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Make Me a Better (Online) Car Salesman!

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Comments

  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    As an internet shopper, by the time I request a quote, I have already test driven the car I am shopping for, I know what options I want and what color I want. I don’t care to hear your value shpill or anything else, I want a quote. That is why I clicked the button that says “Get a QUOTE”.

    Also, remember that we are sending these quote requests to half a dozen dealers. Responses that say come on down and we’ll talk about it, get deleted right away. Best responses are the ones with the real OTD itemized quote. Will people shop your number? There’s a 75% chance that they will, that is why your quote has to be low enough that most other stores don’t want to touch.

    I can tell you in detail about my last two internet shopping experiences and what I liked and didn’t like about them if you are interested. However, based on your posts, it is safe to assume that I am not the type of buyer you are looking for. Unfortunately for you, you won’t find buyers that you are looking for over the internet.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    As an internet shopper, by the time I request a quote, I have already test driven the car I am shopping for, I know what options I want and what color I want. I don’t care to hear your value shpill or anything else, I want a quote. That is why I clicked the button that says “Get a QUOTE”.

    Exb0, I'm just curious -- aside from getting you a low price, what could someone like our poster here to make sure that he got your business?

    For example, if he could handle all the financing, credit check, etc. stuff via email, would that help get you to do it there? Or if he delivered the car to your home or office at a time convenient to you, would that help? I'm curious to see what would move a buyer such as yourself, who knows what he wants before sending off his request for a quote, to choose one dealer or salesperson over another.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Socal, I ain't Exbo, but I use the internet somewhat like he does, so I will give you my opinion.

    All you need to tell me is that you have the exact car I want in stock. Then I can decide if I want to come in and make an offer.
  • Your experiencs are invaluable! I'm trying to get better at understanding the online buyer. If you have a way to make me and moy approach more attractive to online buyers, I'm all ears! ;)

    If I had to do less test drives and paperwork, but sell more cars, I'm into it! Definitely! :shades:

    I just spoke to my GM tonite, and he is very excited to have me come on, and he wants to "pad our lead", as far as internet sales vs. other Dodge dealers.

    Another question. How should I use Edmunds TMV Price? Should I use it? Add a couple of hundred for negotiation cushion and for the benefits of my excellent service?

    What do you guys think? Are you fans of the TMV?

    DrFill
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Another question. How should I use Edmunds TMV Price? Should I use it? Add a couple of hundred for negotiation cushion and for the benefits of my excellent service?

    Anything that gives you credibility in the minds of your customers while helping you is a good thing. I would use TMV if your customers seems to use Edmunds and/or it can be used to work to your advantage.

    As for me, I personally don't use it. I don't wish to rip on our hosts here, but in my case, I found that I would have dramatically overpaid had I relied upon it. Honestly, I really have no idea where the TMV number came from, and it played absolutely no role in my negotiation.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    to purchase a vehicle, so in my ideal world the following is what I would love to happen.

    I send an email to a dealer about a car that A)I have seen on their lot, or B) have seen on their website. I will tell them what time frame I am looking to purchase in (2 days in this case), and that I do not have a trade (for this purchase I will not have a trade). I will also tell them that I have driven this model before, and know exactly what options I do/don't want, and am set on the model that I have inquired about (In this particular case my local dealer always has about 3 of the exact vehicle I want at any given time - down to the color). I will also tell them that I have prearreanged financing through my credit union, so would just like them to give me a break down of their best price, plus any dealer fees (doc, etc..), tax, tags, title, and the Final Out the Door Price.

    In return, I would like to actually get the price break down that I originally requested, and maybe an offer by the dealer to try to beat my interest rate with a link to an on-line credit application to fill out if I so choose.

    I would then decide if the price is fair or not (let's assume it is, since this is my "ideal internet purchase"), and would probably then go ahead and fill out the credit application, (since it doesn't hurt to see if they can do better). After filling out the credit application, I would respond back that I did think the price was fair, tell them that I was filling out the credit app (this should indicate that I am serious), and would let them know that I want to finance for 48 months (no longer) and to please let me know what the best rate is they can give me. I would also indicate what my down payment will be.

    I would want their response to show the interest rate that I qualify for, the purchase price that they had in their previous email, and the monthly payment that this figures out to for the 48 months that I had originally requested with my down payment. I think it would also be fair for them to tell me that if I am going to use my own financing, I need to give them a credit card # to hold the car for me until I can get the check (I feel a $50-$100 nonrefundable deposit would be fine). At this point, they should ask me if I would like to use their financing, and if I would like to set up an appointment to come in to "seal the deal".

