It’s a common question from customers when the time comes to finalize the paperwork, and you do your best to explain it all. The problem with contracts and agreements is many times we think we know what they say, but in reality, the wording and meaning can be altered and confused. Which begs the question, do I really know what I am agreeing to? This question is especially important for any contracts that you as a dealer sign. Whether the agreement is with a lender, an advertising partner, or a vendor, it is important to take the time to fully understand the terms. For example, a dealer in California recently sold an expensive vehicle to a buyer that needed financing. Upon bank approval the vehicle was delivered and the paperwork sent in. A few months later the lender still had not received a payment, and upon investigation, it was discovered that identity theft and fraud were involved. The customer is nowhere to be found and the bank wants their money. The dealer was contacted and informed that according to their agreement, in the case of fraud, the dealer is liable to the bank for the balance of the loan. Thank goodness for insurance right? Maybe not, as some policies do not cover identity theft cases. Had the dealer known that they were responsible in a case like this they may have taken a few additional steps to ensure they were protected. This is also true of advertising partners. Auto Ad Manager has had multiple dealers relate horror stories of problems with former advertising partners, especially in relation to their domain name registration. Typically, a dealer should always register their own domain name. However, a friendly offer from an ad partner to do that for them is gladly accepted by some. When it’s time to try another solution though, the claws come out and ad partners have been known to hold domain names hostage. The dealership has the domain name plastered on license plate frames, business cards, and ads. Now they have to change internet addresses and this can be a slow and expensive process. Sadly, if the ad partner has a clause in the agreement that states they own your domain name if they register it on your behalf, their isn’t much legal recourse. Perhaps migrating the domain name to a third party before you cancel your agreement is the best option. Auto Ad Manager has always held that the dealer is the owner of the domain name whether we register it for them or not, and is quick to transfer to a third party or new provider whenever needed. The moral of the stories: Always know what you are agreeing to.
When times get tough, a lot of dealers like to employ the old adage “When it’s slow, lay low”. But is that what successful Used Car Dealers do? We talked to a few and here is what some of them do when those times come.
Make Dealership Enhancements – This is a great suggestion and one that has a lot of merit. A lot of dealerships are a bit lax when it comes to maintenance. Why not use the down time to wash the windows, paint the trim, add some decorations, or do a deep cleaning. Customers do notice the little things and if you spend the time, you will get more customers who write positive reviews.
Purchase Quality Vehicles – Instead of taking a risk on a vehicle that is cheap but may have been neglected and abused, why not spend a little more money per vehicle and get a more quality inventory. You will be building your reputation and probably receive more referrals in the slow times than the dealer that sells the lemons. It’s better to buy two clean $7,500 cars than three bad $5000 cars with $15k.
Get Social – Are you effectively using social media to engage your customers? Sites like www.pinterest.com, www.instagram.com, www.facebook.com, and www.twitter.com are all ways to engage with the public and just might get you that extra customer you are after.
Take Better Photos – Was that BMW dirty when you took pictures because you wanted it on the website right away? Why not look down the inventory list and pick a few vehicles where the lighting was bad, the car was dirty, or the recon wasn’t done completely and retake your photos. That just might make for a better showing for your customer and be the motivating factor to schedule a test drive.
Spend On Advertising – Just because it’s slow doesn’t mean you should cut your ad budget. If the other dealers do that, that will leave you with the customers when thing pick up, as your cars will be found and seen. See if there are other ways to trim your cost first, this one should be a last resort.
We put the finishing touches on our video that shows the main features of Auto Ad Manager. Mainly, video snippets and screenshots show the new user interface that also works on mobile for used car dealers. We also have put more of an emphasis on Automotive SEO and Car Dealer Websites.
So you’re getting ready to close the deal. The profit looks great, the buyer checks out, and he wants the car. The buyer then asks if you would accept a credit card. No problem you reply, your credit card processing machine is ready to go. The buyer remarks that there is just one thing you need to do. You will need to “force” the approval and call the merchant to get an approval code.
Wait a second you think, that sounds a little fishy. Everything is fine your customer explains. It’s just because XYZ happened and this is the way that his credit card company told him to do it because of XYZ. Go ahead call my credit card company at this number, he explains, you’ll get the approval code I’m talking about.
You proceed to call the number and give the merchant the credit card number and the person on the other end replies that the process is fine, albeit unconventional, providing the approval code you need. So you proceed, following the process your customer guides you through, swiping the card, navigating thru the options, and holding the “Force” option to get an approval. The charge goes through and everything seems fine. You get an approval and print out the receipt. Wow, this person knows more about credit card machines than you do, you think to yourself. You shake hands and the customer drives off in his brand new car.
A few days later you check your account to make sure the transaction posted, but to your chagrin, it hasn’t. You call your bank and explain the story. But unfortunately, you have been had. There is no money in your account.
You call the customer, no answer. You call your insurance company who regrets to inform you that they don’t offer coverage on Force approvals. Now you call the police. Hopefully you have Lojack installed on that vehicle.
Moral of the story? Never do a force entry. If you have to do it for some odd reason, get an approval from your merchant, not the buyers.
