Five Things You Should Know When Selling on eBay Motors

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

With a struggling economy and consumers concerned about job security and gas prices, among other issues, new auto sales have been on an extended downward trend. As such, buyers are reconsidering new vehicle purchases and focusing their attention on used vehicles.

Internet use has surpassed all other shopping methods as the source for locating the vehicle a buyer ultimately purchases among late-model used-vehicle buyers who go online during the research-to-sale process, according to J.D. Power & Association’s 2007 Used Study. In fact, the proportion of used-vehicle buyers who ultimately found the vehicle they purchased on the Internet is 10 percentage points greater than the number of shoppers who found their vehicle through the second most popular method, visiting dealer lots.

An increasing number of dealers are discovering that online used vehicle sales are a direct and efficient way to increase revenue that has been battered by a decrease in new vehicle sales and foot traffic. When selling a vehicle on eBay Motors, the rules of the road are: add complete details to listings, constantly communicate with customers and offer the same customer service you would to in-person buyers. By pricing vehicles to sell and building an online reputation, dealers can earn consumer trust and create repeat buyers.

1. The sale is in the details.  To build a solid reputation online, begin by providing every detail you have available regarding vehicles you have listed. For example, take pictures of a vehicle from all angles, including any dents, scratches or other imperfections. The buyer will find these things eventually, so it’s best to be upfront at the beginning of the process.

Accompanying the photos, a thorough description can also shed additional light on your listing. Provide complete details about the vehicle, including a list of features, the vehicle’s history, the vehicle identification number and the terms of sale.

When listing, be sure to thoroughly review vehicle protection programs and see if your listing is eligible. These programs can provide an additional level of confidence to buyers making large purchases online.

2. Constantly communicate.  Once you have finessed your listing and it is active, you must monitor it closely to watch for bidder inquiries and feedback. The more customer-friendly you are, the more potential you have to convert interested parties into buying customers.

Ensure that the contact phone number and e-mail address on your account is accurate. A serious buyer is likely to initially contact you with questions to learn more about you and your dealership and, after the bid, to finalize details. Responding in a timely manner is both expected and courteous.

3. Build a reputation.  The Internet allows consumers to search a vast selection of vehicles, read reviews and reports, compare prices and look for deals. Most importantly, they can do it all at their own convenience. It is important for dealers to take advantage of this type of consumer behavior by establishing a presence online.

Dealerships can create custom pages so potential buyers can gather information about the business and feel comfortable before making a purchase. A custom page serves as a store Web site and informs your potential customers about the dealership, its background and types of vehicles offered. It also can include frequently asked questions and any financing options.

You can include narrative content on these pages, so if your buyers regularly customize vehicles or if you also sell accessories, you should include that information as well. The more information you provide, the more opportunities you have to showcase your expertise and ultimately make a sale.

4. Price to sell.  Your customers are looking for a vehicle that is competitively priced. If you’re pricing high and expecting to negotiate, customers likely will search for another vehicle with a lower starting price.

Not only is it important to price competitively but you must also be willing to negotiate. Dealers have the option to add the “Best Offer” function to each of their listings. Best Offer allows dealers to accept offers from multiple buyers, select the best offer, and negotiate a final price.

Another option is to let bidders know that they have financing options through either your dealership or as provided through eBay Motors’s financing center. Let them know they can apply for a loan before they buy.

5. Don’t forget customer service.  Your online buyers demand the same kind of attention, service and responsiveness they would receive on the lot. Dedicating staff to your online presence will enhance your dealership, put your customers at ease and increase your sales.

Most successful dealers have an assigned sales staff handling all online activities. One or more individuals should be selected to carry the responsibility for your online sales. They can establish relationships with potential buyers and close the deal without disrupting your existing dealership operations.

Respond to questions from potential buyers promptly, whether it is through e-mail or phone. Always pay attention to the feedback your customers are giving you to help you provide even better service in the future. If you are using an eBay Motors account, be sure to monitor your official feedback. Positive feedback is especially important, as it establishes credibility and helps comfort your prospective customers when making a large purchase online.

The ability to market and sell vehicles online is becoming more critical every day. By knowing what and how to sell on an online auction site, dealers can increase their reach without major capital investments.

Vol 5, Issue 11

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