They Have to Start and They Have to Stop!
My first sales manager at the independent lot I started on, made certain that from your first day there, no matter how long you stayed, he taught you everything he knew about the used car business. His opinion was, the more people knew the responsibilities of that lot, the more they would keep their eye on the ball and correct the problems. That was brilliant, in my opinion.
My first day there I asked him a question about mechanical recon on trade ins and how much money he planned to spend when he looked at a car. I think that is somewhat of an art form, when you can drive a vehicle, bring it back, appraise it and have a very close estimate of what it will cost you to prepare it for resale. He looked at me and said “the first thing you need to understand about the car business is the simplest thing to understand about the car business”.
“They have to start and they have to stop. The first thing I look for when I turn that key is how hard was it for that engine to start and what did it sound like”, he said. I thought that was profound. “When I come back from my test drive (appraising) I have tried all the creature comforts and made the decision on whether or not I want to repair or replace any of those things. When I pull up on the lot I touch, bump and back up, testing the brakes. Common sense will tell you if the vehicle stopped. Was it hard to stop, easy to stop or somewhere in the middle”.
At the end of the day you have to remember, customers are primarily going to look at two things, and they are going to detect two things when they demonstrate the car. The first two are color and tires. Nobody is going to buy a color they don’t like, they may be talked into buying a make they aren’t crazy about, but a guy driving a beige car is not going to buy a lime green car, most of the time. Next they will notice how the car starts, if it starts quick and sounds good you are off to a good start.
Next, when they are driving the car if the brakes are squealing and it’s hard to stop or they are grabbing, imagine what they are going to think. Use common sense. If I heard those words once a day, I heard them a hundred. Use common sense and one more thing I’ll share with you today, boys and girls. The thing that stuck with me the most that I learned in my young years was this simple comment, “an excuse is only for the person that’s making it”.