    I would then respond with either A) I will use your financing, or B) I will use my own financing (but thanks for checking), and provide my credit card # for the deposit. I would also set up an appointment to do the deal.

    Upon arrival, I would like to meet with the internet salesperson I had been dealing with, and be presented with basic paperwork that shows all of the #s we had previosly emailed about (should take 5 minutes). At that point, he could offer a test drive (15-20 minutes). After the test drive, I would like to go to the F&I office and do the paperwork (Ideally 15-30 minutes). Lastly, the salesman would "deliver" the car to me out on the lot.
  • What I intend to do is print the best post here, and give them to my GM as proof that the website and the sales process for the internet dept can be much improved and steamlined.

    He has asked me for any and all the ideas I can give for increasing sales in the department.

    DrFill
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    Exb0, I'm just curious -- aside from getting you a low price, what could someone like our poster here to make sure that he got your business?

    Well when I bought the Caddy I never saw the dealership. Everything was done over the phone. The sales man drove the car to my home with the paperwork for me to sign conditioned on an inspection and test drive of the car.

    Not that they would do that to everyone.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    For example, if he could handle all the financing, credit check, etc. stuff via email, would that help get you to do it there? Or if he delivered the car to your home or office at a time convenient to you, would that help? I'm curious to see what would move a buyer such as yourself, who knows what he wants before sending off his request for a quote, to choose one dealer or salesperson over another.

    I ain't ExBo either, and I most likely would not finance an auto purchase, but would definitely pay attention to dealers who would offer to deliver the car to me once we agree on price.

    Good service is good service. On line changes the dynamics, but does not change the ever present desire to be treated well and like the salesperson wants your business.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Well when I bought the Caddy I never saw the dealership. Everything was done over the phone. The sales man drove the car to my home with the paperwork for me to sign conditioned on an inspection and test drive of the car.

    This is an excellent point.

    I think a lot of us feel the internet opens up an entirely new world of service. The internet definitely makes remote dealings easier. But people were certainly able to do a lot of what I like about internet buying with the good old fashioned telephone. (Heck, even by post and the telegraph, for that matter. Indeed, through the early 1920s, Sears sold cars through its catalogue.)
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I think a lot of us feel the internet opens up an entirely new world of service. The internet definitely makes remote dealings easier. But people were certainly able to do a lot of what I like about internet buying with the good old fashioned telephone. (Heck, even by post and the telegraph, for that matter. Indeed, through the early 1920s, Sears sold cars through its catalogue.)

    I suspect that this such a radical philosophical shift for your typical car lot that many of them will miss the boat on this. The sales tactic of old have been so rooted in manipulating the customer with the too-much-information and multiple-closers approaches that simplifying the process and reducing the pitch time goes completely against the grain of their whole way of thinking. I think that they have to accept that there is a certain segment of the marketplace that views buying a car they way that they would view buying a refrigerator, and that price, service (as the customer defines it, not as the slippery sales guy wants to provide it), and delivery will be the primary concern of some people.

    The dealership may not like it, but if it were me, I'd package the retail internet sales as a no-dicker fair-price personal-service option. I'll bet that some customers would leave a bit of money on the table if the whole transaction was hassle-free and highly convenient. Not everybody who is price shopping is going to fight for every dollar if the experience can be more pleasant than it otherwise would.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...has very good customer service. I wouldn't expect to get that same service at a Chevy dealer. Or a Toyota dealer.

    I think the Internet salesperson at a dealer has a tough job. For every 1racefan with pre-approved credit, no trade, and know exactly what they want, there's a dozen with shaky credit, with a junky trade they want big bucks for, who are upside-down by a few thousand dollars, who want to just shop your number at every place within 100 miles and will buy from someone who offers $20 less, who don't know what type of vehicle they want ("give me a quote on a new Dodge"), and/or who aren't intending to buy at all and are just curious. If you did all the work that 1racefan is expecting for every lead, you could be spinning your wheels a lot of the time. I think there has to be a balancing act to try and weed out the junk leads from the potential sales.
  • That is exactly right mirth. I am going to use this thread to keep track of my internet leads and how many are:

    A: No responders
    B: responders that aren't serious or not interested currently
    C: Respond with extra information so that I can help them
    D: Responders I actually get an apointment out of
    E: Responders that actually buy a car.

