Working with out-of-town buyers Admin In the Media (0) There wouldn’t be many dealerships around that don’t appreciate extra sales they get every month from buyers out of their town or region.Before the internet, non-local customers were harder to come by, but they now form an important part of business models.However, despite how important these buyers are, in my experience dealers are still underutilising opportunities to increase sales in this area.A better job can be done by informing these customers of how easy it is to purchase vehicles from out of town and from the comfort of their homes.There will always be a percentage of people who want to see and touch what they are spending money on, but some – when given the right information and service – are happy to purchase without physically inspecting cars.Even if they do want to visit your premises to view stock, you must let them know how easy that is and you would love to see them. Why not pick them up from the airport or, if they make a purchase, give them some petrol vouchers?Respect these buyers because they have different requirements to local ones. They need to trust you, have confidence around what happens further down the line and, in particular, believe you will continue to support them after the sale from a distant location.To ensure clarity on two specific areas, I’ve broken down the pre and post-sale stages.DEALING WITH PRE-SALESYou need to ensure your listings on Trade Me and elsewhere clearly state how easy you make the process for out-of-town buyers.Make sure your website educates them on why to buy from your dealership, and also what your options and processes for customers are.This information can’t be hidden on a page that you hope they will look at. It needs to be mentioned on your home page and with some details on all listings.As part of Motorcentral’s ongoing development of our website platform, we recently asked buyers what information they wanted available on dealers’ sites to assist them with buying vehicles.Generally, we were surprised the majority did not know a vehicle can be transported or delivered to them from a dealership that isn’t nearby and how affordable it is.The other area they were surprisingly unaware of is the ease of which finance and insurance can be facilitated for purchases, but that’s a separate topic to talk about.We learnt a lot about what buyers want and experiences we need to create, and intend to deploy these as part of a new website platform in coming months.THE POST-SALE PROCESSThe most overlooked area when it comes to out-of-town buyers after sales have been completed is looking after them should anything go wrong.I’ve lost count of the number of traders who have mentioned they are dealing with problem cars with customers hundreds of kilometres away with most of this frustration stemming from having no relationships with workshops in the buyer’s area.Not only do they not know who to deal with, it’s also whether workshops are happy to deal with them, and start repairs without accounts set up and so on.That is why the best thing a dealership can do is sell mechanical breakdown insurance to all out-of town buyers even if it’s at cost or given away to sweeten the offering.The reason for this is that if anything goes wrong with the vehicle, the customer will be directed to his or her nearest repairer by the insurer, which has hundreds – if not thousands – of established workshop relationships.That way you can be certainyour customer will be looked after, given a good experience and have the vehicle with the best repairer suited to what needs fixing.Even if the remedy isn’t covered by the policy, just using the insurer’s repairer may save a significant amount of money and time, as well as removing the stress and headache of trying to get a workshop to do what’s perceived as your work.Post-sale experiences are also important towards referrals and retaining long-distance buyers you want to come back to make their next purchase.My advice is look at what you’re telling customers. Ensure it’s clear and easy to understand that buying from wherever they are is an option – and an enjoyable one.Also have a think about how best to protect them and provide yourself with options if there’s a problem because they can’t easily bring their cars back to you.