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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Ed Brooks

Ed Brooks Automotive Digital Marketer

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Just an Order Taker…

Order Taker… Few terms in sales are as derogatory. For some in car sales, this term applies to salesmen at reduced (or no) negotiation dealerships. At many dealerships across the country, management has embraced a competitive pricing structure to help drive traffic. At the best of these stores they also realize that because of the aggressiveness of their advertising, negotiation must be curtailed or eliminated.

But for some folks, a car sold with little or no negotiation isn't really a sale. Some money MUST have been left on the table!

However, the argument could be made, that the more negotiation that takes place, the less the customer is really “sold” on the vehicle. If that is the case, the salesman at the reduced negotiation store is actually doing a better job of “sales”. 

In my mind, reduced negotiation requires every bit as much skill, and as clearly defined a process as at a traditional dealership. Not only must the customer be sold on the car, they must be sold on the value.  Heading off a negotiation before it begins requires a justification of value and clear explanation of the dealers pricing procedure. Starting off with a lower asking price doesn’t have to equate to a lower gross when negotiated discounts are reduced or eliminated.

I do believe that this is a fundamental difference between “Old School” and “New School” dealerships; Old School dealerships rely heavily on an inherently adversarial negotiation process, while new school dealers are developing much more collaborative and customer-centric processes.

One leg of today’s transparent marketplace is price. There’s no avoiding it; without a competitive price on the internet, you don’t even get the opportunity to talk to most of the shoppers in the market. So dealers may be tempted to trick the customer with hidden down payments or $1495 “accessory” charges. What these dealers are discovering is the other leg of transparent marketplace is reputation. Tricking your customer isn’t collaboration, and it is as easy to find a dealer’s reputation online as it is to find his pricing.

Jim Bell
Great points Ed. Even though transparency is becoming the norm in the industry, we all still do have to get back to basics of selling yourself, the dealership, and then the car. Transparency is just making the negotiation process less and therefore, making some dealerships more of an order taker. We do have to sell ourselves and the dealership more than ever.
Bryan Armstrong
Price and Value are STILL two seprate things. Price will drive traffic, but building Value makes the sale. To many fail to realize that your low price alone will not close the deal, you must still engage the consumer and validate that you are the place to do business.
Ed Brooks
Jim, I'd argue that when a dealership has marketed a car a car at the the "perfect" price point, generated traffic off that marketing and then the salesman has SOLD the value of both the dealership and vehicle, it is not 'Order Taking', it is a perfect blend of Marketing and Salesmanship. :-)
Jim Bell
Perfectly online marketed with great dealer marketing = ZMOT and great salesmanship. :)
Chris Costner
Great points Ed, thanks for sharing. How many dealers out there are getting the traffic from price and attempting to build value in that vehicle prior to the customer arriving? Or let me ask in another way, how many are attempting to sell the vehicle prior to the customer arriving?

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