    Right now I have only detailed the last lead I was given yesterday. So far no response at all from the customer in 24 hours.

    Last lead
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 24,657
    Are you using one of the email clients that sends a receipt when the email is actually opened on the receiver's end?

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    I'll bet that some customers would leave a bit of money on the table if the whole transaction was hassle-free and highly convenient.

    I'll bet that some customers leave a bit of money on the table the way its currently set up. That being said leaving money on the table is totally up to the customer. Lets face it the customer has all the power, they can walk away at any time.

    Given the fact that anyone can get online and do a little bit of searching and find out what a good price is on a car I would say there really is not reason someone will be leaving money on the table. Especially since you can e-mail a dozen dealers in a very short time to get a good price.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,232
    Long time TH people are well aware of the many times in the past I have shared my displeasure of dealing with internet sales. Let's go back a few years...

    About ten years ago, right after Al Gore invented the internet, our store was the first store in the area with an internet presence. The "Internet Department" consisted of about two or three of us who could instantly become the "Internet Manager" , "Fleet Manager" or whatever the customer wanted us to be. We were the first with Autobytel. I was a good "Autobytel Manager" whenever I needed to be.

    And, I quickly learned that the VAST MAJORITY of leads were pure garbage. People wanted a price they could go shop, and I lot of these so called "leads" had no idea why I had even called. I quickly grew tired of dealing with flakes and people who wouldn't bother calling me back. I didn't need this.

    But, I watched as things evolved. We did go to a full fledged Internet Department with a true Internet Manager and things slowly grew. I also read these forums with interest and I slowly came to grips with the changing marketplace. Last summer, we had some changes and I stepped into the position of E-Commerce Director, a fancy name for the person who runs the Internet Department for a very busy store. In my next post, I'll share some things.

    I am happy to say that after ten years, I have a pretty loyal following and a lot of my sales are to repeat and referral customers. Still, I am very busy and so are the other two guys in my department.
  • I would love it if I was but frankly our Auto groups IT department is not that advanced to even know how to set that up. I have to use hotmail because they can't get Outlook, and oh how I do detest outlook, working on my computer for some reason.

    I have asked just to have admin access granted on my computer so I can set everything up but they won't do that for me either. If they just did that I could fix my own problems instead of having to wait to have someone come out here and look at something and the normaly tell me they do not know what is wrong. :mad:
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Given the fact that anyone can get online and do a little bit of searching and find out what a good price is on a car I would say there really is not reason someone will be leaving money on the table.

    But service, terms and certainty of the result (risk reduction) can offset higher prices.

    Ask yourself -- why is Amazon.com able to charge higher prices than many of its less popular competitors?

    -Likelihood of a reasonable price: Because the prices are consistently reasonable -- not fantastic, but generally pretty good, and not so high that buying from them is a bad deal. (The prices may not be best, but they are good enough.)

    -Good selection: Amazon will generally have available what most people want. This reduces the time and hassle dedicated to shopping.

    -Minimal risk: Amazon does what it says it's going to do. You can be reasonably sure that if you send them your money, you will get the product that you ordered in about the time that it was promised, for the price that was promised. And if they screw up, they do a reasonable good job of fixing their mistake.

    -Convenience: Amazon's site does a good job of providing data and feedback about products -- if you want to learn about a book or A-V product, it's a good place to get information and feedback. And then it will deliver that good to the address of your choice.

    I'd say a dealer that gets a reputation for running a TRUE internet sales department with these attributes will eventually prosper, but they need to sell using the features unique to the online experience, rather than just using it to force leads into the normal sales channel.

    I'd bet that obvious desire to shove e-customers down the usual path is what turns off a lot of people to internet car purchases who might otherwise be thrilled to use it. The prospect of avoiding a typical salesman is very attractive to a lot of people. People already leave money on the table when buying through intermediaries such as Costco, so I'd bet that they'd do it here if it paid off in other ways.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,232
    We still get a lot of flakey leads. I can never understand why anyone would submit a lead if they aren't serious. These "leads" cost us between 20-25 dollars. We call, we leave e-mails ect with no response. People leave phony phone numbers etc.

    a lot of people really have no idea what they are looking for. this is why I really need a phone number so that I can determine what it really is they want...color etc.

