Wheeler Dealer host and used car specialist Mike Brewer knows a thing or two about selling cars – so who better to give me a pep talk than the man himself?
As part of my plan to set up a used car dealership with as much help as possible from AI, this week I’ve set about getting some advice from some humans.
My first port of call was to see Used Car Awards host Brewer, who started his career selling cars in a used car dealership.
In fact, he got his big break on television when a producer from Channel 4 called the showroom he was working in and was so impressed with his patter that they offered him a screen test. The rest is history.
I pitched my plans to Brewer for the first time in the latest episode of The AI Car Dealership Project, which has just gone live on our YouTube channel. You can watch it now at the top of this post.
If you missed the first episode, I can confirm this isn’t a joke.
I really am working on getting myself set up to sell used cars with the help of ChatGPT. While I’ll be documenting my progress for this website and our YouTube channel, I genuinely want it to work.
‘Used car dealerships aren’t easy to set up from the ground, because people tend to want to go to an established business that has got reviews,’ warned Brewer.
‘But, with you behind it, and the people you know in the industry, I can see it working.
‘I think it’s a really good idea tapping into AI. It’s a really clever resource. But be aware this is going to cost you a lot of money.’
Brewer also gives me advice on funding the business, details how small margins can be when selling used cars and explains how it’s a trial and error process working out what to sell in your local area.
I even asked him for some tips on selling cars.
Brewer said: ‘The biggest key to selling a car is just being honest. Never lie, never cheat – be as open and as and as frank as possible about the car.
‘Make sure your pricing is as keen as it possibly can be. It doesn’t have to be thousands cheaper than the equivalent car up the road, it just needs to be keener than that car, or the offering has to be better.
‘And remember the best advertising you can have is happy customers. They’ll tell their neighbours and their friends, so keep them happy.’
My business plan is quite simple. I’m going to start my new venture like any other wannabe car dealer would, by selling their first few cars without a site, but I plan to rapidly build up to my own forecourt – all while using AI to help.
I don’t actually know quite where AI will assist me yet, but I’ve been referring to ChatGPT in the first instance for all decisions.
Brewer suggested I use it to help write my adverts to save time and to keep an eye on used car prices.
The Wheeler Dealer star also liked the name ChatGPT has come up with for the business – the Clever Car Collection Ltd.
‘I’d buy a car from someone called the Clever Car Company,’ added Brewer.
Also in this latest episode, I head to used car specialists Avalon Motor Company, in Glastonbury, to chat to sales manager Matt Ruddle about his business.
He gives me some tips on how I could use AI and gives me some ideas on ensuring up-sale opportunities that are of genuine benefit to customers are included in my planning.
The latest episode ends with a pitch to my local franchised dealership boss, Brett Duke, of Fine Cars in Gosport.
Ahead of the meeting with the Kia and SsangYong dealer I asked ChartGPT how to approach it and what it thought I should ask him to help me with. Its suggestions were very sensible and actually rather useful. I came away from that meeting inspired and with some genuine offers to help me as I get things up and running.
My next steps will be setting up the company officially, getting a bank account sorted and planning a website. All things I expect AI to assist me with. More on that next time.
You can follow the series by subscribing to our YouTube channel.