Categories
Retail Car Lot Wholesale Lot

Don’t Make Assumptions About Anyone, They All Deserve the Best From You.

“A man is great by deeds, not by birth.”  Chanakya −290BC

It was my first week working at my dad’s used car lot and I was 15 years old. It was the late 70’s and things were a little different. My father did not think twice about letting me drive one of his used cars to the corner to get coffee for him, without a license. We did not consider it unusual to spray paint cars in a wooden garage without a mask. It was an innocent time. Jimmy Carter was president, interest rates were 20% and being in the car business was hard.

don't prejudgeWe had just immigrated to the USA from Ireland and my dad started a small used car lot on a shoe string. Immigrants are the original “boot strappers,” because they usually cannot borrow money, yet they possess a ridiculous work ethic. To say we barely had a “pot-to-piss-in” was an understatement. I was the middle child of six and my parents had spent all of their money on a home and that used car lot.

You are thinking, “what has all of this to do with making assumptions?” well the answer is, everything. Because in that predicament I should not have assumed anything about anyone, but that is precisely what I did.

At the side of the garage, my father had a small camper that he used for his office. We were sitting in the “office” one early afternoon having lunch, when a man pulled into our lot driving a very old and rusted Chevrolet Pickup. My dad said, “Kevin, why don’t you go out and meet that man, lets see if you can sell him a car?”

I was horrified. At the time, I had never sold a car, I had never talked to a customer. My first reaction was to come up with any excuse in order to hide my inexperience.

“Dad, he can never buy a car, look at how he is dressed!” I said as we both looked out at the man, who was now opening the door of one of our used trucks. “He could never afford that.” The man was dressed in greasy coveralls with one shoulder strap missing, a torn and unwashed grey t-shirt and old steal toe boots with the metal exposed in the front from years of ware.

Without a word, my dad was on his feet, in ten long strides he was at the mans side shaking hands and smiling. Within minutes the hood of the truck was open and the man was looking at the motor. Every once in a while my dad would look back at me smirking. After the third look from him, I finished my lunch and went out to help.

My dad introduced me and then introduced the man. It turned out that he had just left his job site where his was building a strip mall. The man was so pleased with the progress from his construction crew, that he decided to buy his foreman a replacement truck. It was the foreman’s rusty truck he was driving. The man standing next to me was one of the wealthiest  commercial builders in Buffalo, but to my presumptuous young eye, he was poorer than us.

Years later, I still teach this lesson on assumption in my workshops and one-on-ones, because a common mistake of young inexperienced sales people, is the error of prejudgement. Even if a person is dressed poorly, has bad credit, and appears to be only shopping rather than buying, they should not be ignored. Every customer deserves your best efforts.

One of my earliest trainers was Grant Cardone, he discussed the 100% rule and I used it for the rest of my life. It goes something like this: Give 100% effort, sell the customer 100% of the time. Even if you don’t succeed that day, give 100% effort in getting the customer to come back.

Later when I became a finance manager I practiced the 100% approved rule. No matter what their credit rating I was always able to get the customer approved. If they were attempting to buy a $10,000 car, and the bank said no, I would repeatedly call the bank and ask how much money down it would take to get the person approved. In almost every situation, I was given 100% approval. In some cases they asked for $6000 down, but I learned it was better for the relationship with the customer never to say no, to always give hope. In the future that customer will remember how hard you worked for them, even when it seemed impossible to gain approval, and it will be you they return to when their credit score has improved or they have saved enough money to make a purchase.

I could talk about treating customers fairly and not making assumptions for hours, but for the sake of time, try this: Look into their eyes, not their cloths. In other words, treat everyone with utmost respect and they will buy from you like you are a natural.

Even after my father died, the man from the used car lot and his family still buy from me. I have lost count of the number we have collectively sold them over the years. He was my first customer and my first lesson in sales, which has forever shaped the way I sell for the better. You never know who a person is or when their situation may improve, someone with a poor credit score today, may be wealthy enough to buy a Mercedes tomorrow. Put prejudgments aside, and always give 100% effort.