    Some people refuse to do this, and those are usually the non-serious ones.

    Some internet customers are warm and friendly, others are as cold as ice. I can deal with both types and I adapt as soon as I see what I'm dealing with.

    Some people demand I appraise their trade in over the phone. In a lot of cases they "know what it's worth" and demand I pay them what ever the highest intersnt number they have seen is. I can deal with this as well.

    All in all, I've noticed that today's internet shoppers are a lot better than in the early days. They usually know what they want and if I can get them in, thye usually buy.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    About my ideal purchase...

    I said that in the first response from the dealer, where they email their purchase price that they could provide a link to a credit app and offer to best my interest rate. This would be smart to do (on the dealer's part), because they would instantly find out 1 of 4 things -

    1)I fill out the app, and they see I am serious, 2) I make a counter offer, and they see that I may be a grinder based off of what exactly my offer is (provided their original offer was "fair for both parties" to begin with) 3) I never reply, and they find out I am just # shopping or 4) I tell them I am interested in the vehicle at that price, but will use my own financing.

    Someone said earlier that some internet buyers may leave some $ on the table. IF the quoted price is fair for both parties (and most internet buyers have a rough idea if it is or not), a lot of "busy" people will leave a couple hundred dollars on the table in order to avoid wasting time (time is money holds true for many people), and hassle. I personally feel for the average "grinder", they need to buy in person.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,232
    Socal,

    I assume by your username you are in Southern California?

    I'm from there myself, born and raised in San Pedro. I'm familiar with the marketplace down there and I have to tell you, I couldn't work in that enviroment.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I think the Internet salesperson at a dealer has a tough job. For every 1racefan with pre-approved credit, no trade, and know exactly what they want, there's a dozen with shaky credit, with a junky trade they want big bucks for, who are upside-down by a few thousand dollars, who want to just shop your number at every place within 100 miles and will buy from someone who offers $20 less, who don't know what type of vehicle they want ("give me a quote on a new Dodge"), and/or who aren't intending to buy at all and are just curious.

    There are bad internet buyers in every arena. An experienced professional should be able to figure out how to sort the wheat from the chaffe.

    Perfecting the process takes time and committment. Other sales people are doing it. The reward is big for both sides. As I pointed out yesterday, industries from real estate to to AV to jewelry and almost everything else are realizing significant profit increases from the internet sales model. The internet allows them to reach more potential customers with less infrastructure.

    I suspect the real problem is as SoCal points out: too much of the auto sales world is wed to the current model. The only way things will change will be when one or two companies start taking sales and profit from the traditional sellers.

    (Of course if that happens, do not be surprised if wealthy politically connected auto dealers turn use their considerable influence with state legislatures to get the government to protect their business. Why compete when you can regulate? :sick: )
  • dpatdpat Posts: 87
    I'd say that, in my experience, the majority of internet departments are just fluff, set up to draw you into the dealership to sell you a car the old fashioned way. I live in a high density area, so I was able to send quote requests to about 10 (Honda) dealers within 30-40 miles of me. I had previously test driven the car I want at the closest dealership to me, but did not buy there. (The salesman flat out lied to my face about the features of the test car I drove, thinking I was too stupid to know any better - I'll never go there again) I asked for an out-the-door quote, and sent the exact model and trim level I wanted, as well as a preferred color and one alternate. I asked to be contacted by e-mail, but also gave my home phone number so that they would know I was serious.

    Four or five dealerships never individually responded to me, they just put me on their spam list, and I now get spam about their "greatest sale ever" every couple of weeks.

    Two dealerships repeatedly called and left long messages on my voice mail about how they had unbeatable prices, but only this weekend, so when could I come in for a test drive? They never gave me a quote, or indicated that they had what I wanted in stock.

    One dealership very close to my home gave me a quote on the trim level I wanted and asked me to come in for a test drive, so I set up an appointment and went in. This dealership was in a semi-urban area, so most of their cars were stored at satellite lots - they just had a few at the actual dealership. When I got there, they explained this to me, and told me they had a car similar to what I wanted to test drive at the dealership. (Civic EX instead of the EX-SE I wanted - also a different color) After my test drive I went back to the dealership and (after waiting for about 10 minutes) they told me they didn't have anything in the trim level I wanted at any of their lots, but said could get it for me, but not at the price they quoted. I said no thanks. Then they tried to push me into buying an Accord instead. I now warn people not to deal with them at all.

