Updated: Jan 27
I sold my first exotic vehicle to a customer from Russia in 2005 for $125,000.00 US Dollars. It was a 2003 Bentley Continental GT Coupe that I had listed on eBay Motors. I had only been in the business for 3 months. Some may call it luck but trust me I know what that feels like. On my first day in the car business, I sold a 2002 Mercedes Benz G500 aka G Wagon for $49,000.00 US Dollars to a woman that walked in the side door. Her exact words were "Is this Black 2002 G500 still for sale? If it is my husband will be here in an hour to purchase it." I was so nervous that I ran to the finance manager's office, stuttering and fumbling with an empty folder in my hand. He did the entire deal for me. There was no test drive, we didn't discuss price, they financed the vehicle, bought warranty/gap/tire & wheel protection/paint & seal. I think everyone gets the drift. BTW Thanks Lam, I will never forget that day. We sold 17 more that month.
So back to the Bentley. After being promoted from the floor to eBay Manager which was our version of "Internet Department" back then I learned the power or Perceived Value. Because most of the customers that I sold vehicles to, lived in different states, or this case another country. There was a reason they were calling from thousands of miles away. We had the car they wanted. It was the right color, had the right options, and was priced in line with the market. All they wanted was an honest assessment of the vehicle's condition, if there were any issues, what was the vehicle's service history, and of course, did it have two keys. When and if price/discounts came up I knew this was not going to be a deal killer. Why was I so confident? Because I did extensive market research on every vehicle before they were listed on eBay to determine if it was even worth it. We spent a lot of money to list cars on eBay. 10,000.00 was a light month. Not to mention time. Each vehicle had 70-100 pictures. The description writing process was exhausting. Not to mention you had to check each option box off. Then every 7-14 days, go back to research the market and make the correct price adjustments if needed and re-list it. It was a lot of work, but I sold 30+ cars a month consistently. Not to mention I sold four more Bentley Continental GT's to the same customer in 6 months.
Selling cars is easy if you want to be in the race to the bottom game. Anyone can sell a car at 85%-88% of the retail market. Why not break the cycle and start focusing on perceived value. I've personally bought, shipped, managed recon, photographed, listed, priced, merchandised, and ran a store all at the same time. It was brain damage, but I'm a car guy and loved every second.