Published 20 Dec 2019
This article was originally published in the Autofile Magazine - Dec 2018 issue.
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How many of the vehicles at your dealership are ready in every aspect if a customer was to walk onto your premises wanting to view, test drive and purchase any one of the many vehicles you have in stock right now?
If you say all, are they really? If they are, then read no further and congratulations on the disciplines you must have achieved through the dealership and team to ensure every car is 100 per cent ready at any point in time.
On the flipside, I would go as far as saying there will be hundreds – if not more – vehicles throughout the country available for sale that aren’t ready for customers to view.
You may think they are, but on close inspection from that discerning buyer you can begin to realise that they just happened to walk in and view the vehicle a sales person or the dealer principal has been driving for the past week, and it’s not clean inside or out. Or it’s a trade-in that you’ve got advertised, but forgotten to get groomed since the previous owner and their years of dust, crumbs and children’s fingerprints are all over the inside.
There are a heap of various scenarios and areas where a vehicle could not be presented in its optimal way to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction so you get maximum price for the car.
The important thing to remember is that at any time a customer is very likely to arrive at the dealership unannounced with the intention of purchasing a vehicle from you, and in most cases, a specific one they have spotted during their online research and they see that you have for sale.
That customer is not there to “just look”. They are there to inspect the vehicle and if they like it, they will buy it. But what begins to happen if your vehicle isn’t presented well is that they will start having its value eroded in their mind, and also have concerns about its condition. They will then begin to look for more problems, or have more reasons to negotiate on price.
I’m sure old stock on the yard is also a great example of this because it hasn’t been touched for months since the photos were done, and chances are they don’t quite represent what the customer may have seen online.
Anyway, a poorly presented vehicle inside and out starts to give your prospective customer, who was keen to buy when arriving, many reasons why not to purchase, and either drive the price down, or feel the need to reconsider their options and wait until they view another car on their list.
It’s so simple to make sure at all times that all vehicles are presented as well as they can be. This isn’t just the yard-hand or groomer’s job either. This is every sales person’s job too.
If you see something that isn’t as perfect as it can be, then clean it, fix it and do whatever it takes to make sure you have the highest chance possible to sell it to the next customer who walks through the door to view it. After all, if you are in sales your income will probably depend on it, so why not take ownership of how cars – your earning potential – are presented.
Another area with vehicle presentation to a customer is in the preparation, especially when they want to go on a test drive, and that’s fuel and the battery.
I’m not going to start on this one, but it makes me cringe every time I see a customer standing next to a car while a salesmen tops up the tank with petrol from a can, and also has the bonnet up and the jump-pack trying to start the flat battery. It’s not the way to create an experience your customer will remember positively.
The moral of the story from this article is the majority of customers who arrive at your dealership are coming in with the intent to buy from you.
It’s in your control as to whether you start to give them plenty of reasons why not to buy, or why they should drive the price down, or why they should just leave and look somewhere else. They are yours to lose, so be prepared and don’t lose them.
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