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Reality for most Dealerships is that it can be a struggle to transform from the old way of doing business to the new way. Dealerships have done business the same way for decades. Most Dealerships still price and sell the same way and just add the Internet as another marketing medium. Today we have many more platforms on which to place our inventory and pricing.
Take a look at Dealership websites. Some sites still do not price at all. They may put the “Call for Price” statement, or almost as bad, play the WAS / IS price game. Now there’s some transparency! We had it too high, you didn’t bite, so we now have it at this price, and yet we may still come down more.
Also, we might see unbelievable price swings from one Dealership to another on the same model, or even within the same Dealership inventory. Just pull up AutoTrader or Cars.com and see. Why is this? Easy, we are pricing from what we have in them. If they sit around we will write them down and as an after thought we may mark them down when we get around to it on the Internet. Believe me when I tell you, people will not come in or call on these units. Old ways would dictate that we would eventually have someone fall onto the lot and land on this older over-priced unit and it would sell. If you have noticed a trend over the last couple of years, this is not happening. We are taking these vehicles to the auction way to late and taking a beating.
The Internet has made this very obvious to the consumer at large. We should be much more focused on what is going on in our own city, especially since Dealerships have woken up to the fact that they should be a Used Car lot. With this in mind we must be in tune with our market: what a particular unit must be priced at, what is hot, and especially what is not.
So what can transparency do for me and my Dealership?
It will show Integrity, believability, and evoke reciprocity. Great stuff!
I might be heading out of your comfort zone here, but I believe Transparency in all departments is vital to our existence. Not just vehicle price transparency, but in every Department. Look at what it has done for the F&I department. Menu pricing has really helped many Dealerships show a slice of Integrity with transparency and choices that you can wrap your hands around. People love it and gives them a reason to buy, not just be sold. With this in mind, shouldn't we also be concerned about what our customers may be thinking if they happen to see 3-4 different prices on the same Used car?
You may ask, “How do they see this many prices?” Well, it can be the Internet Price, sticker on the car price, what the salesperson states as the price, or your unbelievable ‘today only price’. It’s easy to understand why our customers are skeptical about doing business with us. It is also why they come back the day after purchasing their vehicle, having seen a lower price on the internet, and want out of the deal.
How do we show transparency?
Put the same price on all sites and print. Also, we can put realistic Market based prices on our inventory. Get it priced right and adjust as needed. We should keep our story truthful and consistent. Train our people that this is paramount to our existence. Make this known as the way we do business.
To become the Dealership that deserves the deal today we must begin to embrace transparency in our Dealerships. More importantly, this is how we are going to win the award of future sales by way of repeat customers, referrals, word of mouth, and what I think may be the best of the bunch, Search Engine Reputation.
As a Dealership, if you make a plan of attack on those fronts today - I believe you just might take home the Gold!
Wendell Dossett is the Internet Director at Beck Toyota, and Founder of Dossett Automotive a “How to do Internet” company.
Connect with me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wendelldossett