We all know it’s coming, at least most of us do. The local, state, and federal governments are starting to really crack down on what they’re calling “deceptive” marketing practices when it comes to vehicle pricing. Eventually, everyone will have to be completely compliant, but there are actually three good reasons to get started now instead of waiting.
It works out like this: dealers are going to be forced to reveal their path to the price. If they advertise a price, whether it’s on their website, Craigslist, or the newspaper, they have to make it easy for a customer to see the details of the incentives used to get to that price. This allows for no surprises once they get to the dealership, only to be told that they didn’t qualify for the price listed because they didn’t get a military discount.
Whether you think this is a good or necessary idea or not is irrelevant at this point. It’s happening. The FTC mandated it last year and DAs at every level are starting to enforce it. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to apply this at your dealership.
1. Practice and Preparation Make Perfect
Many dealers might want to try to wait until the last minute because they have an advantage by advertising pricing lower than competitors, but there’s a risk. This is not one of those “plug and play” changes that can be easily done on 3rd party sites or your website. In fact, Automark Solutions is the only company that we’ve seen so far that actually has the system automated. If you’re going to do it manually, you’d better start getting used to it now. Nobody can afford to wait until they’re under scrutiny before putting a system in place.
2. This is a Marketing Opportunity
There’s a “double dipping” that can take place with a single sentence message if you put it boldly on your website. The message is something like this:
“Rucker Honda is the ONLY dealer in the tri-state area that has adopted a 100% transparent pricing model. See every cost, discount, and detail available so you know for sure that the price you see is the price you’ll receive.”
Did you see what we did there? You’re promoting your own awesome pricing model while casting doubt on your competitors. Beautiful!
3. It’s the Right Thing to Do
I will never forget the first time when I was selling cars and a customer walked out on me because the advertised price wasn’t the price I was bringing them in the first pencil. It almost came to blows… and that was from the wife!
In the modern digital age, transparency is the name of the game. Our old tricks that gave the industry a bad reputation in the past should be eliminated. Bait and switch might work, but at what cost? Do we really have to make it a “buyer beware” culture anymore? I think not.