The Internet car sales manager today has a dilemma on their hands. They need to decide if they should join the club and be a little kinky or if they should take a stand to provide clear and accurate pricing and information. It sounds like an easy choice, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Obviously they need to get car buyers in the door, but they also need them to buy cars because appointments that show are only half the battle.
In every geographical area in the country there are always dealers and Internet car sales managers that provide little more than absolute gibberish or BS to their Internet customers. This makes it difficult for Internet sales managers and dealers that take the time and put forth the effort to put out clear and concise information. These kinky dealers often see more traffic and a few sell more cars so what is an Internet car sales manager to do?
In order to keep things in perspective I have broken down the areas where kinky is most prominent and address each particular area. The Internet car sales manager has both a huge job to do and a huge responsibility that will impact how the consumer perceives the dealership. Poor online reviews can really hurt a dealership so tread lightly.
Internet Car Sales Manager Kinky Zones
Inventory: Do you tell a customer that you have a specific car in stock even after it’s sold and then when they visit the dealership you tell them that you just sold the car a few minutes ago to cover your lie? This is more common in larger metro areas where competition is stiff and usually results in an upset customer and often a disturbing scene in the showroom. Occasionally a customer will accept what they have been told as the truth and agree to look at similar vehicles. What is the outcome and is the risk worth the lie?
The big question here is if you told them the truth would they still come to your dealership. When we are talking about new cars you can usually get them exactly what they wanted by trading, but when it comes to used cars your hands are tied. Telling a customer that you have a car on the lot or you have it available can be considered the same thing. But having a car available could mean that it’s an inbound unit or one that can easily dealer traded. Where you do draw the line between kinky and honest. It’s a tough call because we all need customers.
Trade-Ins: Putting a price on a trade-in over the phone or through email is crazy, but it’s being done everyday to get customers into the showroom. No secrets here we all know that the trade value given over the phone is absolutely useless until we see the car in person. If you do give them a price do you give them the high end of the range to get them into the showroom or do you give them the low end and risk them choosing another dealer? I don’t think there is a right answer to that question.
Every customer is different, but for some customers there is no right answer and they will make a scene no matter what you do. Most Internet customers have already used an online website or tool to check their trade value, but want a commitment from you. Do you roll the dice and give them a trade number or do you require them to come in and get an accurate price on their trade.
Interest Rates and Payments: Many customers will ask the Internet car sales manager about interest rates and payments, but the standard go to is to provide any current incentives. We all know that you can’t figure accurate payments or provide an accurate interest rate without pulling credit. Unless you are providing ridiculous rates or payments you can always use their credit score to cover your tail once you get them to the dealership.
Pricing: This is the most prominent Internet sales manager kink zone because there are more ways to deceive a customer being used than I could possibly cover here. The problem here is that even if you provide a triple-net price quote on a new car there is always a dealer that will provide a lower price. Dealers are pricing lower trim levels than requested; some are using all incentives and discounts regardless of whether the customer is qualified to receive these discounts. Such as loyalty, college grad and active military service discounts.
I have seen pre-installed accessories, destination charges and dealer prep fees added on in the finance office. I have also seen dealers require each customer to purchase an accessory package because they said the manufacturer requires it. None of these items, charges or fess was included in the original quote, but it gets traffic into the showroom.
Much of it is hostile traffic, but they are told that every other dealer does the same thing when they arrive to buy the car. Some customers believe the lie and buy the car, but many make a scene and leave. Once again where does the Internet car sales manager and dealership draw the line?
Do you wonder why car salesmen and dealerships have a reputation for being less than honest? I am not telling you what to do here, I am talking about what I am seeing and hearing around the country when it comes to Internet car sales and working leads. The process for handling your Internet leads can be very different from dealer to dealer and the area in which they do business.
Competition makes us do crazy things, but look out for those online reviews that can come back and bite you in the ass. You can sell cars and make a profit without being kinky, but what is kinky and what is advertising? It’s a fine line because we can’t give our Internet leads and prospective customers every detail or they wouldn’t have any reason to visit the dealership.
If you are an Internet Sales Manager or in the BDC I would appreciate your input, comments and how you feel about this subject in the comment section below.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot