Maximizing Your Remarketing Returns at Auction
By Patrick O'Connor
December 5, 2022
In many ways successfully remarketing a vehicle is a lesson in strategic brand management. It is a true art form – one that we have mastered. Think about your most memorable experiences with a brand — what keeps you buying from that brand again and again? For example, when you book a five-star hotel, that star rating tells you it is the highest quality venue with attention to detail, amenities and exceptional service. The experience makes you want to go back again and again. This analogy is an oversimplification, yet it is a useful way to introduce and describe the art that is remarketing. As a retail consumer, when you purchase a used vehicle, you look at things like the odometer, the life history of the vehicle including previous accidents and repairs to establish a picture of the vehicle. Where you buy the vehicle is important as well. Is there a history with the outlet – one that has fostered a level of trust? All these factors work together to cast a certain ‘pedigree’ on the vehicle. At Wheels Donlen, we employ strategies and tactics to achieve that ‘pedigree’ for our customers’ vehicles so that we harness as much as we can at sale.
Wheels Donlen has strong brand recognition and reputation. Dealers buying from us know each and every time they are getting a consistent mix and quality of vehicles. And yes, we are competing with others in that same space, but we work diligently to cast a better light on our customers’ product and converge the dealers gravitating them towards our brand. So how do we do that?
First, we employ a preliminary industry standard certification – a preemptive inspection if you will so the buyer, in this case the dealer, can buy with confidence. It also allows them to buy with a degree of velocity which is important to them. The certification badge allows them to buy almost immediately eliminating the need to carry out due diligence work. It allows them seven days to evaluate the vehicle after they have received it. Some dealers are purchasing up to 600 miles away from their location so they need that confidence that the vehicle will arrive on the truck as shown.
In addition to the certification, we also have a blue-ribbon sticker on those vehicles that have been on our Maintenance Assistance Program. This highlights the fact that the vehicle has been consistently maintained from when it goes into service emphasizing that ‘premium’ aspect to prospective customers.
Promotions are a large part of what we do to increase returns and decrease time to sell for our customers. Promotional sales build enthusiasm from the dealer base. Messaging for a promotion might be something like, “Wheels Donlen will be offering 75 vehicles the week of March 10th” in conjunction with a give-away such as free transportation, a bonus for buying a certain amount of units or a discount on the sale fee. This method creates a bit of a buyer frenzy and works to bring in repeat and loyal buyers. It is almost like a Black Friday sale for vehicles. Promotions also create a heightened sense of awareness garnishing new buyers as well.
We tend to tease out the schedule for promotional sales early in the year. For example, we try and focus on the Western sales early in the year because no one wants to hang out at the cold auction lanes in New Jersey in January.
We often invite our client to attend the auctions and we’ve had an impressive turnout at some of the coastal locations; New Jersey and the West Coast do well. We also have excellent performing sales in the Midwest as well as strategic areas across the country. As they get to watch the sale, we pick a vehicle and ask them to guess the sale price and the closest person gets a prize. Our promotional events are a fun way to get people engaged and helps them understand the process. Customers can get a feel for how we manage their assets at the end of term so that we maximize their proceeds reducing depreciation. The more we can gain for them on the back end, the more money we can save them overall throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle.
Being present and attending the auctions is a key part of how we maximize returns. We have representation across the country and team members whose sole responsibility is to watch the inventory and prepare it for sale. They ensure they are achieving the maximum sale results in the marketplace. Our remarketing sales managers can interact – online or in person – while a vehicle is being sold by accepting or countering offers as they happen. By responding to offers in real time, we engage the buyer in a negotiation ensuring resolution of the sale immediately – a service level that is consistent with that five-star hotel experience.
Right Place, Right Time, Right Price
With our branding and certification, we sell quickly at the right time, and we achieve current fair market value. Industry benchmarks confirm we are selling fast and selling well. We get high returns which we measure against the industry standard, so our approach is not theoretical – there are metrics behind it. Our approach is proactive – we do not just send vehicles to auction and hope for the best. We leverage all the strategies and tactics described which work together to create a premium ‘five-star’ brand dealers seek. If you have any questions or interest in our remarketing service, please contact us