Categories
Retail Car Lot

Top 10 ways to Improve the Car Buying Experience.

Make the Car Buying Experience a WOW Moment for Your Customer

From the get go, consider the customer experience. Even when setting an appointment, explain the process, in other words let them know what to expect when you get together. If they are coming to you, make sure they know where to go exactly, not just the address, but direction inside the building as to where you are.

top ten car buying tipsMake yourself distinguishable: When the customer arrives, chances are they will be met by another salesperson and their is a good chance the customer will not remember your name. One trick I used was to have a big plant in my office, so when I set the appointment, I just told them to go to the office with be giant plant. Another example; I had a salesperson that worked for me named Dorothy, she used to tell customers to “Follow the yellow brick road”. When customers arrived they would ask for the yellow brick road and the greater would point right at Dorothy’s office. Even items of clothing are valuable, my dad for example wore a three piece suit for years, he would tell customers to “look for the Irish guy who looks like he’s going to a wedding.”

Have the car ready. I cannot stress this enough.  Pull the demo vehicle up front and make sure it has gas. Again, a feeling of urgency is the mission, you want them to know they matter.

Know their name: When a customer arrives, have their name ready. Write it down if you have to. I put their info in my CRM and have it loaded on my phone, this way it is at my finger tips and I can add info as I collect it.

Make eye contact: This sounds so basic, but I cannot tell you how many salespeople look around as they speak to customers. Look them in the eye and you ask questions, split your time between all parties. If they have kids, introduce yourself to them too, and ask them questions periodicity.

Ask questions early on that illicid shopping answers:  “What would you like to accomplish today?” or “Consider me your shoppers assistant, how can I help?”

Have toys for kids to play with: I have a small box filled with brand new matchbox cars (99 cents on Amazon) even pink ones for the girls. I also have coloring books and crayons (again 99 cents) that I give the kids to play with. I also have 2 older Nintendo DS’s that I got on eBay for 50 bucks with Mario cart loaded. This will keep a child occupied for hours and make the shopping process a WOW for your customers.

Coke for a Car BuyerHave quality beverages available. A good cup of coffee is one of the best ways to relax a customer, spend some money on a higher quality coffee machine. I like the Keurig because it allows the customer to select and brew their perfect blend.
Also have cold water, Cokes and lemonade. There is something homey about offering a ice cold glass of lemonade. In the condo sales area at Disney they have a full ice-cream bar, again make them feel comfortable. Serve coffee in a high quality paper bio-degradable cup.

Make sure the bathroom at your business is immaculate, and stocked with supplies like diapers, paper towels and even disposable toothbrushes. Hand sanitizer and mouth wash pump with small cups are also a wow.

You get the idea, small touches make all the difference, I once sold a car because I noticed that my customer child has a bug bite, so I offered the mom bug cream and a Band-Aid. Her smile was priceless. Little things like that wow customers and get them to talk about you with their friends. Result: You get referrals and the keep coming back. Don’t forget to friend them on Facebook the same day.

Categories
Retail Car Lot

How to Find Customer’s Who Want to Buy Your Car

It is Job One For Managers and Car Sales People to Build Their Customer Base

My father used to say,

“if you are not looking for customers they will never find you.”

As it turns out, customers are all around, at stores, restaurants, and shopping malls.

How to find car buyers:

  • Finding-car-buyers-smiling-girl-getting-carCall orphaned customers: Sales people leave dealerships all the time and in many cases their customers (orphan owners) are left without any contact for months. I love working with orphan customers because they can be a rich source of future growth for business and a great place to get referrals. I believe one should call and make introductions, verify email addresses, and let the customer know that a message will be sent with coupons and specials. Send them quarterly specials and bird dog referral reminders (see below).
  • Bird Dog Referral Bonus: If you find yourself with a plethora of previous customers it is always a good idea to have a bird dog fee. The phrase “bird dog” means, refer a customer and I will pay a finders fee. It is a good idea to double bird-dog fees for a couple of weeks per year, as an additional incentive and an excuse to call the customer base.
  • Be the Fastest to Help: One of the most important wow factors with customers is urgency. Always be the first at the door, quickest to answer the phone and fastest to answer an email.
    In other words while other salespeople are having their first cup of coffee, watch the entry points for your business. This applies to business owners as well. Do you have a plan for each of the entry points to your company?

