Tips, tricks, and strategies for compelling private sellers to want to sell their car to you - instead of the public market.
Buying cars from the public is very different than selling cars to the public, and so acting like a salesperson rarely results in many acquisitions. Buying cars takes patience, understanding, and empathy. It’s about understanding the seller and their motivations, and acting as an advocate for their needs.
In this VINCUE Accelerate Live recording, Danny Zaslavsky, VINCUE Managing Partner and Dealer Principal at Country Hill Motors, presents tips, tricks, and strategies for compelling private sellers to want to sell their car to you – instead of the public market.
VINCUE Accelerate is an exclusive learning and networking opportunity for VINCUE customers. You can join the VINCUE Accelerate program on Facebook. If you’re not currently a VINCUE customer, you can learn more about our products and solutions online and Schedule a Test Drive below.
Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. This is Danny Zaslavsky with VINCUE and Country Hill Motors. And we’re just going to wait for a few minutes as our room builds up. But today we’re going to be talking about how to compel private sellers with the correct message, the correct process, the correct marketing motivators to sell their car to you as a car dealer. So thanks for joining me today. We’re going to hang out here just for a little bit so that the room can fill up, but as you’re joining, if you would do me a favor and in the comment section, just put your name and, or your dealership. So I know who’s in the room. And then at any point, please, please, please ask any questions that you have because I want this to be a conversation and I will absolutely jump back and respond.
So today we’re going to be talking about all things. When talking to your consumers about selling a car to your car dealership and it’s motivators. Anything that’s compelling that we want to use either through marketing channels, through messaging, what messaging should you be saying? We’re going to be tackling also what text messages should be going out to your consumers that compels them to do business with you. Because again, the goal here is we’re trying to attract not just consumers to sell us their cars, but also the right consumers, the right inventory in order to fill our lots so that we can do a good job in selling cars to the public as well. So I’m going to give it just another moment as the room fills up, we are doing a screen share today. At any point, if you have any questions, please put them into the comment section, ask questions.
You can also email [email protected] if you have any questions. In the previous accelerators we’ve done, I’ve shared takeaways like the intake form that we use when a customer comes in. If you don’t have that, you can ask your performance manager for the intake form. You can also ask for the exit interview questionnaire that we use. We’ll be touching on that today because we’re going to be talking about what video testimonials we create in order to put out on a social media, both on Facebook and YouTube in order to drive those customers. So we’ll give it just another minute and then we’re going to get started. In the meantime, I’m going to get my screen set up.
Okay. So one of the first things I want to talk about is this slide right here, and we call this kind of our Lead Gen Spider Web, and it really kind of goes to some of the motivators that we want to talk about when you’re talking to a consumer. So in the middle here is the goal of the car dealership. Any consumer that drives by a car dealership, traditionally imagines that, “Hey, that dealership is there to sell cars.” But what they don’t always think about is that that dealership also buys cars. And so obviously that’s what VNQ works to help solve that issue, but then it’s your job to start thinking about what messages do you want for the consumer to hear when you’re talking to them about selling their car? So that starts the conversation around motivators. So when a consumer wants to sell their car, often it’s not just for the whole reason that we think which is this one right here that they just need cash now, they want money.
Sometimes it’s getting rid of a car payment. Maybe they want to get out of debt. And that is something that a dealership is really strong at, because they’ll do all the paperwork for the consumer. Obviously our money’s good, so they’ll write a check that’ll clear. That’s a really big deal. They don’t have to worry about anything else. Sometimes they want to get rid of a car that they don’t need because their life has changed. And so the very first step in these conversations that we’re having with consumers is understanding their motivators. So simply ask the question, why are you selling the car? And then listen, because that will drive the rest of the conversation as you are doing the deal. And so if they say, “Hey, I’m trying to get rid of a car payment.” You can ask, “That’s awesome. What are you going to be driving after you get rid of the car?” And they’ll say, “Well, I need something less expensive.”
That opens the door to another conversation around replacing that vehicle. Or if in the chance that they’re getting a car from their in law or their brother, sister, mother, whoever. This is just going to be an acquisition conversation, so no problem.
