Knowledge is power

Car dealers will potentially be competing for far fewer customers this year as austerity measures bite hard into the retail sector. It will therefore be vital that they not only offer tremendous service and value for money but they also ensure that customers are offered the very best price for their part-exchange.

Many prospective buyers are becoming switched on to the fact that they need to use all the tools available to them before entering a showroom.

We are seeing an upward trend in the number of buyers who use the internet to research different models and prices, and car dealers are meeting these expectations with better quality images and in-depth descriptions of the stock they are selling. The outcome being that customers can be so much better informed about many aspects of the car buying process than at any time.

However the fact remains that gaining a satisfactory price for an existing car is somewhat of a lottery. The used car price guides available to the trade and private buyers alike are consistently at odds with eachother and dealers are constantly surprised by what happens when they run their unwanted trade- ins through the auction.

With the rise and rise of car buying websites however the buyer now has an alternative weapon in his armoury when attempting to upgrade his car and the ease with which a customer can obtain a price, or more specifically, an offer means that they can stride confidently into a showroom knowing that at the very least they have a bottom line figure with which they can position themselves when negotiating a deal.

Many buyers are taking advantage of this facility and although sites like would certainly view the whole scenario as a ‘numbers game’ there is no doubt that, as most customers are changing a car rather than disposing of one without replacing it, there is wide scope for buyers to use the facility to get a better deal when buying there next car. Not necessarily by coming in to a showroom with the cash from a sale but using the information as a lever to complete the whole transaction in the showroom.

The buyer in other words has a potent weapon that he has never had before; instead of someone’s opinion of what his car is worth he now has a confirmed bid which the dealer can either compete with or not but the customer at least has the freedom to decide if he wants to sell his car to the car buying site or accept the dealer bid.

But let’s turn the whole thing on its head and look at this from the dealer’s point of view. How easy would it be for a salesperson to determine if a customer with a part exchange had received a quote from All that is required to retrieve a quote is the registration number of the car and the email address and post code of the person requesting the price. Imagine how powerful that information would be? Armed with those three small bits of data an unscrupulous sales person could easily determine if their customer had firstly obtained a quote and secondly exactly how much they had been offered for their car.

We’re not saying any dealers would do this as it is probably illegal under the data protection act, we’re just saying they could.

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One Response to Knowledge is power

  1. Mark Robbins February 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    All of the above is fine if you actually WANT the customers part exchange, we deal on a daily basis with customers who simply cannot understand that we rarely want their part ex, it’s very simple in todays market, you have a well specified, best colour, low mileage car with all the right “want” factors, why o’ why would we want their run of the mill, gas guzzling, doom blue, high mileage, euro trash box etc etc…………

    We don’t !

    Of course we are here to deal, but in the real world the amount of wantable, saleable, customer part exchanges crossing our forecourt are minute, we wish it wasn’t so, but unfortunately it is, just how do you explain that their car no matter how clean, or low mileage, or pretty (to them) isn’t worth anywhere near what they expected?

    It’s that old old sentence that will always ring true ” We would rather keep what we have than do a deal and have to dispose of your’s “Sir or Madam”

    No, for us cash really is king !…………………………………..

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