    • Who’s watching the front door? If possible move your office near it. As customers enter, look up, smile approach slowly and greet them. Ask them “What would you like to accomplish today?”
      While at the Apple store the other day they asked a simple non-threatening question: “What’s going on?” I like it because it is simple and open ended. If I ran a service business, “What’s going on?” would be my opening question too.
    • Always answer sales calls on the first ring. Become the switchboard operator’s friend. Bring them morning coffee; let them know when you arrive and when you are leaving.  Make sure they have your Google Voice number (mentioned below) which enables your calls to be transferred, making all of your phones ring at once, so that you never miss a potential customer.
    • Who’s checking leads and general email? Get good at responding fast and informatively. Set up auto responders for your email system. Make sure the leads are also coming to your smart phone. After the initial email, get the customer on the phone fast so you can schedule an appointment.
  • Hit up your friends and family. Make sure all your friends know what you do. There is nothing worse than finding out your friend bought a car somewhere else.
  • Use Facebook, Google+ and linked-in to sell yourself. Become the expert in the topic on the items you sell. Example: if you sell cars, write about safety features. If you are a wedding planner, tweet about top wedding designs.
    • Make sure your contact info is online and easily accessible.
    • Become “the deal guy or gal” with the best product knowledge.
    • Keep posts public and business professional.
    • Invite followers to buy something every 50 or so posts. Any more than that and it will come off as a sales pitch.
  • Get a Google phone number that rings all your phones at once. This one is so basic, but so important. Go to www.google.com/voice and sign up. Once created, be sure to list all all of your phone numbers, using the google voice number as your main number so that the customer can always reach you. If a customer is ready to call, you are ready to answer.
Categories
Car Auction Retail Car Lot Wholesale Lot

How to Sell a Car with an Accident Showing on Carfax™

Carfax Accident Report

“I Just Ran the Carfax™ and it Shows an Accident, What Should I Do?”

Selling a car that has been in an accident can be challenging. If you are selling a car that is showing an accident on a Carfax or some other vehicle history report the first thing you should do is have your service department or body shop look over the car.

Carfax Accident ReportAre All Accidents Reported on Carfax?

Today most accidents are reported automatically by the police that reported to the scene and by the repair shops and insurance companies. It is by no means foolproof though, as many accidents are settled by the victim to keep it off the record.

Spotting Accidents:

Some accidents are harder to spot by just looking over the outside of the vehicle, you may need to put the car up on a lift to see any of the repairs. Accidents can vary from minor paintwork on one panel to full frame repairs. Carfax and other history report do there best to inform the public as much as they can about an accident but at the end of the day they can only report the information they receive.

Can You tell How Severe the Accident Is by Reading the Carfax?

No. In fact many times even a minor fender bender is reported as a full accident. That is why we recommend a full inspection.

How Do I Fix a Carfax?

From time to time you may need to ask Carfax for a data correction if the information showing is incorrect, that can take a few days but it’s good to be able to fix things before you offer a car for sale. It’s not hard to send in a data correction request to Carfax. You just go to http://support.carfax.com/c_datarequest  to get started then just follow the steps.

Best Practices:

1. Do everything you can to find out about the damage shown on the CarFax and once found be sure the repair has been preformed well. Knowing where the work was done or getting a copy of the repair estimate to show your buyer, will help build the customers confidence in the car.

2. If you are using a storybook to build value in your cars this is a good place to keep that information.

3. Always remember to offer the customer the opportunity to take the car to a third party mechanic or someone they trust to look the car over. This really shows that you stand behind every car you sell. It also gives your sales team the confidence to talk openly about cars with accidents.

Exotic Car Crash Accident Carfax)Do I Need to Adjust the Price when the Carfax™ Shows an Accident?

Pricing cars that have been in an accident can be tricky. It’s important to take the previous repair in to consideration when pricing cars for retail. Just as that same accident will affect a customer’s trade-in value it will influence the retail price you can ask.


