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Inventory Insights from Wiesner of Huntsville

Article Highlights:

  • Inventory struggles have no end in sight.
  • 4 ways to acquire inventory in 2022.

For over a year now, low vehicle inventory has challenged dealers to think outside the box. Creativity is surely welcomed, but let’s not forget about the basics.

General Manager at Wiesner of Huntsville, Clint McLaren, recently shared his perspective on the current inventory landscape, and what his dealership is doing to acquire it. Here are four insights from my conversation with him:

  1. Advertising

Whether it be on the radio or billboards or through digital channels, any opportunity to get in front of customers is a step in the right direction. Also consider the resources you already have and use them to your advantage. Take your website for example. If customers are coming to your website searching for a new car, they very well may be interested in trading their current vehicle, especially if you are willing to give them a great deal. Lure them in with a promotional offer they can’t refuse, which leads to insight #2…

  1. Scour Your Database

A lot of times, people who are willing to buy or trade in their vehicle are already in your store. Approaching a customer about an upgrade or trade while they’re in for service has proven to be a great opportunity to acquire used inventory. There’s something about coming in for a routine oil change and potentially walking away with a newer vehicle or nice check instead that makes the customer feel less pressured and honestly more interested. Consider presenting the offer in ways that make them feel valued. “Mr. Customer, your vehicle is in such high demand.” “Mr. Customer, as one of our best customers, I want to give you the best deal.”

  1. Old-Fashioned Sourcing

Sure, intuitive technology has transformed modern day retailing, but there’s nothing wrong with finding inventory the old-fashioned way too. Newspapers, believe it or not, are still around and people do in fact place ads there. The more modern version of these types of ads can be found on websites like Facebook Marketplace. With search criteria that can be filtered to distance or traditional vehicle information such as make and model, you can find almost exactly what you’re looking for. As I write this, there are more than 200 vehicle listings on Facebook Marketplace in my area, within just 35 miles. You’re bound to scoop up a vehicle of your own listed in your area!

Bonus tip: When contacting these sellers, be persistent. If they don’t answer the phone the first time you call, leave a voicemail. Don’t be afraid to follow-up with a text or email. And if you have to, keep calling. Layering in different communication methods helps meet them on their terms. Remember, these are people actively trying to sell their vehicle so being persistent won’t hurt the experience.

  1. Focus on Turn

In today’s world, there are only so many vehicles coming out of the factories. The faster you can turn what you do have, the more likely you are to get better allocation going forward. Rather than marking up every vehicle as high as possible, focus on landing at a fair price – fair for the dealership, fair for the customer, fair for everyone. Keeping prices at MSRP shows the customer you’re in business to make a deal, but you’re also not going to rip them off.

Experts aren’t predicting the inventory challenge to end any time soon. Mixing traditional and creative sourcing strategies is bound to amp up your inventory game. Check out our full conversation here.

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Brand Marketing, Vice President, Reynolds and Reynolds

Greg Uland is the vice president of brand marketing for Reynolds and Reynolds. He is responsible for customer communications and understanding and defining Reynolds unique position in the automotive retailing market. During his career with Reynolds, he has established a background in fixed operations, sales, and dealership marketing.

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