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Aimi Gundersen

Aimi Gundersen Project Manager

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Does Price Trump Value?

Does Price Matter?

I know that seems like a foolish question--of course it matters. A low price price evokes the feelings of value. A higher cost may connotate a high quality product.

But price won't come into play if you cannot connect with your customer, begin a relationship,  and show the value of what your providing.

That first response to a customer is one of the most critical in the evolution of the sales process. How you respond, the information given, and the quality of content develops the reputation of your dealership.

Your response will also leave the customer asking questions such as:

  • Does the dealership care what I really want?
  • Is there a real person looking at my inquiry, or is it just an automated response?
  • Are they trying to help me, or are they only focused on selling?

With so much transparency online, it would seem needless to make pricing an issue. It is an issue, though, and customers still ask for best pricing--generally within the first contact.

How does your dealership handle direct inquiries and questions concerning pricing?

Pricing  is one element of a response or first contact that generates discussion. Should BDC representatives be allowed to give a "best price" over the phone? When the price is lower than advertised online, does that make the dealership look deceitful? Does pricing bring the customer into the dealership? There are many elements of pricing that could make a deal go terribly wrong or wonderfully right. But pricing should never been seen as the primary focus of any first response.

Here is why:

You may ignore the customer's needs.

When the primary focus is on pricing, you may not pay attention to what the customer is truly looking for. Your BDC is the voice of your dealership--and that voice sometimes needs to stop giving information, start asking questions,  and listen to the customer. Appointment setting is the general metric for gauging the effectiveness of the BDC, you will not set as many appointments without asking questions and evaluating the needs of the person calling. If a customer feels validated and listened to--not bullied or pressured-- they are more likely to continue working with your dealership.  

You lose the opportunity to create value in other vehicles.

When a customer is looking for a vehicle, they may be initially sold on one specific car.  Statistics show, though, that even when most customers come in with a specific vehicle in mind, it is not the vehicle, but rather the features that he/she is looking for.  Over 50% of customers leave with a different vehicle than originally researched.  How you ask questions and guide the customer will open the customer to discussing a variety of vehicles. Pricing can turn someone off, but open ended, engaging questions generally won’t. And when you ask questions--and LISTEN to the response--you will not only know exactly what the customer needs, but will also be able to offer more options to the customer. And more options will increase your chance of setting an appointment and closing the sale.

You lose the value of the relational sale.

Relationships still rule when it comes to sales. People buy from people. While pricing and trade-in value is still a variable, relationships are a constant.  Who is the face and voice of your dealership? Your front line-your sales reps, your BDC--whoever is on the phone when a customer calls. That is the initial issue that needs to be addressed before anything else can be adjusted. One of the biggest trepidations people have when purchasing a car is having to deal with a salesperson whom they don’t trust, and you do not want to lost that trust through misinformation or poorly trained BDC reps.. The most important skill to selling online is perfecting phone skills. And through good phone skills you can improve the trust value.

When Pricing is a Must:

Be industry experts instead of price checkers.

When customers call, your BDC or sales team should be the product experts. When you are shopping for something specific and ask questions, you expect an answer and you expect it to be correct. Why should your BDC be any different? Ensure your front line is the SME. Make sure that when a potential customer calls, they know how to 1) Answer the question or 2) know how to talk with the customer as they find the answer.

With 54% of all sales coming from the internet, and almost 100% of Smartphone users shopping online before going on-lot, you want to make sure you are prepared for your customers because they are definitely prepared for you. There are many options for them--don’t fool yourself into thinking you have a monopoly on car sales in your area. While pricing is a factor, customer service can be a deal breaker.

Don’t lose a sale because of poor customer skills or lack of training.


Aimi Gundersen is an Automotive Lead Specialists, Blogger, Speaker, Educator, and a Project Manager for BetterCarPeople. Aimi has her masters in communications and her doctorate in Higher Education and Adult Learning. Her life is dedicated to making people smarter, stronger, and more efficient in any capacity of work. Contact her at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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