Just when you thought car buyers couldn’t get any worse they start coming into dealerships telling us what we have to do. They visited a website, they requested a new car price quote and now they have the right to tell dealers what they have to do for them.

What the heck is going on here are lead providers selling cars directly to customers? I have actually told a few customers that they should go buy their car from one these websites.

Internet lead providers selling cars

I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about. Car shoppers visit websites like TrueCar, Edmonds, Cars.com and any number of third party websites and receive new car quotes. Then they visit one of these dealers and tell them that they have to sell them the car they want it built for a specific price.

It doesn’t matter if the car is built that way or if it’s even available in a region, but they expect you get them their car of choice. When you try to explain to them that the car they want is not being built in that configuration they get upset and say TrueCar (or whoever) says you have to get it for me at that price. I have had more than one customer actually argue with me about it even after it was explained to them.

Somehow they believe that TrueCar, Edmunds and these other websites set the prices at dealerships. Are car buyers really that stupid? Yes they are because they are demanding that dealers sell them cars for a certain price even if we have to dealer trade in a different state or go to the factory and build them a car.

Another Dirty Job for the Car Salesman

We all know that the purpose of these lead providers is to provide us with prospective car buyers, but once again the car buyers are out of control (as we have seen in the truth about car salesmen). However it’s our job as professional car salesmen to connect, build rapport and eventually earn the trust of these car shoppers.

We sell cars for a living so we are already at a disadvantage because we are typically the last person that people are going to trust, but that’s what we do and why we make the big bucks.

If you approach this task of educating the customer with a positive attitude you will probably sell them a car. They got a price and made a trip to you dealership so it means they are ready to buy today.

So how are you going get the dirty job done of telling them how things work in the real world?

Shift Customers from Lead Provider to Car Buyer

You best bet for making some sense out of this situation would be common sense, but we are working with car buyers and that doesn’t always work. So you need to turn it around on them and use the source they used for information.

If your customer is armed with copies of quotes and emails ask them to show them to you and go through the disclaimers printed right on their paperwork. If they don’t have paperwork go to website they used while they are on the showroom floor and walk them through the disclaimers.

Then treat them as if you are letting them in on a “Trade Secret” that few people know. Then tell them that you (your dealerships) provides the prices to these lead providers, but then they manipulate them by adding incentives, rebates and disclaimers.car sales lead providers

Make the lead providers the Bad Guy. Go though each and every line of the disclaimer and let them know that these are the lead provider’s disclaimers that releases them (these websites) from responsibility and tries to put it on the dealers shoulders.

Lead Providers Selling Cars and Building Cars – Not Yet

If your car shopper’s vehicle of choice is not available in your area you need to use some third party printed or website information to prove it to them. Either use your build book or manufacturer website and show them that the car is not available.

Then once again tell them that these websites are not concerned about their satisfaction they are only there to make money. Then move on and sell them a car. You can do it you are a professional.

If all else fails you can tell them to go to TrueCar, Edmonds or whoever and buy their car. I have done more than once in the past, but I don’t recommend it. You won’t sell a car and you might even lose your job.

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot

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Jill Haddock · January 26 at 12:58 pm

was leaving the dealership late one night in bitter cold, said Bye to mananger and reminded him of the days when the customer didn’t decide our profit margin, we had that in control and yet we had much nicer car buying moments.

why should this market be the only one I know of that everyone tells us how much we should be selling to them for and ps there are 4 other manufacturers selling same model within 35 mile distance.

He says yeah , I know, have a good night, yeah you too. Autosales, subprime fianance, 1988-present
My boss well around the late 70’s, I was still in HS. Oh well guess I’ll be just dealing with it and looking for new ways of making things happen and be happy with myself and the special people who make up my paycheck, the customer.

John · December 14 at 9:38 pm

In Australia we have things like carsales and Redbook: people can describe their existing car, pay a fee and get a `value’ then demand that for a trade in. We usually get around this by saying `Go sell it to redbook’ or `Redbook is going to give you a cheque for $xx?’

luis · December 10 at 11:48 am

Awesome post! Right on the spot.

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