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By no means am I going to detail the one thousand "best practices" for advertising a dealer's inventory. That would take two full days of typing and I simply don't have it in me. Actually, this is a question that I would like to pose to all of you DrivingSales readers out there. You will see I discuss my beliefs, but I'd like to hear from you.
I was perusing my Saturday morning edition of the Chicago Tribune, checking out the car ads. (Yes, I still get the newspaper, though I don't know why considering I read the news online before ever opening up the printed papyrus.) What caught my attention was not how many local dealers are still advertising in a dying medium (ridiculous), but how many dealers were actively promoting how large their inventory was of certain models.
The common practice of detailing how many vehicles you have in stock (by model) has been widely used for quite some time. Not too long ago, when dealers could do no wrong, they had to sell themselves as the one-stop shop for every variation of car possible. (Presenting yourself as a high-volume dealer can still be valuable). Back then, a bad salesperson could fall out of bed and land on a customer willing to buy from them.
However, with the current economic downturn and fewer buyers in the market, my question is this... do YOU still feel it is a good idea to display in your advertising how many of one certain model you have in stock?
Don't get me wrong...for those sought-after vehicles (hybrids for instance), it is a benefit to let your customers know their is some semblance of a selection. Nowadays, though, consumers already now we are struggling to move product - they hear about it and read about it daily. Do you think it is wise to scream from the rooftops "We have 64 2008 Dodge Sprinters In Stock, On the Ground, Ready for Immediate Delivery!" - the actual quote from a local dealer.
Is that a selling point?! In my opinion, and I may be wrong, promoting your glut of vehicles reminds the customer how desperate we are to move some cars. "Geez, Mary Ellen...why do you think they have seventy Ford Focus' in stock? Does no one want them?" Or, do you believe detailing how many vehicles you have of a certain model may allow the shopper to negotiate with unrealistic numbers because our supply is so much greater than demand?
Let me know your thoughts on this. I have my beliefs. I think if you can let consumers know there is a selection to choose from, you are putting yourself in a better position to ask for gross, than if you are advertising yourself as a dealer drowning in 2008 Dodges.