    I had three dealerships respond with an out-the-door quote and a note that they had either my preferred color, or my alternate in the desired trim level. Only one had my preferred color, so I called the salesman and set up an appointment. He then sent me a credit application (which I didn't end up using) so that, if I wanted to finance through them, I wouldn't have to wait to be approved while there. I went in, and they had my car ready for me to test drive it. When I got back, I signed the dotted line and handed them a ready-loan check from my credit union. All in all, I spent about an hour in the dealership.

    What's the moral of the story? The dealership that was the most accommodating online, and gave me the least BS got the sale.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    a lot of people really have no idea what they are looking for. this is why I really need a phone number so that I can determine what it really is they want...color etc.

    Some people refuse to do this, and those are usually the non-serious ones


    Speaking for myself, I can think of why a lot of legitimate buyers may appear flaky to you:

    - They are testing out the internet shopping model, and aren't yet committed to using it
    - They have a number of cars that might suit them (most of them not sold by you) and are trying to price compare across models
    - They don't trust dealers, and don't want to be hassled by phone calls, etc., particularly if they decide to buy another type of car

    I'm sure that there are a couple of sales guys, internet and otherwise, who labeled me as a "flake", but I ended up buying a car within three weeks of deciding to get one (or to be more honest, when the death of my last car "inspired" me to get another.)

    However, I either didn't trust the internet guys, or else I had contacted the dealer of a brand that I ultimately decided that I didn't want. That does not mean that I didn't part with the cash or end up with new wheels.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    But service, terms and certainty of the result (risk reduction) can offset higher prices.

    Service (as in the buying experience) is such a small part of the overall experience with the car. Service (as servicing the vehicle afterwards) can be done anywhere, even warranty work can be done at a different dealer.

    Not sure what you mean by terms and certainty of the result (the result is buying a car which I control).

    Ask yourself -- why is Amazon.com able to charge higher prices than many of its less popular competitors?

    I cannot comment on this since I do not know if this is true and don't have time to research this at this time. But knowing you the way I do I will take that fact with a grain of salt. But I will say that the best known seller would most likely be the biggest seller (you can't buy from a place you don't know exists).

    Anyways I buy my books from the local brick and motor book store for a variety of reasons. The environment at the book store is way different that the auto dealer.

    -Good selection: Amazon will generally have available what most people want. This reduces the time and hassle dedicated to shopping.

    Anything I can get at Amazon I can get at the local book seller. There is another book seller nearby that specializes on out of print books, they can get you things that Amazon never could.

    But lets be fair buying a $20 book is a lot different than buying a $20,000 piece of machinery isn't it?

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    But lets be fair buying a $20 book is a lot different than buying a $20,000 piece of machinery isn't it?

    Amazon sells a lot more than books now. People buy some pretty pricey merchandise through Amazon.

    Indeed, Amazon would probably consider selling cars if state legislatures would relax regulations meant to preserve the dealership monopolies.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Not sure what you mean by terms and certainty of the result (the result is buying a car which I control).

    The ability to avoid bait-and-switch would add certainty to the result. The ability to minimize hassle would add certainty to the result.

    Most customers don't just buy on price -- they buy the entire process. If someone could do an internet deal knowing that he'll get what he was promised quickly and easily, he may pull the trigger even if another dealer claims that he can beat the price. (Because we mistrust car dealers, we might assume that it is easier to close the present dealer than to deal with another one who might have lied about the low price to get us to the lot.)

    Above, we've seen anecdotes about potential would-be internet shoppers who could sense that the internet was being used as a lead generator for the typical sales model, which was offputting because they had used the internet specifically to avoid that sales model. I'd say that for the moment, the internet car shopper may be a unique breed in the car market.

    I cannot comment on this since I do not know if this is true and don't have time to research this at this time

    And I'm sure that you won't research it, but Amazon generally sells for full retail book titles that are not on best seller lists and such. You can find smaller internet competitors that more consistently sell for below retail and market themselves on that basis, but that hasn't necessarily helped them to surpass Amazon.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    These "leads" cost us between 20-25 dollars.

    Do you ever get people directly off your website?

    Some people refuse to do this, and those are usually the non-serious ones.

    I would rather not give my number for many reasons. One of which is I only use a cell phone and don't want to waste minutes on people trying to sell me stuff. Plus I would rather causally look through the e-mails at my leisure.