Are High End Cars Effected Differently when the Carfax™ is Bad?

Keep in mind that some makes and models can be influenced greater by accidents like BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Having accidents on higher priced highline cars can affect their values by thousands of dollars  Buyers today have the same information that sellers have on what’s for sale in the market. Asking over market value for a car with an accident history will make it much harder for seller to move that car.

Offering cars for sale with accidents can be done without struggles if you are upfront with the buyer and offer to show a history report before they ask. Building value early is critical to making a buyer feel comfortable and will make the transaction go much smoother.   But even before that make sure you don’t offer cars that you’re not comfortable selling.

Categories
Car Auction Retail Car Lot Wholesale Lot

Tips for Buying Cheap Used Cars

Car sold

Buying cheap used cars is a battleground, every used car dealer in your town is your buying competition. Thats why we put together this short list of buying ideas.

As you Travel, Keep Your Eyes Pealed for Cheap Used Cars

I know this is basic, but it still amazes me how many bargains I can buy on the ride home. Watch out for cars sitting in parking lots and driveways that are being advertised for sale. Pull in and call the number right away. Don’t wait to get to the dealership because in this highly competitive market, the car will be gone by then especially if it is priced right.

Notice Stagnant Cars In Driveways

If you drive by a house and see the same car in the same weird spot for weeks, consider knocking on the door and asking if they would be willing to sell the car. I have bought many cheap used cars that way, and usually at a significant lower price. If no one is home, write a note on the back of your business card, asking them if they would call.

Ask Your Family to be on the Look Out.

Let your relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and neighbors know that you are looking to buy cheap used cars. Ask them to keep their eyes open for cars with “For Sale” signs in the window. Offer a finders fee of $50 for every cheap used car you buy. Its a lot cheaper than auction fees.

craigslist missing photoA Great Place to Find Cheap Used Cars is Craig’s List.

I gravitate toward ads that also have photographs, but so does everyone else, so the computation maybe fierce.

As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I say “A missing picture is going to be a bargain.”
Kevin Leigh, Dealer Simplified
Kevin Leigh

The non tech savvy individuals will put their cars online without photos and descriptions. You may have to make more calls and send more email’s but the result can be very rewarding.

Shop eBay during superbowlShop on an online auction website like eBay.

The trick is to find cheap used cars locally and poorly presented. Just like on Craig’s list, if there are no photos or only short descriptions they may get lower bids. Another trick is to look for auctions that end at odd times for the location of the car. A car listed late at night can be cheaper, but ones that end at the crack of dawn are usually an absolute steal.

One final used car auction trick is to shop auctions during major sports events or when major show are on TV. This lowers the number of people following the auction. It is amazing how cheep you can buy cars during the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup.
Kevin Leigh, Dealer Simplified
Kevin Leigh
Categories
Business Development Retail Car Lot

44 Questions to Ask Before Buying A CRM

I have compiled a list of question to ask before buying a CRM. Comment below to add any I have missed. 

