong as "goat’s breath."
6. How about a unique and separate website that drives the customer to your website to sell you their car? I saw this one in the Tampa market a few months ago: "SellYourCarToUs.Com." It belongs to a very nice used car operation over in Orlando, FL. It’s imperative that when they land on your site that there be an easy, one click button to get them to a self-appraisal. Check it out. You will be impressed.
7. If you’re in a market with CarMax consider promoting that if the customer brings their CarMax appraisal to you within 7 days of the appraisal, that you will give them more for their car than CarMax or give them $100 cash if you can’t beat CarMax’s offer. What do you have to lose? Suppose you buy 10 extra cars this month and also pay out $1000 in loser fees. Do ‘da math, what did you make on the 10 extra cars?
8. Increase your odds of success and efficiency when buying online by using Auction Genius. This may well be one of the biggest game changes in the history of the car business. Take a look at this 2 minute video. CLICK HERE
9. Fix your service and recon issues. I know it sounds like I’m picking on service a lot and that’s not my intent. I just know in most dealerships it’s the same old, same old. How many total days are being wasted from the time the car is acquired until the time it gets on the lot and online? In today’s age of speed you have to find every day that you can if you’re gonna win the "meter game."
10. Make sure you include in your "save-a-deal" meeting every morning a list of all vehicles that are either in transit or tied up due to title issues. The more you pick up the intensity on these units the faster things will happen.
When does the meter start? When you own it.
What can you do to improve it? Re-read 1 thru 10.