    Some people demand I appraise their trade in over the phone. In a lot of cases they "know what it's worth"

    What if someone has a quote from Carmax and they have only driven it 50 miles since and there hasn't been anything that has fallen off, would you at least consider that?

    I mean if Carmax says they will buy my car for $2,000 and you come up and offer $1,700 guess what? No trade in I am taking the car to Carmax.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Isell,

    I am NOT ready to BUY a car over the internet. I do use the internet to get information (is that unit that you have on your website still available? , what incentives are available, where are you located?) and I get irritated at dealerships that do not respond to e-mails when they advertise a website/e-mail capabilities.

    Since I do most of my car shopping from 10 pm - Midnight, most of my questions pop up in the overnight hours. If I wait until the morning, I am likely not to follow up.
  • But the "client" has to be fair, and let the dealer appraise the condition of the car properly. Asking for site-unseen appraisals is just asking for trouble. The buyer is leading the dealer into a trap!

    I'm all for streamlining the process, but if you want your car appraised, bring it in, just like at Carmax. They aren't doing phone appraisals either. Show the dealer a little respect.

    The vibe I'm getting is internet leads don't like car salesmen, and will buy from honest people, not car salesmen.

    I can do that! :)

    "Service" has been mentioned quite a bit. Since internet buyers seem to want to sidestep most of the sales process, how can a sales rep provide quality service? Just by making the process fast and easy? Or are there other components to good service?

    And again about response time. Is same-day response essential? If you get a response, but not until the next day, does that affect your view of the dealer? I'm thinking within the hour should work for the vast majority of leads.

    DrFill

    DrFill
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    The ability to avoid bait-and-switch would add certainty to the result.

    There is no ability to avoid bait and switch, with the exception of walking out of the dealership. You can get the quote on line for whatever car you want. The test comes when you walk into the dealership to sign the paperwork and take delivery. Going the internet route is no garuentee that you will avoid the bait and switch, it doesn't even reduce your chances.

    Most customers don't just buy on price

    i don't know lets ask isell. isell your in auto sales how many times would you say you lost a sale to another dealer simply because they were selling the car $250 cheaper?

    And I'm sure that you won't research it, but Amazon generally sells for full retail book titles that are not on best seller lists and such.

    I did, out of 6 books (none were best sellers) Amazon was the most expensive on two of them.

    But then again there is a difference between buying a $20 book and a $20k car.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I'm all for streamlining the process, but if you want your car appraised, bring it in, just like at Carmax.

    I'll give you that. So much of a car's value is based upon condition and state of repair that it isn't possible to give a fair valuation over the phone, sight unseen. If that was the case, your offers would be rock bottom in all cases, which would probably be worse for everyone. (You'd end up with junk for auction, while owners of nice cars would go elsewhere.)

    However, they might be a bit more upfront about the method by which they'll reach a value. If you had a consistent and stated policy of coming within some proximity of wholesale KBB and/or Edmunds, and that wasn't just a come-on gimmick to get them in the door for a full low ball, then you might get somewhere. Some people will willingly avoid dealing with selling the used car privately, just so long as they can get enough from you to make it worth their while.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    ""Service" has been mentioned quite a bit. Since internet buyers seem to want to sidestep most of the sales process, how can a sales rep provide quality service? Just by making the process fast and easy? Or are there other components to good service?"

    Well, you could make sure that all paperwork has been done by the time the customer comes in to take deliver (provided they have an appointment).

    Secondly...if you know that they are going to be getting the car serviced at your place, you could tell them that you are going to serve as their contact (via email) to set up their appointments for them.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Going the internet route is no garuentee that you will avoid the bait and switch, it doesn't even reduce your chances.

    Never claimed it did. But if our poster's dealership developed a reputation for being different in that way, that would be a competitive advantage that would appeal to those buyers who hate the usual tactics.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    "Service" has been mentioned quite a bit. Since internet buyers seem to want to sidestep most of the sales process, how can a sales rep provide quality service? Just by making the process fast and easy?

    Yes buy the time I start talking to a salesman I most likely know more about the car than the salesman does.

    And again about response time. Is same-day response essential?

    For me I would say by the end of the next business day is acceptable. Say if I e-mail you at 3:30 saturday afternoon I wouldn't expect a reply until monday (our states anti-consumer laws forces dealerships to be closed on Sundays). But if it comes in at 10:00am Tuesday maybe by the end of that business day would be nice.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    Never claimed it did.

