Valuable? Car Buying Experience

I recently helped a customer actually not buy a car from me, and they told me that it was such a great experience, proceeded to thank me.  Wow.

I’m in the business to sell cars.  Or are we?  I like to think the cars sell themselves and people just buy because they like me.  Reality check # 1:  It’s a mix of both perhaps.  Oh there’s a little thing called marketing and advertising, no it’s a real thing $$$$, but this is where value and perceived value come in to play.

By most consumer definitions value today seems to be more for less.  Or a sale, or something free, a gift with purchase.  Retailers have dubbed and pinged us so much based on our purchasing patterns that they can literally direct us into a store or restaurant to purchase WHENEVER they want, and we accept like card swiping robots. Value, however has a deeper meaning when you peel it back.  Not everything FREE is good.  What if you get a coupon AFTER you check out or after you visit the establishment and don’t have plans to go back any time soon or ever?   What if money did not drive you to purchase?  These throw the retailers into a spiral cash register tape tizzy when this happens, but it’s true.  Sometimes value is a “feeling”.  Yes I said it.  Value has feels.

From a price perspective in the dark ages, “value” used to be defined as satisfaction received by a consumer from a purchase, simplistically.  Harvard Business Review (HBR) goes further to say that value is even an extension of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  HBR talks about the 30 Elements of Consumer Value, a great read BTW.  They further talk about The Elements of Value Pyramid which peaks at the Social Impact of Value, having self-transcendence with one after value goal is reached.

In a nutshell…when we get our value, we text, chat, InstaFaceBookSnapChatTweet about it!  We feel good.  And that’s what companies want-for consumers to “feel” value.  Feels.

Value Pyramid

At Luxury Car Source we are constantly discussing value with our customers.  Not just the price of our quality pre-owned vehicles, but knowledge, information feedback and expertise to help them make better purchasing decisions-even if it’s not buying from us. After all, we are in the people business.  Sometimes showing a customer value might mean cutting to the chase and letting them know that their time would be better served looking elsewhere because we are miles apart from a deal.  Educating customers where car manufacturers stamp their vehicle panels to show them truly if a vehicle has been in an accident or not, eliminating the uncertainty of purchasing a car with a bad history is valuable to them.  We try to teach and educate our consumers at least one new thing they did not know when we touch them.  We try to make sure their time and our time is not wasted.  We provide value by not adding any additional fees to our transactions, stay open late and even do business on Saturday and Sunday on given occasions.  But there is more…sometimes value is something that’s created during the exchange of information.

Back to the story I opened up with…a young lady expressed interest in a vehicle we had.  She told us she had poor credit, said she loved a vehicle we had.  She wanted to spend way more money than she could afford for our vehicle, and knows her credit would not allow her to get credit.  However I knew of lenders that deal with not so perfect credit and dealerships that sell these vehicles. I could have easily just sent her some links and numbers but a bit of finesse and real talk about her needs and wishes helped me direct her to a much less expensive vehicle that she could actually afford with cash, eliminating the need for 30% interest on a vehicle and also talking myself out of a sale of my vehicle I have in our inventory.  At the end, she told me it was the best non-buying experience she ever had and even asked me to help her with her next vehicle, as her credit is climbing and she would be back to see us.  All I did was talk to her about what she values the most and directed her. I’d like to think I did good work with her and she valued her experience even though she did not buy anything.

Value is fuzzy, subjective and differs from person to person.  It can save time, money, feel good, simplify or give options.  It can save your life, provide more fun in your life, feel rewarding, make you more attractive or allow access.  At the end of the day value helps us all self-transcend.


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