A large part of the past weekend was spent selling my wife’s Saturn coupe. And sell it did.
It was clean and neat with less than 50,000 miles. I anticipated the car would be sold in about a week or so. Bad assumption.
First we did our homework. I checked various online auto related web sites and determined what a comparable car would sell for both privately and at a dealer.
We also checked around and figured out what a dealership would allow on trade.
A family member suggested we place a posting on Craigslist. If you are not familiar with Craigslist, you should be. It is a web service where you can sell just about anything. Sections are divided into cities and regions. The site is laid out well and various product categories are easy to find. Photos can be uploaded for your ad.
Best of all the service is free.
The posting went up Saturday evening. Before Craigslist could return an email notifying us of the completed listing the phone began to ring. First one call, then another. Responses came from all over the area. Six appointments were made to show the car the next day.
One couple just couldn’t wait to see the Saturn. They came early Sunday and showed the most interest. By the end of the day they had purchased the car and paid the full listed price. The entire process from the creation of the ad to the sale of the car took less than 24 hours.
So what marketing lessons can be learned from this experience?
First, do your homework. Those of us in marketing spend countless hours determining a target audience for a product or service. Countless hours should also be spent determining the right vehicle to reach them.
Secondly, make sure your product is fairly priced and the customer is getting a good value for the money. Obviously in this case they were.
Thirdly, ask around and see where potential buyers are spending their time. In this scenario they weren’t looking at the Sunday newspaper or on one of those auto related web sites.
Finally, incorporate online marketing into everything you do. The online audience is huge. It may take some experimentation to figure out the best way to reach that audience but once you do, you’ll have a great resource that can produce consistent results.
Who knows, you might even sell a car in less than 24 hours.