Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

Pricing Information and How Much do Shoppers Really NEED?

How much pricing information do vehicle shoppers really need?

The quick answer is… more than none.

Not all customers are price driven, but almost all are price CONSCIOUS. You need to believe this is the universal truth.

Enough data has been shared over the last several years to prove that displaying a discounted price from the MSRP on a new vehicle online yields more showroom traffic and sales, though often less leads. We’re already past that argument. Surprisingly, though, another debate is rearing its ugly head. For this discussion, we’re going to focus on customers that submit an internet inquiry. The decision as to whether or not email a discounted price on the first response is still hotly debated. With that said, the call-to-actions on your SRP and VDP will determine what information you first offer, making this a no-brainer.

Far too often, I see inquiries responded to with nary a mention of price because, as the Internet or BDC team tell it, “they didn’t ask for price.” Realize the majority of CTAs on dealer websites are price focused. If the wording on your form field submission buttons allude to the provision of a quote, you need to come out of the gate in your first email with a quote. If that CTA involves confirming availability or scheduling a test drive, you need to respond with information regarding the vehicle’s availability or the timing, location, and framework of a test drive. Along with that, you must also at least address the price.

Just because the CTA doesn’t involve price doesn’t mean you get to avoid the topic. The moment you withhold it is the moment the shopper at home believes you’re attempting to hide it. Don’t run from your pricing as a topic of conversation. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog about overcoming price objections, I stated a customer asking for the price isn’t an objection. It’s a question.

With more and more websites dedicated to justifying, ranking or validating pricing of inventory, it is foolish to shy away from reconfirming your discounted price with your online customers or lead prospects. It isn’t a requirement to provide a greater discount of your online price in your first email response to a lead prospect, but a price confirmation they deserve nonetheless. Again, price may not be the driver of their decision, but will always play a role.

In some major metro markets, it is customary to send email prospects the out-the-door price, payment information, finance rate details, or lease payments. How much you choose to share is entirely an internal decision, but a price must be shared regardless. As digital retailing begins to take hold, dealers will need to be more comfortable than ever with the belief that price presentation and negotiation begins (and can end) online, and isn’t just an element of the showroom process. Making a rule to avoid the topic of price in email correspondence and instead waiting to address it in the showroom is a folly.

How much pricing information do shoppers need before coming in?

Enough to help them make a decision. Whether it is a little or a lot is determined by the needs of the customer, not the desire of the dealer. Addressing price sooner rather than later can win you both the price-driven and the price-conscious.

Avoiding it earns you nothing.

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Automotive trainer and consultant. I'm also a writer, speaker, movie buff, and Dad. --President of DealerKnows--