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I recently received a message on behalf of a dealership client that we help with their social media efforts. It was a customer venting in a private message about shopping for a car on their website and the huge frustration he felt when every vehicle listed had the dreaded “Call for price” He was so frustrated in fact, that he went somewhere else and purchased that same day, even though he had bought his last three vehicles with this dealership.
My thoughts are that “call for price” is a practice driven by fear. I can relate to the guy sending this message. If I am on a dealership website and it says “call for price”, I am moving on to the next dealership. It tells me they don’t believe in their pricing model and they are afraid that if they share the price with me, I will buy somewhere else. Fear is an ugly beast. When you fear something so much that it changes your behavior, that change in behavior will likely cause your fears to come true. This dealership, for whatever reason, feared listing their price. They were afraid the customer wouldn’t buy and they were right. He got so frustrated by the lack of price he ruled them out and bought down the street.
I absolutely love a statement the customer made in his message. He said “Websites should be there to make it convenient for the customer, not to frustrate them with strategic antics.” From the mouth of the consumer, this is probably the best advice he could offer any dealership. Think like the consumer, put yourself in their shoes. Would you be frustrated at the “call for price”? How about multiple calls to action that do the exact same thing hoping one works? Pop-ups? Pop-unders or exit gadgets? Bouncy chat windows? All of these actions, in my opinion, are driven by fear. Fear that a consumer will get on your site and find a reason not to buy.
There are ways to give the customer the info they need without laying it all out on the table for your competitors to see. Most websites today offer multiple pricing options. I see many, using new as an example, list MSRP, our price, and then have a call to action indicating a “No Haggle” or “VIP” price. Personally, I appreciate that strategy. It gives an indication of what the pricing may be, but also gives me incentive to make contact with the dealership. We could also spend time on adding more detail to our sites to help educate the customer on why they should choose us. Some examples are adding a “why buy” section on your VDPs, including details about the inspection process all of your used inventory go through, and describing services after the sale that are unique to your dealership. No two dealerships are alike. There are things in your store that are compelling reasons to choose you. If you focus on those reasons, price is much less of an issue.
“Do you know what you’re afraid of? Awareness of a fear is the first step to releasing it, someone who isn’t aware of their fears is controlled by those fears.” Random blog post I read about fear.