This is probably one of the most important foundational things that we want to spend some time on because from this, we begin to birth the spider web of messages in kind of what content is going to be created out of those messages. So you can see here life change. They may need cash now, they may need to get rid of a payment. And then we come up here to content. And content, we’re going to spend some time on, but if you have a digital marketing agency, like for instance, Dealer World is one that we like and we work with because they know how to make good quality acquisition content, whether it be email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, YouTube, television, radio campaigns.
The important thing is we know what types we need to create. So an anchor ad, just for a quick description, an anchor ad is anything that tells the whole story. Meaning we want the consumer to know what we are selling or offering how that’s called action, what they need to do in order to engage, and then what they will get out of that engagement. So, “Hey, my name is Danny with Country Hill Motors. Did you know that we can help get rid of your payment by taking care of all the paperwork you need when selling your car and you don’t even have to buy a car from us. Beyond that, we pay up to 250 more than CarMax or Carvana or Vroom. That’s our guarantee. Please go to sellthecountryhill.com in order to start that process.”
So that’s a whole anchor ad, right? It tells the whole story. Then you can take pieces of that and put it into social media, television, radio, and so forth. So let’s take a step back because I think something that’s important to talk about before we get into some of these motivators is foundationally your org chart at your car dealership. Now I’ve had car dealerships ask us like, “Should I have salespeople be on the front lines of buying cars from the public?”
I will tell you if that’s your whole strategy, that’s going to be a tough way to really scale over a hundred. And so we put this slide together a little bit as a joke, but there’s also some truth in it. Salespeople are really transactionally motivated. I was a sales person for 12 years. I know what it feels like to be thinking about the deal that’s in front of you in the next deal.
We’re also a little bit part animal, part human, because we really get instant gratification out of making a deal. And on the selling side, it works a little bit different. Salespeople also act as an advocate for the product, the product being what they’re selling and on the buying side, on the acquisition side, we really turn that on its head because buying agents are relationship motivated. So we’re really working to talk to the consumer and build rapport and earn their trust through a combination of data that we use when showing them what their vehicle’s worth. But then also through showing them that we have a team of people behind us that will also help them because again, a car dealership solves a lot of pains. Like our money is good. We do all the paperwork, a lot of pain points that consumers have. That brings me to a buying agent is also part educator part best friend.
Now in VINCUE, an example that I’ve used in previous accelerators is the tab that says sales, which is where our sales, retail, sales, transaction history lives. Because consumers often come in and say, “Hey, I want 20 grand for my car.” And that agent may say, “Well, where did you come up with that 20,000? Tell us how you valued your car.” And they’ll say, “Well, I went online and I saw other ones like mine selling for 20,000.” Then you can say, “Well, were are they selling for 20,000, or are they asking $20,000 for the car? And are they individuals, or are they dealers? Because dealers obviously do reconditioning to the vehicle, certification to the vehicle. They spend money on the car and plus they want to make a little bit of profit. So let me show you what they’re leaving the internet for.”
And that you can see in VINCUE under the sales tab. And we’ll get to that in here in just a little bit when in case you don’t know. Again, for those of you just joining, if you have any questions today about motivators and about how to attract, please put your information, who you are and what dealership you’re with and ask your question in the comments, and I’ll get to it while we’re here.
So as a buying agent, remember the foundation is you’re acting as an advocate for the seller. Now in a good vehicle buying center, you have what I call a wing person, a wing man. And the wing man’s job is to be able to help you with the appraisal itself. So wing man could be somebody at the sales tower that helps the buying center make good decisions on vehicles, not just what they’re buying, but how much they’re paying for.
It helps them [inaudible 00:09:58] the deal, just like in a sales environment, in an acquisition environment. Sometimes you need TO’s. As well. That way we’re using the right data to acquire the vehicle. The goal isn’t to steal cars off the street, the goal is to pay what they’re worth. And in order to do that, sometimes you got to involve other parts of the dealership. The other part here, and this is where it really gets fun for the compelling side is having a wing person on the digital side. So many car dealerships nowadays have a digital marketing department or digital marketing person at my dealership that gentleman’s name is Dante and Dante’s job among many things is to write good descriptions on vehicles, to make sure that options features and packages are being coded correctly and on being put correctly on the BDP. But also his job is to get out in front of those acquisition consumers that are in our car dealership, wanting to sell their car and asking them after they’ve made the decision to sell their car, how their experience was.
