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Hi guys and girls, I have just strted concentrating on used cars and Ebay. If you have had success online with used cars and EBay I would love to hear your ideas and best practices. We are a highline dealership with Audi, BMW, Hummer :(, Land Rover, Maserati, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen. All on one campus :). What best practices can you share?

Tags: Used, best, cars, ebay, practices

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This is a good subject Zack!

1. I would STRONGLY suggest that high quality photos are a place to start. And more of them.
a. You need to be noticed in a crowded market.
b. Good photos are often when stand between you and perceived credibility with a customer 1/2 way around the world.
c. Some of the Best Photographed cars in the world on e-bay are right there in Florida. Learn from them and then just beat them!

2. A paradigm shift: You are now open 24 hours a day and you are a worldwide supplier of automobiles. Make sure someone has a cell phone that is charged and ON so they can take phone calls 24/7. Also, make sure they carry used car info with them so they can speak intelligently about each vehicle (especially your e-bay stuff).

3. Create relationships with carriers and have a set plan in place on how to deal with the paperwork, reception of funds, and shipping. CLEARLY state all of your policies IN YOUR AUCTION. Remember, your seller score is your lifeblood on e-bay. It's a very good idea to have a section at the bottom of each auction with comments from customers as well.


4. Remember that your niche market cars are what will do best on e-bay....especially your more high end stuff. This is where you might want to get a C4S just LOADED with 600lbs of Macassar Wood for exaple. Then explain and photo example the details. Be prepared to back up how special these things are...customers will call you and attempt to devalue special cars or options...and as you know that is just a game of who is gonna sell who. They would not be calling you if it was not a special automobile.
Hey Tiny. Thanks for your words of wisdom. Since most of my cars do not meet reserve (most not close), what is your call process? Do you bother to call when they have not even come close to reserve. Especially if you have done a great job with photos and description?
@ Zack ~ Well the first thing I would look at is...are my photos and description really that good? Second, am I pricing myself out of the market?

The truth is most of my calls end in a sale and an early close of auction. One thing I really try to set the stage for is the fact that I am willing to deal...to a degree. "I reserve the right to close this auction early if an acceptable offer is tendered." (this also can lower you e-bay costs as well!).

My policy is that I have to have funds or significant non-refundable deposit wired and credited in the bank before I shut down the auction.

Now, if the vehicle is no where close to reserve, I am going to do two things first. #1 I am going to look at like vehicles on e-bay and see what they went for. Frankly there are some cars that just don't bring the dough on e-bay (Cuz there are a zillion of them! And actually I am going to research that before I even list the car...time is money right?). Then, I am going to do a bit of snooping. If I had a customer who bid towards the end, and he looks legit (Seller Score, and more so....what kind of things he buys), I may contact him and make an offer...but more so I am going to see where his or her head was. Why did they stop at that price? I might find that I have something ELSE that they would be interested in or that fits their budget better. Sometimes I even bid on a car just to see if a stupid offer will satisfy reserve or to see if I can get a STUPID deal on a new Porsche because the lister made some sort of mistake or they want to get rid of a car REALLY bad!

BTW if you get a C4S Targa with lots of Macassar wood in the interior you know who to call first! It would be the one with the Adaptive Sport Seats with the black/terracotta interior color...Atlas Gray Exterior. MSRP should be around $148K or so. :-)
Hi Zack,

eBayMotors is a fantastis tool to create a national audience for your more specialized vehicles. Of course eBay Local has a more localized audience for the more easily available vehicles but for the high line or more unique vehicles their national advertising listing might be just as valuable. Coincidentally, I interviewed Clayton Stanfield - the National Training Manager for eBay Motors on AdAgencyOnline.Net on our "Automotive Advertising Experts" blog talk radio show and I think that the best source for "best practices" would be for you to listen to Clayton since he focused on just that!

Here is a direct link to that show:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/adagencyonline/2008/05/16/Automotive-A...

I hope that the show will help you and confirm your instincts to set up an eBay dealership. After all, what are friends for!
Thanks for your response. I will look at the interview for more suggestions.
Zack:

I built an sold an onine auction company in the mid 90's, even before eBay Motors was on the scene and can tell you that auctions can and should be an integral part of your online marketing and should produce sold units for your dealership.

That being said, you have to understand that any online auction should have two specific goals:

1. To produce winning bidders for your posted vehicles
2. To provide you with viable contacts of in-market buyers.

If you are posting inventory with reasonable starting bids, and market appropriate reserves, you will have active bidding from people that want to (or need to) buy cars. The best outcome is to have a winning bidder on every vehicle you post on eBay.

Regardless of the outcome of the auction, if you understand that every bidder is in-market, you should absolutely follow-up with every bidder every day of your auction. Your follow-up should help you to develop rapport with these buyers while giving you insight into what their needs are and their price tolerance. From there, you can suggest other vehicles you have available, and close them on those.

Keep in mind that many of these customers pride themselves on their knowledge of the marketplace and the options that are available to them. Keep everything up front, let them know you can help with financing, and what it typically involves. Also help them understand how they can go about securing financing on their own and even provide a link or two. Obviously, make sure to explain the advantages and disadvantages of BOTH options and let them make the choice. You will be suprised at how many times people will choose to work with you just because of the options you information you offered in the auction listing.

People in auctions are attracted by the possibility of a great deal, but more often than not they are influenced by a great personality and the offer to help. People wat value for their money. If you provide value for a level of service and convenience, people will pay a bit higher price for the treatment you deliver.
Hi David, thanks for your reply. We are struggling a bit with EBay. We are finding that the only cars that sell are the rare or super low mileage cars. We don't sell many cheap cars because we prefer to retail vehicles that are under warranty. That is not to say that we don't sell the ones that are super nice even though they are out of warranty. I also think we need to tweak our process a bit. The cars easily go through service and get stuck there for 2-3 weeks sometimes even though they are under warranty. Blows my mind. We are going to start a new process in which we decide which cars might sell on EBay then send them to detail first, shoot the photos and then send to service. This will help to get them online quicker. The only problem with that is knowing our exact cost to set a proper reserve. What are your thoughts?
Hi Stan, thanks for your reply. Have a look at my reply to Dave and give me your thoughts as well.
Zach, ebay should be used as a Advertising tool, and not a selling tool. Work every bid, offer, phone call like a traditional up, and u will be successful. Less than 10% of cars actually sell on eBay. We have had luck with "buy it now" using the submit offer format. and pay for the 21 days.The eyeballs u get are second to none.

If you have the philosophy you only 1 buyer, this format will treat you well. Thanks

Michael Dealer Principal, drivebid.com 100% positive ebay feedback since 1998!
Thanks Michael.
I have used many comments and many photos when selling used cars online. Having highline vehicles and putting a good sense of humor with them will help sell!

Photos do sell & tons of info will help.

I have sold many of my personal vehicles online with Ebay and have done also well with them. Having the accurate information / description / etc.

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