  • How fast does support answer the phone?
  • What is you typical support response time?
  • Does each of our locations get a dedicated (non sales) rep?
  • How does the CRM work with e-leads and Internet inquiries?
  • Is the CRM certified with my brand?
  • Will I be able to import my contacts from Outlook or Excel?
  • Will I be able to import my contacts from my Gmail?
  • Will I be able to keep meeting notes in the CRM?
  • Will AutoRaptor integrate with my current DMS (Dealer Management System)?
  • crm-must-be-useful-usable-valuable
  • Will I be able to attach documents, scanned business cards and contracts to contacts in CRM?
  • Will I be able to access my contacts on an iPhone or Android phone?
  • Will I be able to set a follow-up task after I enter a note?
  • Will I be able to keep track of the last time I talked to someone?
  • Will I be able to import contacts from my Mac address book?
  • Will I be able to get task reminders via email/SMS on my cell?
  • Will I be able to access my contacts if I’m in someone else’s office?
  • Will I be able to keep important emails in the  CRM?
  • Will I be able to easily export contacts, notes, and emails from the CRM?
  • Will I be able to attach a signed contract directly to a contact?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to remind me of a client’s birthday?
  • Will I be able to store all my contact’s contact info in the CRM?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM together with my co-workers?
  • Will I be able to see a map of where a contact is located?
  • Will I be able to see a list of everyone I know with a single area code?
  • Will I be able to tag a group of contacts so I can easily find them later?
  • Will I be able to keep some tasks to myself and share others with everyone?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to keep track of conversations with vendors?
  • Will I be able to forward important emails directly to the CRM?
  • Will I be able to set a reminder to call someone back in 30 days?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM on a Mac? A PC?  An iPad?
  • Will I be able to keep some contacts private so only I can see them?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to remember who I talked to last week?
  • Will I be able to comment on a co-worker’s conversation notes? And collaborate.
  • Will I be able to categorize my tasks, emails to send, calls to make?
  • Will I be able to store background and biographical info on each contact? And link them with others like spouse coworker etc.
  • Will I be able to see a list of all the CEOs I know in a town?
  • Will I be able to use the CRM to remind me of someone’s anniversary? Yea and any other memorable date you would like to remember.
  • Will I be able to find out what time it is in a different time zone?
  • Will I be able to see a list of all the people within a company we’ve talked with?.
  • Will I be able to keep related notes together in one place in CRM?
  • Will I be able to integrate CRM with mailchimp.com services? It was the first thing we built into our CRM.
  • Will I be able to capture data from a web form and send it to the CRM?
  • Will I be able to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel any time? Yes and you can export your data at any time as well.
  • Will I love the CRM?
Categories
Business Development Retail Car Lot

Do Your Salespeople Know Their Inventory?

Have you ever had a customer leave your showroom without buying a car? Of course you have. It happens every day at dealerships all over the country. We know that not everyone shopping is ready to buy today and some customers can even wait months or even a year before they make their buying decision. While some of the reasons customers don’t buy are out of your control, some may have bumps on their credit, others owe more on their trade than it’s worth or maybe you just don’t have the car that fits their needs. Or do you?

If you have customers leaving over selection you may need to ask yourself, do the salespeople know the inventory? It may be time to start training on it and if you are asking how to get that done I would suggest running a used car bullpen. Getting your team in front of the cars they need to sell will help you pick up sales and stop customers from leaving over selection.

So what is a bullpen and how does it work. A bullpen is no more than taking your fresh trades, off lease or auction cars and showing them to your sales team in an organized meeting, before you offer them up for sale. Now that’s the short answer, so lets talk about what makes up a bullpen. Well, the first thing you are going to need are some cars. The next thing you need are your salespeople. This one can be tricky, some of the team, and you know who I mean will think it’s a waste of time. Others will show up just because you told them to and some will get engaged and participate in the exercise. You will have to show them why this is a best practice in todays industry and what it will do for them. Once you have buy in from your team its time to set up your bullpen.

Here are a few tips to pull off a great bullpen.

Start by running the bullpen first thing in the morning, and I would have them twice a week. You want to keep them somewhat short, maybe 4 to 5 minutes per car and depending on the size of your store anywhere from 5 to 10 cars per meeting.

Picking the cars you are going to talk about doesn’t have to be hard. The sales managers should be reviewing all the fresh cars everyday. Using an inventory stock sheet will help to weed out the cars that you can’t sell (Bad cars or junk cars) and whatever is left goes in to your bullpen.

After you have picked the cars for the bullpen put together as much information about each car that you can. If you use pricing software print out the market data and what you think you can sell them for. Make sure you have a history report about the cars and any service that has been done to the them. This is good if the vehicle was a trade or lease turn in. It’s always a good idea to have the salesperson that took the car in on trade to tell the team about it and the customer. Having a good story goes a long way when it comes to selling used cars.

Organizing and running the bullpen can be done by a few different people.  Having the used car manager or an inventory manager run the bullpen makes the most sense. However having anyone on the manager team will work. It is essential to have as much interaction from all the managers on the team to show how important the bullpen is. As well as having the veteran salespeople’s participation will help make the most out of the time. You may even want to invite your service manager to join in, this will give service an idea on how much work may be coming their way. Plus having a service opinion on the cars may help you from putting problem cars on your lot saving you money down the road.