So this is probably if you’re going to take anything away from today, this is probably one of the most important things. We’ll do this together, actually, if you go to YouTube and just type in Sell to Country Hill Motors, you’ll see, we created a whole playlist dedicated to just selling your car to Country Hill Motors. And in here, I’m going to pause this, are a combination of anchor ads, as well as testimonials from consumers that have sold us, their car. Something I want to point out and I’m going to find one specifically here that I think is a good example of what we’re trying to communicate. Here, this one is April. So April sold her car to Country Hill Motors. If I, Danny was a consumer and I was getting a call from somebody and they said, “Hey, this is so-and-so with Country Hill Motors. And I’m interested in buying your car.” What I hear as a consumer, “Hey, this is so-and-so with Country Hill Motors. And I want to give you wholesale.”
The biggest issue that consumers have with selling their car to a dealer is they think that the dealer’s not going to give them enough money. And so what we use is other consumers alleviating their fears, right? So in our exit interview, we ask, “Did you get enough for your vehicle?” And let’s hear what April had to say.
[VIDEO] 2015 Tesla Model S and Sydney was fantastic. She made things very simple and easy. She actually gave us more than what we were kind of our baseline was. So she was fantastic. I would definitely come back again.
So part of that exit interview is asking, “Did you get enough for your car? How is your experience?” Not every one of our consumers that is selling us a car agrees to do a video testimonial, but 1 in 10 do, and buying a hundred cars a month gives us 10 new testimonials a month to be able to use in email marketing campaigns, to be able to use in social media, to be able to use in store on our cell to page. And these are really, really powerful because these are other consumers saying, “Hey, I got exactly what I wanted for the car.” Or, “I got more than I wanted for the car.” Which is true because that’s what we work really hard. So it’s fighting that stigma of dealers not giving enough for their vehicle.
Now, back to that org chart, Dante our digital marketing person within the store or whoever your digital marketing person is within your store is the person that comes to the consumer at the end of the deal, sits down, does a quick exit interview. And then also let me show you this form that we share with the consumer.
All right, brought it up here. So tell us about your car. This form asks… Obviously your make model, “what did you love most about your car? Please share a few fun facts about your vehicle for the next owner.” And then what happens is this goes into the packet and Dante takes this information and puts it into the comments of the vehicle when it goes up online on the BDP. So that the next owner can read a little bit about what the previous owner had to say about their car. And it’s a really fun and engaging and consumers really like that. So I’m going to pause for a second, if there’s any questions for those of you that are with us today that may have a vehicle buying center that’s existing already. You may just be starting up. You may have one that already buys over 50 cars a month. Please ask me any questions. And we’re going to continue kind of talking about motivators and creating compelling messaging.
All right. If you have any questions, just put them in the comments. Otherwise you can also at any point, just email [email protected] And we can email you any of these elements that I’m showing today to make sure that you have them installed in your store and using. So what we just touched on a minute ago is creating these exit interviews. These exit interviews are really important to grow your vehicle buying center, because again, they speak from consumer to consumer and alleviate any of those fears of not getting enough for your car, it being a burden to sell your vehicle. These consumers are proof that that issue doesn’t exist at the car dealership. And then we even create a little mashup that brings consumers together. And we’ll look at this one and we’ll jump into motivators.
And she was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had selling a car.
The service people were great over there. The buyers over here were great.
Whole process was easy and seamless. The communication is good.
Very, very smoothly. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Just made my situation easy.
[inaudible 00:16:39] really great. They worked with me.
It was simple and easy. And in and out the plate.
10 out of 10, I would definitely recommend coming down here if you need to sell your car or even purchase a car today.
Okay? So those motivators are important. If you picked up on the conversations that the consumer was having as a leave behind with testimonial, we try to coach them to say, “Hey, look as a dealer, we have these issues. Consumers think we’re not going to give them enough, or that it’s hard. Can you tell us about your experience? Was it hard? Did you get what you wanted?” And then consumers are quick to share their true and honest experience. And then we’re able to post those online and put, spend behind them to get them out in front of other consumers who might be thinking about selling their car.
