Trader Tales: Time for trading talent

Time 5:22 am, August 19, 2010

auction-stock-image-copyTHERE is so much positive talk in the trade press about the need for main dealers to retail older cars, that I feel like I am reading a newspaper article from the 18th century waxing lyrical about the riches to be found in the new world.

Of course, those articles seldom mentioned the natives looking to make blankets out of your scalp, the fact it took 18 months to get something you might have left at home and the kind of stomach complaints that would make you pray for the early invention of aloe vera infused toilet paper.

Much in the same vein, all that glitters is not gold. In my next two blogs I’ll be discussing the factors which promote this theory and why I believe it should not be a fait accompli.

The first and most important reason is the steady reduction of the retail used car parc of suitable main dealer vehicles.

If main dealers expect the kind of retail fodder they have existed on in the last few years to turn up through manufacturer re-marketing channels and open auctions then they will be sadly mistaken. It is time to work harder.

How many buyers or sales managers actively prospect their local franchised competitors for the return of their errant children? Some might for a few weeks but as soon as it goes a bit quiet they do not return to underwrite calls or give a bid to the same value of the phone call.

You should always find a home for a car offered in that manner no matter how overstocked you might be. Trade something to make way for it if the credit lines are looking a bit crackled. Not only will this result in good favour and continued supply, but it might help when it comes to disposing of something yourselves.

How many times has your dealership sent the cliche ‘we want your car’ sales prospect letter? How about it being genuinely targeted and in small manageable numbers instead of some sort of knee-jerk reaction to a slow sales period?

How many buyers or sales managers pour through the classifieds in search of prime stock? There could be a main dealer with a non-franchise car or a private punter in need of the money.

In fact, I have seen deals written to the vendor of the car in question as a further benefit of this type of activity. However, this should only be tried with sellers with sensible asking prices and by dealers with sensible bids.

No doubt there are other more obscure routes to procure the choicest cuts but in my opinion the key is consistency in approach.

There are not enough cars to meet the standards of manufacturer approved schemes but there are more than enough to satisfy those dealers who show creativity, flair and trading talent…

By James Litton

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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