    Then can you explain why you made this comment?

    The ability to avoid bait-and-switch would add certainty to the result.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • asafonovasafonov MinneapolisPosts: 409
    If I were a dealer, I would never give a trade-in value over the phone, without seeing the vehicle - with a prior Carmax quote or not. Reverse the roles - you are buying a car (say, from a private person), have not seen this particular one yet but know the model/brand. The seller calls you and asks would you pay X dollars, as another buyer is offering that much or more. Even assuming this is factually correct, I would pass.

    A vehicle maybe worth more (or less) to Carmax than to a particular dealer. I remember reading that one of the founding CCBA members used to drive cars for Carmax, presumably to a different market. A local dealer may not have such a resource, or pay dearly for it.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Then can you explain why you made this comment?

    The ability to avoid bait-and-switch would add certainty to the result.


    Snake, please let's avoid your usual exercise in failing to grasp English comprehension, it would save everyone a lot of posting time.

    I never said that an internet model inherently saved bait-and-switch. In fact, I pointed out that many dealers misuse the internet model and fail to exploit by viewing it as a method to push more people through the usual channels.

    What I said was that IF dealers addressed the desires of internet buyer to avoid BS, then THOSE SPECIFIC dealers might prosper. But obviously, that means that the dealers will have to behave differently than they do now, and follow up on their promises to build reputations in their local markets.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    I live in a high density area, so I was able to send quote requests to about 10 (Honda) dealers within 30-40 miles of me.

    This is my problem with internet car buying. It's so Russian Roulette - totally dependant on the dealers in your area. dpat emailed 10 dealers in his area (which is a lot - I think I have like 3 Honda dealers in a 30-40 mile radius) and got 4 quotes. And one of those quotes was just yanking his chain to get him to the store. So basically, he had a 30% success rate (assuming the 2 dealers he didn't visit weren't also yanking his chain). I prefer to determine my offer by researching online and just go to my nearest dealer and close the deal. That's just me though - I haven't had any luck with emails. My last car I attempted it and out of 4 dealers got only one response of the "c'mon down and we'll work out a great deal!" variety.
  • You can't just blanketly state that you will be within so much of a book number though cause the books just can't keep up with the value of certain cars.

    We use the Galves auction books as the start of our trade evaluation. That gives us a base price to start with and then add or subtract for more or less miles then average plus add or subtract for certain equipment/trim levels.

    Now that only works if the car is fairly new, say within 3-5 years, and has mileage that is not incredibly exessive or incredibly low. For older cars or for cars with very low or very high mileage you just throw out the books becasue the market changes completly. Everything depends on condition at this point so a tight driving, clean(as in no bodywork and good paint) 6 year old car with 100,000 miles will fetch more money then an identical car with 75,000 miles but questionable paint and loose driving.

    Valuing most cars is more then just looking in a book. We use that as the start then make several phone calls to our own wholesalers as well as managers at other dealerships if the car is an off make vehicle. If the car is one of our own makes and is in truly exeptional shape where we won't need to do much reconditioning we might offer something above wholesale value. It probably won't be a private party value but it might be close.

    Someone else mentioned deposits early of 50-100 dollars. I am not going to hold a car for 100 dollars. My minimum deposit for a used car is 500 dollars, new car 1000 dollars and for our more expensive models I will ask for 2000 dollars or more.

    I am not going to tie up 20,000-50,000 dollars worth of inventory for 50-100 dollars.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    The reason I mentioned the Carmax thing is that they will give you a written quote which is good for (I think) 300 miles and 5 days. So you know you can get at least that much. If the dealer can't match it just take it back to Carmax, if they can beat it so much the better.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    Snake, please let's avoid your usual exercise in failing to grasp English comprehension, it would save everyone a lot of posting time.

    Socal please stop saying something then claiming you didn't say it, then blaming the other person when they catch you.

    You said that there was the ability to avoid the bait and switch, when I questioned that you said you never said it. Now your just trying to weasel your way out of it.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • Agreed.

    I am betting that of those 10 dealers who he emailed the only one that actually had the exact car he wanted was the one that emailed him back.