Used Car Dealerships
Barocci Motor Group
Founded by a team of individuals with the goal of providing high end used cars in the Richmond, CA and surrounding areas. The dealership has been fully remodeled and provides a spacious, bright, and attractive environment for buying a used car. The website has been built with our latest technology allowing for quick searches, integrated slideshows and videos, and search engine optimization all included. Check it out at www.baroccimotorgroup.com
Located in Jackson, NJ, Genel Autos is a small family owned and run used car dealership that offers a variety of quality used cars for great prices. The company slogan, “The Wholesale car markets best kept secret, cars and trucks sold at wholesale or below” signifies the mission of the company and their inventory and prices show that. Visit their website at http://www.genelautos.com to browse their current inventory.
Autolinx Inc. is on of the Used Car Dealerships in Vallejo, CA that offers a wide variety of pre-owned vehicles for sale. The inventory is constantly changing and includes a wide range of makes like Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Range Rover, and more. Most of the cars are close to new and are extremely clean with almost no reconditioning done. Low mileage high quality vehicles are what you can expect from this dealer. The partners that started the business early last year have over 30 years industry experience, and it shows in how they have taken care of the details at their location. They have started a blog, and already have raving reviews on yelp.
Our dedicated mobile sites are now included with every package as well as printable window stickers, buyers guides, and full inventory with thumbnail photos.
- Image gestures for photo navigation
- Clickable maps for directions
- Click to call phone number
- Quick loading for slow connections
- Contact form for customer call to action
If you are on a smartphone, browse to m.autoadmanager.com/8 to get the full experience now.
In addition, most of our websites are designed with a responsive theme for car dealers, which means your desktop website also looks great on various sized screens for tablets and other devices.
Buyers Guides, Window Stickers and Printable Inventory
It’s easy to print buyers guides, front and back, window stickers, and your full inventory with Auto Ad Manager. Dealers just login to their account, click on their vehicle list, and click the print button next to each vehicle. Your print out is available in PDF form so that formatting is consistent on your printer. It’s as easy as that!
At first glance you might have assumed that you are a current customer, after all, their is an account number on the form along with your company name.
Lets examine the document closer. The center of the document has your domain name listed and even your dns information, along with an annual fee of $65 for managed DNS backup business services.
But let’s read the center area closely. That’s right, they have spelled it out for you on the third line down in all caps, “this is a solicitation for the order of goods or services or both, and not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.”
So you do not owe DNS Services, INC any money, this is merely a solicitation and if you send in a payment, you are accepting their offer.
Make sure to read all documents thoroughly that ask for any type of payment. You may have incorrectly assumed that money was due, when indeed it is not.
We just put the final touches on a video that shows our service for used car dealers. Watch it here: www.autoadmanager.com
Optimize your site for mobile users or lose potential customers. That’s the warning coming from Google directly to car dealers. This article outlines some of the details, but for a quick summary, more buyers are accessing dealer websites via smartphone than ever before, comparing prices, photos, and details before they make their buying decision. Interestingly, after a period of 1 month, 24% of buyers purchase a different vehicle than the one they initially started searching for.
So what does this all mean for you? You will be left behind unless you shift your online marketing strategy to include mobile users. Ask yourself: Do my customers get the same website experience on their cell phones as they do on their desktop computer? Do I have bloated features like flash intro’s and photo carousels that don’t work on some smartphones? Do my pages load fast or are they painfully slow, especially for someone with limited connectivity?
Here is a screenshot of one of our mobile ready websites taken from a desktop computer. (click for a larger image)
Here is that same website viewed on an iPhone or iPod touch. Notice that content seamlessly wraps down the page and is clearly legible while maintaining the same look and feel.
This is not a different website served to a mobile user, this is the same website a desktop user sees. You are providing the same experience to both users while branding yourself. This is a huge advantage. Some mobile sites strip things like your logo and design, all the while getting you lost in a sea of other dealers with the same strategy. Don’t get left behind. Make sure you offer a mobile experience that wins you the sale in the end.
Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about how we can help your dealership with this initiative.
The best way to sell a used car in this market is to make sure you stand out against your competition. Here are 5 tips to help you do just that.
1. Price Your Vehicle Right
To often I see dealers sitting on great inventory for long periods of time because they price themselves out of the market. Do your research, and come up with a fair number that keeps you competitive.
2. Take Better Photos
People appreciate it if you take your time with the presentation of the vehicle. First impressions say a lot. If you need tips on how to do this, check out this post we did earlier on the subject.
3. Brand Yourself
Your advertisements should always have a logo or identifying photo that brands your business. It’s important to stand out against your competition, and familiar logos attract customers to you.
4. Provide Accurate Information
If your vehicle has high mileage, state it, don’t hide it. If someone wants a high mileage vehicle, they won’t have a problem with it. Don’t be afraid to disclose information. You have nothing to hide and are only gaining trust and an honest relationship. Always make sure you mention any special features as well.
5. Be Available
Once you have presented everything you can, make sure you are available to answer questions and setup appointments for test drives. Reply to emails right away, return voice mails as soon as possible, and treat each customer as the potential next owner of that used car.
Following these tips should help any Used Car Dealer sell more cars. Remember, there is a buyer out there looking for your vehicle, you just need to make sure you are doing your part to find them.