By: Aaron Meyer, South Central Regional Manager
I started in the car business in May 2000, as a Dealer Specialties’ account rep; taking pictures and hanging “stickers.” The internet was just starting to gain ground. I remember my friends and family thinking I was crazy. After all, the “internet is just a fad,” right? Back then, automotive dealers appraised vehicles much differently. While some managers still take the car for a quick spin, kick the tires, and check under the hood, the days of pulling a NADA book out of your back pocket are over.
Back in my account rep days, I serviced a small independent dealership specializing in highline vehicles. I enjoyed working with this dealership because the owner had cool cars and an awesome British accent. I hated working with this dealership when it came time to price their vehicles. He was the only dealer that would get online with ATC and Cars.com to check the pricing on comparable vehicles first. He would even go as far as to call other dealers to ask them how their vehicles were equipped and the best price they would take for the vehicle. Of course, he flat out stole cars from under-informed consumers; plentiful in those days. He never worried about paying too much for a vehicle. After finishing his “research,” I would enter the vehicle prices into our inventory management tool and push out to third-party sites.
Dealers no longer log into multiple portals just to appraise a vehicle. Today, dealers must be efficient. Today’s consumers are much more advanced, more knowledgeable, and better at shopping for vehicles. Dealers who subscribe to multiple books, Carfax or Autocheck, and multiple third-party portals, understand the power of information. These dealers know that today’s automotive shoppers have done their research. They shop online at home, at work, and even during their commutes. These buyers know what they want — the lowest possible price they can get for their preferred model and options.
Today’s dealers search for the information that gives them a competitive edge; not only with other dealers but also with car shoppers. Companies like Dominion Dealer Solutions offer dealers the ability to do everything in one place, including: merchandising, appraising and pricing vehicles, managing social media, tracking the recon process, and more. But even with these options, many dealers are not using all of the information that’s available. Why is that? Have we reached information overload? Has today’s software become so sophisticated that we don’t understand all the charts, graphs and percentages depicted?
The bottom line remains the same: to make money selling used cars, you have to buy them right, price them right, and merchandise them right. That’s the car business in its simplest form. We are operating in a close and confined area, where every vehicle counts, every dollar of profit counts, every day a vehicle is in inventory counts, and every shopper counts. Are you prepared for what’s coming next?READ MORE >