Vehicle Acquisition Network Blog

Connecting Dealers with Private Party Sellers

What Qualities Make Vehicle Acquisition Specialists Successful?

LC Hammer
Posted by LC Hammer on Jun 14, 2021 11:30:00 AM

How do you find the right vehicle acquisition specialist at your dealership? Is there a formula? How do you know if he or she will move the numbers?

For Garry Clift, owner of Clift Buick GMC in Adrian, MI, his system seems to be working... remarkably and increasingly well for the past five years since he joined VAN’s network. He brings his enthusiasm every day to the “processes,” he explains to VAN Co-Fouder Tom Gregg.

Clift’s statements are backed by over 40 years of experience in owning a dealership. As an owner, “I’m not that involved, but I am involved in processes,” Clift says. He constantly analyzes personality nuances in his assistant buyers to capture the secret to building vehicle acquisitions and customers. “What are the activities that make people successful? Can we record those activities?

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Connecting with customers

“The one person who’s doing a great job now is great at connecting with the customers, gets a lot of callbacks and contacts a lot of people,” Clift adds. Potential customers are naturally hesitant and untrustworthy of outside resources. After having personally sold his car not long ago, Clift says he realizes, “No wonder people are skeptical!” He admits, there are “a lot of scammers out there. 

“Whatever you can do to make the customer (trust you)--whether you send a wrapped vehicle, a video--whatever we can do to make them feel comfortable doing business with you.” A sign of our times, Clift says, is that most specialists are more comfortable texting and using social media with private parties, as opposed to speaking on the phone. “But relationships are much easier to build when you get (customers) on the phone to talk.” 

He estimates 50 to 65 percent of his customers through VAN are acquired through Facebook Marketplace.  “A lot of them don’t have phones. A lot of the challenge is (credibility).” He says these private sellers have been “beat(en) up by scammers and other dealerships when they sell online. 

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The Secret is Building Solid Relationships

“If you’re doing a good job building relationships with a customer, that’s what really counts,” Clift admits. “If you ‘hang with’ them and they like talking to us on a regular basis,” generally those people become your customers, he says. The challenge is response, first, then follow-up communications. Clift adds, “We make sure there is accountability with our staff.” 

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His assistant buyers try to be as accommodating as possible, suggesting, “I’ll come to you. What time’s good for you?” Clift says his ultimate goal is convert these private sellers into future Clift customers because of their good experience. 

“I think the advantages of being able to do business remotely are HUGE right now. I think it will continue to be.” He sees the processes for his dealership and acquisition specialists constantly evolving and improving as he works within the VAN platform.



Topics: Best Practices, acquisition team, VAN University Videos

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