By Jeff Scherer, Associate Partner, Callbutton LLC — I visit a lot of multiple-listing websites in my daily course of work. These include both aggregate sites and individual dealer sites. It still surprises me how many listing have either (obvious) incorrect prices or not at all.
Back in the infancy of online marketing in the automotive arena, we used to hear “well, they will call us to get a price.” While that could happen, reality proves that more often they won’t call. Also how many people that call for a price turn into “whistling gophers” after you give them one? (Most seasoned salespeople will know that reference). When that happens, you may have more difficulty establishing your cred as a real value provider vs. the lowest price king.
How you handle pricing on your web listings and on the phone is of course a corporate-defined decision. Those that display some type of price other than “call for price,” at least have an established starting conversation point with the prospect. I think boat buyers understand that there really is no MSRP guideline across manufacturers, but at least they should understand whether it’s a $20k boat or a $45k boat they’re looking at.
If your policy is to display only MSRP, then you should have a clear and defined way of explaining that to a prospect. Considering that he probably has not met you yet, dancing around the answer or try to make something up on the fly, may give that future customers a sense that you are not trustworthy, which will hamper your ability to move to the next step. Remember that today transparency is paramount in the online world.
To jump back to the auto world, you will probably be hard pressed to find a vehicle listed anywhere that does not have a price. And I can almost guarantee you that any listing that is missing a price is probably not getting any leads.
Whether you are a negotiating store or not, setting some type of price parameters on your inventory listings will start you off on the right foot with that prospect who just reached out to get some more information on that unit you need to move. Failure to do so may… well, you may never know.