Okay. So we’re going to get into kind of talking about when you’re in VINCUE and you’re going through inventory and you see, “Hey, I want to reach out to this person on Craigslist from an outbound perspective.” Or, “I want to respond to this ICO customer.” Or, “I want to respond to this inbound customer that might be wanting to sell a car.” What should we be saying? And what the conversation should look like?
So I’m going to actually open up Microsoft Word here, because I think this is a fun way to do it. And we’ll kind of say, let’s start with the bad. So often a very easy things to say is, “Is it still available?” Oops.
So that question, I will tell you won’t get you very far because that’s kind of what everybody says or here’s another bad one. “Hi, this is Danny with Country Hill Motors. I am a vehicle buying agent, and I would like to talk to you about selling your car to Country Hill Motors. Is now a good time to talk?” So although sounds very nice, I will tell you, this is not a good message to send to a consumer. Think about if you got that yourself, it feels scripted. It certainly feels a little bit robotic and it also feels even a bit spammy. So let’s kind of get into what the good messages are and I’ll make these even bigger. So we can talk about that.
So, in example, let’s say that there is a, we can see online, Joe has a 2018 Honda Accord EX-L Coupe online, right? And now we want to message Joe and say, “Hey. That’s a cool car.” So here is how a good message could go. “Hi Joe, this is Danny. I saw your Accord Coupe online and have always thought they were cool. Would you mind sharing the VIN number so I can research it a bit more?”
So notice something we asked for right here is a VIN number. Often consumers do not put VIN numbers online when selling their car. And this is something that’s important to us because we can see the vehicle history on it. We would be able to decode it better so we can see options, features, packages, hopefully see original windows sticker on the car and then properly bid the vehicle.
We’re not lying to the customer in any way. We’re genuinely interested in the car and we genuinely want to give them our highest and best offer. So a message of this style often gets the best response. The next thing here, notice I didn’t say that I was with Country Hill Motors because quite frankly, or dealership, quite frankly it doesn’t matter.
It’s irrelevant because I’m a person engaging with another person wanting to buy a car. And we want to make sure that if we know that Joe is now asking call it, $17,500 for his car, we want to be able to identify is that even close to what we want to pay for it? And so let’s say that the appraiser then gets a V I N on it, and then figures out it is worth up to 16 500, right? So it looks like we’re a thousand dollars apart on the car. At this, the question that the appraiser should be asking either him or herself or the desk is whether or not that number is what we call highest and best. As a dealer, we know what this vehicle would bring at the auction if we were raising our hand and trying to buy the car and what we would pay, and often we pay what’s called expert tax, right?
We get bid up. So you want to identify, is this the highest and best based on the vehicle? Now, if the vehicle has any issues, obviously we can devalue the car. So once the consumer sends that value, the very next thing that we ask, “Thanks, Joe, can you let me know, are there any cosmetic issues, dents or accidents or things I should know. Also any mechanical needs. Does it need breaks? Does it need belts? Does it need hoses?” Part of this is it gets the consumer thinking about any needs of the car, but also gives us the information that we need in order to figure out what it’s worth. And then once the consumer responds and let’s say, Nope, the car’s perfect. It’s a one owner. Doesn’t have any scratches, not even a ding. And he just put brand new tires and brakes on it. And that’s the only thing it needed.
At this point, once we figured out what our highest invest is, let’s say it’s still 16,500. Then at that point, you can say, “Thank you, Joe. I feel like I may be close to your number. Most likely between 16 and 17, $1,000. Would that be worth setting up a time to see it?”
At that point, the customer says yes or no, right? This is a really good indicator because what we don’t want to do is just say, “Well, why don’t you just bring it in? And we’ll see what we can do.” Our goal is to get us close, to making a deal digitally as possible. You know, all of this is captured within VINCUE in the note section so that that anybody can pick up that vehicle file and see exactly what that vehicle is worth. Okay.
In this case, I will tell you, nine times out of 10, a consumer will say, “Yep, that’s pretty close.” Because what they see is this number and quite frankly, if it’s as nice as they say it is, most likely I will buy the car.
