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Megan Barto

Megan Barto Finance Manager

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When My Used Car Manager Isn't My Used Car Manager

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The title may confuse you - “But Megan, most stores have a Used Car Manager!” You’re right - of course they do; and mine does too.  But the point of this post isn’t to toll the virtues of a Used Car Manager (albeit there are many), this post is to explain to you why sometimes I don’t call my Used Car Manager my Used Car Manager.

 

It all goes back to setting internet appointments - “Just Get Them In,” correct? (Shoutout to Joe Webb of DealerKnows Consulting).  Of course we want our customers “in” - we can’t sell a car to someone over the phone, right? We can’t take them on a demo drive, or do paperwork over the phone. And most importantly to this blog post, we can’t appraise their trade over the phone.  But lots and lost of people these days expect us to give them unseen trade values over the  phone (I’m sure you’ve run across this). But we don’t want to!! ::: throws temper tantrum :::

I’ve found that if you refer to your Used Car Manager as your BUYER - it holds a lot more klout with customers.  

“I’m not going to tell you because I’m sure you already know, you’ll get the most money for your 1997 Ford Escort with one of my BUYERS looking at it in person.”

I don’t use “manager,” I don’t use “appraiser,” I use BUYER.  It’s all about how you refer to the appraisal process.  A customer naturally wants the most money for their trade-in (don’t we all) - & buyers typically PAY more money for things. 

I've even had people call in and reschedule their appointment and ask "Will your buyer still be there at 5:30 instead of 4:00?"  GOLD - you know that's a confirmed appointment!

What do you think? Have you ever tried an approach like this? Maybe you refer to your Used Car Manager as something else when talking to customers.

Parker Lukjanovs
Megan, That's a unique approach. I think this tactic can definitely work (and it seems like it has with you) for more volume based stores. I'm in the luxury business and not sure with the level of personal attention demanded by our customers that this would work and the overall fact that we're referring to our Used Car Manager as the "Buyer," is in a way misleading for customers. For example, you've never had a customer come in and ask for your "buyer," and the UCM, is like "Hi, I'm Mike the Used Car Manager." OR does he go along with it and it is like "Hi, I'm the Buyer, Mike!" Doesn't this seem a bit off? OR do you guys just sit them down and do a normal appraisal routine and let them know the "buyer," is looking at it. I just think if it's an internet or a phone up and the customer is specifically coming in because the "buyer," is there that they would actually want to speak with the buyer you know? Which then goes back to the above statements I made. Hope I'm making sense. Unique concept for sure. Keep up the great work!
Clay Toporski
I love this, and it is something I recently took away from Proactive's boot camp. Part of creating appointments is building excitement and creating urgency. People like to think that they are going to get a special experience and be part of a special "sale". We all know that, for the most part, our "sales" don't change a whole lot from month to month - but the customer doesn't know that. Straight up lying and having a bit of fun with semantics are two different things. The latter can lead to really great results when used correctly. Calling your used car manager a "buyer" isn't the kind of thing that is going to get anyone upset or in trouble. Your used car manager is in the business of buying cars, they are a buyer. There is an old cliche that we need to "sell the sizzle, not the steak," and that is exactly what this is doing.
Paul Green
I love this concept. I often introduce myself to customers as the "purchasing agent".
Megan Barto
Parker - thanks for your thoughts. Now a little background on me - I actually do work for a highline store (BMW) & even when the customer is set up this way, we don't deviate from our process. It's more along the lines of "I'm going to be the one looking at your vehicle today." I've also found more often with the luxury customers, they're excited someone's going to be there who specializes in "Buying" vehicles (as Clay said - the UCM does - all the time). When customers hear "I'm the Used Car Manager & I'm going to be appraising your vehicle" I've found they sometimes think "oh - he SELLS used cars - he's going to not give me what I want." & you're right, it's all about semantics - Paul - that's a great intro as well! :-) Thanks for your comments, everyone!
Tom Hawkins
Great idea Megan. Thanks.

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