Remember you can stock your lot with all types of cars, but if the salespeople don’t know what’s out there your inventory will sit like boat anchors.

Categories
Dealer Software Retail Car Lot

Top 10 Reasons you need an Easy CRM

how-to-use-the-easy-crm“Do I need a CRM?” is the most common question we hear. First let me ask these questions; do you want a system to help you convert leads into customers? Do you want a system to help you retain your existing customers so they buy from you again? Do you want to have your customers send you referrals?

The Easy CRM (shameless plug) is the perfect match for small businesses, ranging from 1 to 1,200 employees that need to turn leads into customers for life. There is no need to install software on a computer, no need to spend hours studying a manual, it’s easy to use and secure.

10. Uncluttered focus

A great CRM will integrate emails, tasks and calendars into one easily maintained and managed place. You’ll learn things about your business you never knew before. You’ll become organized at storing things in a central location and before long you’ll bring all the pieces together.

An easy CRM system will allow you to focus on customers and sales actions.

What group of leads, customers or businesses should you be focusing on?
What is my shortlist of VIP’s?
What is my next action that will focus me on what needs to be done?
What broadcast activity or call campaign should I be doing, morning, noon and night?

9. Small business CRM is focused on sales activity.

Using a dynamic list of “Next Actions” for every prospect or customer, will help in a natural way, move prospects and customers through the sales funnel towards a sale. “Next Action” style CRM encourages upfront sales decisions with a clear and simple way of seeing sales targets.

8. A great CRM will create peer pressure.

Once your CRM is fully operational, the team will start to see who is using it well and who is succeeding on their tasks. It is like a built in older brother that constantly reminds you how well you are doing compared to the rest of the team. It’s never fun to feel like you’re going at it alone. Peer pressure is a great motivator and spending time focusing on the poor performers can increase your capacity and help you grow your company. You can stage friendly inter-office competitions to see who can close the most deals, sell the most dollars, or carry on the most conversations. Bottom line — Competition helps business.

CRM-notification-bitching-betty7. CRM Becomes Your “Bitching Betty”

Probably one of the most important advantages of a great CRM is how it tells you what to do, and when. CRM is like a great sales coach that keeps you on top of your game by reminding you endlessly and without remorse. It’s like the autopilot on an aircraft that warns the pilot to “Pull up, Pull up” when the plane is too close to the ground. A great CRM will tell you to call, email, write and when your customers needs your attention. Pilots call the voice “Bitching Betty” but would never want to live without that layer of protection in their lives. Why would you want to live without a CRM?

6. Never lose your data

If you use a Rolodex, memo books and paper calendars for tracking your customers then the odds are high that you are going to lose them at some point. If you store everything on your laptop or cell phone? Remember, they can be stolen. But with a web-based CRM you effectively protect your data from being lost. Of course, servers can crash and hard drives fail but with the proper web host and data backups you’ll never lose your customers. A responsible secure and well maintained on-line CRM like the EASY CRM (another shameless plug for our awesome software) will allow you to back up locally, take your customers with you if you leave and know that your data is secure in the cloud.

5. CRM is like a Crystal Ball

Everyone wants to know the future. If only there was a way to know what to expect. A great CRM helps you with that. Now of course a CRM cannot predict the future with 100% accuracy (it’s not really a crystal ball), but a good CRM can give you a reasonable expectation of the future based on past performances and past events.

4. CRMemory, Let your CRM be Your Second Brain

A CRM will help you not only keep track of every task and every event but also relate them to the appropriate customer or lead. A great customer relations system can help keep all those conversations in one place and make it easy for you to quickly look back in time and see how things have progressed.

3. With CRM You Become a Customer Service Superhero

Have you ever gone to a party and wished you could remember everyones name? Even if you are awesome with names, have you ever wished you could remember the last time you called that person, or if their birthday was close. CRM helps you remember all the important details, their last product of interest, their children’s names, and even when NOT to call them. Because you don’t want to be so annoying that they don’t answer your call.

