These are crazy times we are in right now. Inventory is way down, vehicle prices (and gross) is way up. I hear all the stories of the record-breaking months and I want to say right now, CONGRATULATIONS! Take the time to celebrate this success. Enjoy these times because that might not be here forever. Inventories are continuing to get smaller and smaller as new cars continue not to ship because of unavailable parts and used cars continue to become more and more expensive.
So, what do you do if there is no inventory to sell?
That is the question, as inventories continue to compress without end in sight, what can you do to keep on selling. As an add-on to that, what can you do when a customer does not want to pay the marked-up “Current Market Value” for the limited inventory of new and used cars that you do have?
Do we discount the cars we do have? Do we let the customer leave, knowing that we can sell that car to the next person? What if it is your customer who leaves and another salesperson who sells that car? Sounds like you are out of luck.
I say sell them all, something!
When this vehicle shortage first started, it reminded me of when I started my first internet department. An all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee had just come out, “invoice” was the new buzz word, and every internet customer wanted to buy a one of these HOT Grand Cherokees a $100 or $500 “over invoice.” However, my dealership was getting thousands over MSRP for these vehicles, there was no way I was going to be able to sell these limited vehicles at such a large discount. I had to come up with something because I needed to sell cars and I didn’t want to lose these potential customers. So, I created a customized “order” experience. I showed the customer all of the benefits of making a customer order. I made the customer feel this was a VIP only experience and through this experience I was able to show them some discount. My dealer and I both knew that in the three to four months it was going to take for the customers, these vehicles were not going to be as hot as they are right then, and it was going to be nice to have a pipeline of presold vehicles at the start of any given month. As an added bonus to this program, by created this entire “order experience” I ended up building incredible rapport and trust with my customers, that these ordered vehicles had the highest back-end profits of any other deals.
Now, fast forward many years, we are in a very similar situation, we not only have limited inventory, but we also have some customers who do not want to pay the “Current Market Value.” Why don’t we take the principles from my “order experience” and tweak it to SELL EVERYONE, something?
Here are 3 “Invisible” Inventories to Sell from When You Don’t Have Supply
1) Suggest an Order – I am sure that your customer told you from the beginning that they weren’t buying today. They probably told you that they were not going to buy for a few weeks, or months. Now is the time to use that against them.
Try something like this:
“You told me that you did not need to purchase today, is that still the case?” … “Would you consider ordering a new car? I only ask because I can’t get you the price you are looking for on this vehicle, however I may be able to get closer to your offer and get you exactly what you want if you were to proceed with an order? Would you consider that?”
The more you can turn this into a “customized” VIP experience the more people you can get to take advantage of this. I understand this is not an immediate sale, however it will start to feel good when these orders start coming in and all of a sudden you have 5, 10, 15 cars PRESOLD at the beginning of the month. Plus, these were all customers you couldn’t make a deal with, that you were going to let go.
2) Presell an Incoming New Car – Your managers know every piece of inventory that is due to come into the dealership and when it is supposed to arrive. These are prime merchandise that you can PRESELL. You can provide your customer with specific details, such as color, options, even a VIN in most cases.
Just like in the previous scenario, use the fact that your customer began the conversation with the fact they were not in a hurry to allow the to consider this as a viable option.
3) Presell an Incoming Trade – This is one of the best ideas that I have heard come out of this inventory shortage. My new business partner Randy recently shared this one with me. He is working with a dealership that is doing a phenomenal just at preselling and ordering vehicles. Their management staff put together a binder of incoming trade-ins. This binder includes, pictures, spec sheets, vehicle history reports, and additional vehicle information. They also leave the presold vehicles in the binder to show customers that others are pre-ordering these inbound units and they better jump on one of the available units while there is something that fits there wants and needs still available. Talk about creating urgency and taking someone off the market that they were otherwise going to let leave.
This inventory binder can also be created for your inbound new cars as well. This is a no-brainer way to sell inventory that you do not have yet.
Now I am not suggesting that you stop trying to sell people the inventory you do have, I am however suggesting that when you can’t make a deal with a customer because of lack of inventory or the customers unwillingness to pay “Current Market Value,” that you DO NOT let the customer go without selling them something. Offering one of these 3 “Invisible” inventories will either take the customer off the market and you get to make them “your” customer or better yet, these other options just might build the value you need for the customer to justify buying what you do have now. Either way it will be a WIN for you and your dealership. Discuss these ideas with your managers, determine a strategy that works for you and the dealership, then execute it to SELL EVERYONE!