At this point, this is the time where you can say, “Awesome. I am with Country Hill Motors. I’ve been looking at your car online for a few days out. Does tomorrow at 2:00 PM sound for you to come by with it?” Notice I assumed that they would be bringing it to us. And if they push on that at all, we always say, “Hey, our service departments here and our checkbook is here and we just need to put our eyes on it and we can write you a check. That part doesn’t take very long.” So this is really kind of the conversation that happens. And in the point of what we call acquisition TO, often happens right around the appraisal. And if there are any mechanical or cosmetic needs that we should be talking about.
So I’m going to pause here for a second. See if anybody has any questions specifically around the messaging that goes out to a consumer when you’re texting as a VBC agent or possibly over the phone, or however you’re communicating with them.
Just put questions in the comments if you have any.
So one of the things that we learned early on when communicating with a customer, you guys have heard of what we call multi channel marketing, right? So that’s putting your product on all sorts of channels, whether it be social media, television, radio, and so forth. There’s also something called multi channel communication. And so one of the lessons here is you should be asking your consumer how they would like to connect.
So an example is, if Joe is a 55 year old guy, he may not like texting. Joe does not like texting, but you don’t know that. And we assume because our managers are telling us, “Hey, texting is the way the future. You need to be texting.” But in the meantime, we’re making Joe upset every time we send them a message. And so we should be asking, Joe, “How would you like to connect? Do you prefer to text? Or do you want me to call you?”
That is a great question. And then Joe might say, “Oh my gosh, let’s just talk on the phone because these fingers don’t do well texting.” And then now all of a sudden, you’re even more valuable to Joe because you’re accommodating him and kind of going back to that, those motivators, you’re really speaking to his motivators. Now, if Joe is a 25 year old guy who loves texting and does not like talking over the phone because talking over the phone in this case is a point of friction, right? They think that, “Hey, well, if I can get them on the phone, then he’s just going to weasel Nader, or pin me into a corner that I don’t want to be in. So no, I’d rather text.” Joe feels like he has more control texting. That’s okay, because we know our intentions is just to provide value and work, to buy the car with providing the right data. So again, asking how they would like to connect is really, really important.
All right. So we have about 10 minutes left. And if there’s any questions from anybody before we start covering a little bit more around, highest authentic value in turn and those types of things, please put them into the comment section. If you guys have questions and I will make sure to respond, but at any point you can also email [email protected] or get with your performance manager. A lot of these training docs that we talked about earlier, and I presented in previous accelerates like the pre-inspection questionnaire, the payoff difference, acknowledgement form, even job description or this VBC exit interview. All those are are available to you. And we can just email and you can use in your vehicle buying center to make the best use of your vehicle buying center agent’s time and your consumer’s time.
So the next thing I want to talk about is a gross in turn. And then something we like to say, which is highest authentic value. So highest authentic value when we own a car means we want to make sure that we go in and we merchandise the vehicle so that all the correct options features, packages, photos, dealer exclusive items like warranty, reconditioning certification, any of those things that exist, that increase the value of the car above and beyond price, right? Because we can look at it as a commodity, but when we step back from a product, specifically a used product that has all this additional value, then in contrast to another vehicle that may not have new tires and brakes and is certified and came from a one owner family. Now all of a sudden the car that is has a higher value, even if it’s the same price or even if it’s a little bit more and as a consumer, I’d be drawn to whatever has the highest authentic value.
And so that’s really important and we work really hard within VINCUE to give you the leverage to be able to pull so that you can communicate that out to the world. Now in a acquisition space, it works the same. You want to be able to get the highest effective value information from the consumer when you’re talking to them. So questions like, “Have you done anything to the vehicle that makes it more valuable in the last call it year?” And that includes service. Find out, ask those questions. You ca be texting right here within the platform and ask those questions and get them and then add them to the VBC offer right within here, within the notes. So that when anybody is looking at that vehicle, in this case, it’s a 2019 Civic Sport. We can text back and forth and this consumer wanted $19,000 for the car.