2. CRM Email Campaigns.

One of the things CRM does extremely well is identify which leads and customers you should be emailing. With a great CRM you will have at your fingertips well written templates that you can use to send to your clients, leads etc. Some will tell you that email is dead, but we find that well written and mobile friendly personal messages that happen to be sent by email are very effective.

Help Key1. CRM Becomes Your Selling Assistant.

With a CRM you can store and manage hundreds of clients and let a computer ‘Assistant’ handle the task of memory and recall. Take advantage of the CRM and use it for your personal success. Then your personal growth is never held back by your memory. Lets face it you probably don’t know where your car keys are right now, so how do you expect to know who to call or who’s birthday it is?

One final thought: a great CRM will allow you to access your information from anywhere in the world where you can get internet access. It will allow you to have full access to everything from your cell phone, smart phone, tablet, iPad, PC or MAC.

Categories
Defining Car Speak Retail Car Lot

Define SRP

What is a SRP?

The Term; “SRP” stands for Search Results Page, a relatively new term in the industry. In the past, before the internet, all you had to worry about was how the front on your lot looked, did you open the hoods and blow up those balloons. Today, drive by traffic is still important, but if you truly want to grow your used car lot, you need to have a real understanding of SRP’s

SRP’s are how many times your car shows up in a search. Example on Autotrader, or even on Auction Simplified when you are trying to wholesale the car, your car must show up in searches results pages or it will never sell on-line. 
Kevin Leigh, Dealer Simplified
Kevin Leigh

Automotive SRP Yes or NoCars Not Showing On SRP’s:

When I speak to inventory managers at dealer groups, I tell them this: “If it does not show, it’ll never go.” And that is not too far from the truth. In the internet search dominated market, if your cars are priced to high or worse yet, you take to much time to get them online, they may as well be sent right to auction because they will age out.

Dave Kaiser our co-founder, wrote a great article about a pricing strategy he deployed at a large dealer group in Buffalo. In this article he talks about price changes at specific times to get the most possible SRP’s while retaining gross. [article on used car pricing]

The Main Question if you Want SRP’s:

The main question you should be asking is:  “Are my cars showing on page one of a search on cars.com autotrader.com etc, when the customer searches.” If not…. It should be a three alarm fire for your used car manager and inventory manager. Fix the problem quickly your your car will age.

One parting comment, even if the car is priced right, you still must have photos a great description and above all the equipment listed. I mean every time. Having missing photos in this day and age is a sin. Listing a car on line without a price is the cardinal sin. I have found only one exception to listing a car with no price; when you want the car to be bid on, using a tool like Car Auction Widget (available from us) but even then you need a starting price for it to be found on the SRP

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What is the ACV – Actual Cash Value?

Used Car ACV

Understanding A.C.V

The “ACV” is the “Actual Cash Value” the dealer places on the  vehicle purchased either at auction or as a trade in. This simply means the car dealer could liquidate the vehicle for that amount. In other words, if dealer chooses not sell the customer’s trade-in as one of their pre-owned cars, they could wholesale it to another dealer and receive that cash value.

ACV is a live value that fluctuates with the market. For example if a Mustang convertible is purchased in the summer, when it is desirable, it will fetch more then if it is sold in the winter.

ACV vs. Trade Allowance

What exactly is the difference between A.C.V. and trade allowance or trade value then? If neither trade allowance or trade value represent what the dealer actually books the trade into inventory, then why do they even quote those figures? In many cases the dealer needs to quote a figure in terms of the trade that is acceptable to the customer. The customer might tell the dealer that unless they get $12,000 for the trade then there is no deal. In order to put the deal together, the dealer might give the customer the $12,000 as a trade value, but the A.C.V. might only be $9,500. That means there is a $2,500 deficit between the A.C.V. and the trade value which means there has to be a $2,500 concession on the new (or used) vehicle purchase. So even if the customers paper work said $12,000 as far as a trade value, the booked in value to the used car inventory is only $9,500. Another way to look at this is the $2,500 came off the new car price.

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below. or contact us at Dealer Simplified