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Another true story – What really matters?

Recently it was my granddaughters 8th birthday. As she lives some way away from the rest of the family she received money as gifts. Shortly after whilst watching Children in Need she decided without prompting or encouragement that she did not need all of it and donated £20. Like any grandparent, I felt immensely proud of her. Her selfless act of kindness was a reminder of what the really important things in life are. (My grandson also donated part of his pocket money)

So what has this to do with selling cars?

I am always curious about how consumers think and act. Over recent weeks I have been specifically studying how people look at and inspect cars. Now bearing in mind my chosen market could be described as the Aldi rather than the Waitrose price sector I was keen to see exactly what potential buyers actually look at before arriving at a decision – either buy or walk away.

My conclusion? In a significant number of instances, they look at the packaging rather than the product. Let me explain. If I were making a “chunky purchase” – forget cars let’s say a TV – I would want to switch it on and see how it worked – what the picture and sound quality was like. Who made it and if they were any good – I would want to know what guarantee it had and should it go wrong who could I confidently turn to.

When it comes to cars many customers do not even open the bonnet – some do not even test drive! In many instances, it is more about a scratch a scuff or a scrape which they have spotted. Whether mechanically the car is any good – do the brakes work properly or do they soon need replacing – are the tyres up to standard – is the engine in good condition – will it start in the morning – these important and potentially life-changing factors seem in some instances to be secondary to what the car looks like. Now it could be argued that if it was a new car these things would be unimportant – BUT these are not – they are USED!

I am not suggesting that cars looking their best is not important but if a head gasket goes a week after it has been purchased (which should have been spotted before handing over the hard earned money) the “glossy shine” will soon disappear!

DW 23.11.17

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