It looks like, “Hey, check this out. I was at 18,100. So we’re pretty close.” Book value retails around 20 grand. So this seems like it’s got a deal written all over it, but we need to know, is there anything about the car that we should know that increases the value of the car, because then we’re able to also communicate it. That also brings us in to gross and churn. So Vin Cue gives you the ability to see if you actually need the car. And from a VBC agent’s perspective, they need a little direction on how hot is the car in front of them. And so if you see in this top right corner, “I’ve sold 19 of these cars. I have 16, I need three.” We’ll be doing a future accelerate on how do identify what vehicles, especially from an outbound perspective, you should be going after.
But if you have Vin Cue access already, on the left side, just go over and you can work ahead a little bit and go into the acquisition tab and go to your buying plan and also go to your own sales. And then what we call a market demand report, all three of those things exist within Vin Cue that you can see today, and it’ll help you understand, what’s selling in my area? What are people clicking on? And what’s selling at my car dealership and what’s going to be selling as the market continues to change, whether it’s because the seasons change or because there’s inventory flooding in or leaving. And so where’s the scarcity and then go find it within these private party channels, whether it be Facebook or Autotrader CarGurus, or Craigslist right here in Vin Cue.
So that completes kind of the full cycle where you know what you need, you’re going out and buying it, putting it into the system and able to turn it at significantly faster rate than if you were just buying cars at the auction and not using all these insights in order to make good quality decisions.
So we have about five minutes left. If there’s any questions, please put them in the comments. I’d love to answer them today. We covered motivators. We talked a little bit about your org chart within your car to a car dealership, but from an acquisition standpoint, know the players that need to be involved in this game specifically are obviously a VBC agent, a digital marketing person that’s going to help understand what the motivators are of the consumers so that he or she can put proper messaging out to the world. And then also grab these testimonials to be able to start building a library, whether it be on YouTube or Facebook or all the above so that other consumers know that, “Hey, we’re a buying center and we’re serious about buying your car.”
Something else we talked about is the type of content. Remember, you can go to YouTube and see some of ours, but I encourage you to make ones that are even better because I certainly want to learn from you as well. Something we didn’t talk about is mailers and email or emailers, right? And then using QR codes that drive consumers to a cell to page, whether it be a QR code, the size of a” banner on your building, that people can just scan and take to the cell to page, or if it’s a hang tag that lives in your service department and goes on cars that are leaving your service department so that consumers know that, Hey, we’re interested in buying your car and we can give you an offer right now.”
Those are other ways that we can drive leads into the inbound and have meaningful conversations in order to make these acquisitions. Something else we covered was that multi-channel communications. So whether you’re texting, calling, or emailing, but really identifying in asking the consumer how they want to be communicated with. And then the very last thing is remembering that as vehicle buying agents, we are acting on behalf of the seller, not of the product. Meaning, the product is really the relationship that you’re building with the consumer in order to give them the correct data. And so the last thing I’ll show you before we’re jumping off here is on the data side. Remember earlier, I said consumers has consumers have access to see their own vehicle listed online and comparables. Like they can go on cars.com and see, right. But what they can’t see is similar vehicles… Excuse me, that’s the motor vehicle sales. Sales data. And sales data shows them what vehicles are leaving the internet at what price and where and how fast.
And so as dealers, we have the ability to see this within Vin Cue and then say, “Hey, look, I know you’re asking 24 grand, but let me show you dealers who start near 24 grand ended up leaving around 22 grand. That’s where these cars end up selling. So that’s why we’re offering you what we’re offering you because that’s not actually what they’re selling for in on top of that, we still want to recondition the car service, the car, certify the car and so forth and make a little bit of profit.”
Okay. So I hope this was helpful today. If you have any questions for me, you can absolutely email me at [email protected] Or if you have questions for your performance manager, or if you need any of the articles that I share today, you can go to a [email protected] But thanks for hanging out with me for just a little bit today, our goal is to help dealers as a dealer body compete with the juggernauts like Vroom and Carvana and CarMax who… Specifically CarMax have been, has been buying cars from the public for over a decade now. And as a dealer body, this is the way that we stay in the game and continue to help our consumers with solving their problems. So thanks again for joining me today and we’ll see you next.