On the hunt for used vehicle inventory? Here are some tips from Consultant Tony Albertson, a used-car specialist with NCM and Associates, that he provided for a story in our Ward's Remarketing 150.
Hire an offsite buyer to beat the bushes for vehicles. It's OK to pay the buyer anywhere from $200 - $500 for each vehicle but tie the compensation to how fast the vehicle sells.
Provide specific instructions on which vehicles you need. Don't let the buyer buy off the cuff.
Advertise everywhere you buy used cars.
“It's what made Carmax famous,” Albertson says. “They will buy the used vehicle, even if the customer doesn't buy a vehicle from them.”
Maintain close ties with other local dealers who might be wholesaling vehicles you need.
Leverage your customer database. Create a direct mail campaign to customers in your database offering to buy their vehicles.
You also can target your marketing to customers owning vehicles you need. Be sure to personalize the letters or emails for each customer, Albertson says.
Another critical piece — if you're paying for inventory management software, such as AAX, VAuto or FirstLook, use it. It may take some effort, but it's worth it.
Don't give up on the auctions. If you're not already using the online auctions and services, you likely will find it increasingly more difficult to secure used-vehicle inventory.
Sites such as Manheim's OVE.com and Manheim Simulcast or AESA's LiveBlock or DealerBlock allow dealers to conduct all of the pre-auction and pre-sale research, acquire inventory before it even reaches the auction and trade with other dealers.