    If someone emails me and is asking for a car that we just happen to have on the lot then of course I am going to email them right away with all of its info. Am I going to quote a price? Maybe if the buyer gives me enough info I will quote a price and at the very least I will give them the MSRP and the break down of the options on the sticker. Hell I will even scan the sticker and email it to them if they like.

    If I don't have the car then I will flat out say we don't have that model currently but I am sure I can get one fairly quickly. As long as they are not looking for a fairly odd ball color or options on a rare car then I can find most vehicles at another dealer within a couple of weeks.
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    The first time was in the winter of 2004. At the time I was driving 98 Explorer that was our family vehicle, and my wife was driving 2000 Accord LX. We both hated the Explorer and we were trying to get rid of it for 5 years. However, Explorer’s resale value was so poor that every time we tried to trade it in, it just didn’t make financial sense to do it. In fall of 2002 we found a dealer that had a demo 2003 Odyssey and my wife and I took it for a test drive. My wife agreed to buy the Odyssey; however, that dealer wanted MSRP plus $2000. I went home and sent out a few emails, and ordered the Odyssey from the closest dealer that was willing to sell it for MSRP with no additional charges. Two months later when the Odyssey came in, I asked to dealer to take the Explorer as a trade-in, and he offered me $4000k less than the black book average condition trade-in value. The deal fell apart and I took my deposit back.

    Fast forward a year later. 2004 Acura TL came out, and I really wanted that. Explorer’s extended warranty was about to expire and I had to get rid of it. To make a long story short, I traded the Explorer for TL, and we ended up with two sedans and no family vehicle.

    I went to the local dealer, where I bought the Accord, to take a look at the Pilot. The Pilot was too small and the sales manager started selling me on the Odyssey. I went online and realized that Odyssey prices have collapsed and Honda was offering nice subsidized leases. I hit a few dealer websites looking for ads, and the dealer that I ordered the Odyssey from last time, was advertising even better lease on EX, $300 per month with only taxes down. I called the dealer and asked for a lease quote for an EXL (MRSP $1500 more), salesman came back with $370. I told that based on the online ad his quote makes no sense, thanked him his time and hung up. The next day the salesman called me a few more times trying to give me his shpill and build value for the Odyssey and what great service they provide. Finally, I got pissed off and told him not call me again. Ten minutes later a manger called me, and offered his best price $330 per month and offered to fax the lease details to me. I decided to give my local dealer one more chance and showed that fax to the sales manager. The sales manager became very obnoxious because he wasn’t happy about the deal I was geting from the other store and I just walked. The next day I leased the van from the original store that gave me the quote and never looked back. I am servicing this Odyssey at my local dealer, and I am very happy with service I am getting.

    I will post about two other experiences sometimes in the future.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,232
    By far, the best quality leads come through our website. No question about that. Also the leads that come through American Honda are much better quality leads.

    If you don't provide a phone number, I'll still e-mail you. I will, however doubt your level of seriousness based on experience.

    We don't have Car Max but we do get "buy bids" from other dealers all of the time.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    I hope you like your new responsibilities as internet sales manager, but be sure to be honest with yourself if you are not having a chance to do what you do best - interact with customers in a straightforward and honest manner. At our age, we don't have time to put up with a job that doesn't suit us.

    My guess is that you would do better as a 'closer'. If a deal is dragging on too long, I think you would be good at stepping in and either 1) getting it resolved so both the customer and dealer are happy, or 2) turning the customer loose in a friendly manner.

    Good luck, Bob
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Socal please stop saying something then claiming you didn't say it, then blaming the other person when they catch you.

    Snake, sentences are generally provided in the context of other sentences, and other posts. Do us a favor, and read the entire post, not just the occasional sentence, so that you don't miss the message and the nuances. Honestly, you make it tedious by doing this, and I'll just ignore you going forward if you don't avoid it in the future.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,182
    I did read the entire post. You said something then denied it.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,232
    Bob,

    I responded to you in the other forum,

    Yeah, I'll do this as long as it's enjoyable. I've really had some just wonderful customers lately.

    Makes up for some of the cold, nasty ones I get once in awhile.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Dude, you're comedy, you really are.

    Read #'s 62 and 69 (both posts to which you responded) and it's pretty obvious that I'm describing what could be, not what is. Obviously, if it was inherent, it would exist today and consistently across the board.

    Going forward, please read more carefully. Posters such as Logic1 clearly understood; with a little work, maybe you will, too.
This discussion has been closed.