Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:
By: Cole Reiken, VP Digital & Product Development, Canadian Black Book
Although many suggest that the used car industry has stayed stagnant over time, it’s hard to refute the business innovations witnessed over the past 5 years, inherently driving change in dealerships. Today, running a successful used car business requires a nimble manager who wears many hats. This manager must be versed in procurement, marketing, sales, administration and be able to wade through the art and science of determining the best business strategy.
From a marketing perspective, what we know is that the most cost efficient channel to market your inventory is digital. What some may, or may not know, is that digital advertising can be extremely challenging. What is the right mix, the right site(s), the right words, price, images, timing and more?
Instinctively and unfortunately, too many managers determine their used car marketing strategy based on price. Price on its own will not convert an average browser into a lead or a buyer for the most part.
If you examine the most popular listing sites, such as Kijiji, AutoTrader or Canadian Black Book, we would be remiss not to recognize how well many operators nail down their pricing strategies, ensuring their inventory is priced correctly. Available inventory management tools have made this process more streamlined.
But it’s not all about price, right. Each used vehicle is unique, and requires a unique written and visual story to be told, to optimize its potential to sell.
The industry has greatly improved and accepted the cliché that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Photo capture has significantly developed over the past few years to help frame these stories.
However, a far too commonly overlooked portion of the used car story for a third-party website is the need to answer the question “why do business with me?” Perhaps this is not a new concept. Frankly, you’ve likely read many articles about this topic, but take a few moments and look at listing out there now. Few dealerships put much thought into answering that key question, on their own site listings. Even fewer do so on vehicle details pages on websites that are not their own!
In today’s age of reviews for everything under the sun (yes, there are even review sites for rating the best review sites), making the answer to “why do business with me” part of the story can be as important as how you merchandise your cars.
A friend of mine in the venture capital space always encourages his founders to have a thirty second “elevator pitch”, ready to go on a moment’s notice. You never know when or where you will find the need to impress someone, they come from all angles at any time.
So, I would ask you to consider, what’s your elevator pitch that answers “why do business with me?” Do you have one? If so, do you leverage it optimally? If not, get one!
What are the elements that make you unique and a top choice to deal with? Cars at a great price, is not enough. Perhaps it’s your location, years in business, experienced staff, previous customers, ratings and reviews, distinctive services, worry free return periods, or what makes the cars you carry special…I could go on and on.
Write this on a napkin, brainstorm it with your team, get your agency to do it for you, but get this done. It may alter or completely change overtime, but take the first step and produce this part of the story.
Next you figure out how to use it online, because your entire team has by now committed this to memory. Is this part of all your vehicle descriptions or spelled out on your imagery or perhaps if allowed provide via link to it on your own website? Those answers will come after assessing your marketing mix and a bit of trial and error.
That’s a column for another day. Tell the whole story.