“Buy a Balloon, Get a Car” by frankieleon is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image obtained from https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/4078428209

Some friends of mine have a car dealership story that can tell us something about golf cart sales. They recently went to a car dealer because of a great deal that was advertised. They had a model of the car that was six years old, that they believed they could trade in to get the newer version for just $21,000. This was an unbelievable deal and it was near the end of the year, so they figured maybe the dealer was desperate to clear 2017 stock for new 2018s.

More Customers, Fewer Closes

We don’t want to call any company out, so we won’t name them here, but that great deal got my friends in the door. The problem was that the deal was so good, there was no way the dealership could pull it off.

See, the deal they advertised was meant to get people in the door. It was incredibly effective. It got my friends in the door. Yet then they were met with un-advertised adjustments that raised the price to $29,000. They could only get one deal if they leased. They could only get another if they agreed to a particular plan.

Yet because of the advertisement and how eager the dealership was to get people in, it completely failed to communicate that there would be additional requirements. The lowest they could negotiate to was about $26,000. It became clear that the dealership didn’t actually have approval from the maker to sell these cars at such a low price as $21,000. They had only used the price to get people in the door, intending to upsell them once they had.

Too Good a Deal = De-valuing the Product

My friends even used the phrase “bait and switch,” and they were right to do so. The dealership had succeeded in getting potential customers in. It had also succeeded in completely turning them off to a potential close.

You see, by advertising a low price that they couldn’t really hit, the dealership had devalued the worth of the car in their customers’ minds. It was no longer a $29,000 car they might’ve been willing to pay $27,000 for with a few bonuses thrown in. The minute they saw that advertisement, it was a $21,000 car they might have been willing to pay $21,000 for – and that’s a deal the dealership could never meet.

As things got worse, my friends treated the dealership as having manipulated them and wasted their time. They left without having spent a dime, but perhaps just as importantly, they left angry at the dealership, determined never to shop there again, and with a story to tell their friends and business partners who might have considered shopping there.

Build Value to Build Trust

There’s nothing wrong with advertising a low price to get people in the door when you’re talking about golf cart sales. Yet it should be a price that you can hit. Now, you might not want to hit that price, and there may be customers with finances that make you uncomfortable hitting that price. It doesn’t mean you have to hit that price, but the more you devalue what you’re selling, the more your customers will, too.

This obviously transposes to selling golf carts pretty directly. The dealership had utterly failed to build the value of their product in their customers’ minds.

Offer good prices, but also offer good options. It’s better to sell high with free options thrown in than to sell low with nothing thrown in. Don’t promise what you can’t follow through on. Use a golf cart customization app that’s updated regularly to stay on top of cutting edge options that help you build up the value of a golf cart package.

Add More In, Don’t Take Something Away

Put yourself in a position where you can say, “Here’s something extra I can give you.” That makes the customer feel valued. Even if they don’t close on that deal, use a golf cart customization app to keep the conversation going and walk them down to a different golf cart package that’s more affordable.

The dealership my friends went to essentially told them, “Here’s something promised that we can’t give you.” That makes the customer feel betrayed.

Always make the customer feel like you’re adding something good for them, not that you’re taking away something good they thought they might get.