Trey Miller, Vehicle Acquisition Specialist at Bo Beuckman Ford in St. Louis, MO acknowledges that VAN has made it easier to reach out to potential customers via email and text through one easy platform.
But, he said in a recent VAN University webinar, the deal doesn’t stop there. Dealers need to take that next step to connect personally, to be responsive and empathetic.
Miller advised to make sure there is follow-up. Pick up the phone after that text is sent. Learn what people like and build upon that knowledge and understanding. The pandemic created a different set of variables, challenges and opportunities for private-seller vehicle acquisitions.
Miller suggested that specialists make themselves available to the potential; show transparency, honesty, and proceed with open and forthright conversations and information..
He also emphasized that the customer should understand every detail of the process, so there are no surprises later. VAN’s process has “made it a whole lot easier to reach out to a customer."
Outreach and Follow Up
Emily Gehrke, VAN Performance Manager, points out how VAN helps precipitate and engage these prospective customers by distributing three timed, automated texts. But it is up the the dealerships to follow up personally at 15, 30, 45, 60 and possibly 90-day intervals, as circumstances often change.
Miller credited VAN’s support staff with helping him, and specifically VAN’s Aaron Hernandez with coaching and mentoring him so he understands the demand for a particular vehicle, the customer’s options based upon specific data, how to move the vehicle in a timely manner and “everything that does go into buying a vehicle from a private party individual,” he said.
Sometimes the variables change: prices, conditions, etc., affecting the overall selling price. These customers need special handling and explanations; some don’t necessarily understand market conditions. This presents a great opportunity to enlighten and educate customers, leading to greater trust and a strong relationship.
Private seller acquisition leads come primarily from the dealership’s website, Miller said. He estimated Beuckman yields 25-30 private party acquisitions a month, gleaned from approximately 1,000 listings a month.
From that, Miller estimated he is talking to 15-20 new potential customers per day. Preferred method of communication varies by customer, he said. Miller does agree that follow-up is vital.
VAN Learning Center
The ideas and talking points presented in this article come from this VAN University Best Practices webinar held in December 2020.
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