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Lessons I Learned From CarMax

By Authorify // 20 Nov 2019

We can all stand to learn a few things from CarMax, the number one used car dealer in the nation, on how to woo consumers and make more sales. 

How would you like to make twice as many sales as everybody else? Well, have you ever heard of CarMax? Most of us have, since they are the number-one used car dealer in America, selling twice as many vehicles as the second-place dealer. It’s impressive — and it’s worth looking at some of their tactics. 

Let's start with the numbers. In the last year, CarMax moved more than 700,000 cars, whereas the second-tier used car dealer sold about 280,000. In other words, CarMax sold more than twice as many cars as their closest competitor. 

If you've been to a regular car dealership, I'm sure you have horror stories to share or experiences that really bothered you. Recently, I went to a national dealership to look at a car, and the salesperson used a sales tactic on me that made me so angry, I left that dealership and vowed never to buy a car from them. But every time I've been to CarMax, I’ve always had a positive experience. I found myself always looking at CarMax first whenever I needed a car. I was intrigued by how I felt about them, so I went to their website and attempted to find out why everyone prefers working with them.


Here are four of the things I noticed that make shopping with CarMax more pleasant for consumers.

#1 No Pressure and Reasonable Prices

One of the things that has really stood out to me at CarMax is the fact that there’s no haggling and no pressure. They don’t need to do that because they’ve already set a competitively low price for their cars. You can negotiate a lower price based on other dealership offers, but it's more of a hassle than anything, and no one likes doing it. More importantly, there’s no need to when you shop at CarMax. 

#2 Helpfulness Over Quick Sales

If you go to the CarMax website and look at what separates them from their competitors, you’ll immediately notice their main goal is to help you and your family find the best car for your individual needs, rather than just selling you the fanciest or most expensive vehicle. 

If you think about that, that's playing the long game versus the short game. I've seen many salespeople who go out and play the short game, and they do hardcore things that drive people away just to make fast sales. Sure, they may make more sales in the short term, but in the long term, they go out of business. They’re burnt out and don’t have the referrals because they don’t build trustworthy relationships. Nobody wants to be that person. At CarMax, the goal is to help you. They want to make sure you get the right car. Follow in their footsteps, be helpful, and build relationships for the long haul. 

#3 Time to Change the Decision 

The second thing CarMax gets right is that they have a guarantee. You have seven days to change your mind, so they remove all the risk. It’s a fact that if a salesperson can remove the risk from the consumer, it’s easier to make the sale. And it’s a novel idea that a used car dealership allows the consumer to return the car. People don't necessarily return cars, but because the option exists, consumers feel more comfortable with their purchase. 

So what can you do to remove the risk from people you're working with? You can say, “Listen, when you list your home with me, you can terminate the contract if I’m not the right agent.”

Obviously, that's gutsy. But if you're a good agent, competent in your abilities, having some kind of guarantee is going to help you get more business. And if you run the math, you're probably going to end up making more sales because you’ll establish a better reputation, and people are going to trust you. 

#4 Offers that Aren’t Available Elsewhere

Another interesting point about CarMax is that they have a nationwide inventory, and they'll literally ship a car from any location. I remember looking at a car years ago, and I was going to have it shipped from a thousand miles away, which was going to cost me $200. But if I didn't want it once it got here, I could've just said no, I don't want it, and I’d simply lose the $200. Service and perks like that really give CarMax a competitive advantage. 

So what competitive advantage can you gain in your own business? What is something you're willing to do that stands out in your industry? 

For example, I was going through Craigslist years ago, and I came across an ad for a real estate agent that said, “I'll rent your home in two weeks or I'll do it for free.” I thought to myself, if I needed to rent out my house, I’d definitely call that guy!  If you’re a landlord trying to rent out your home, if the home sits on the market for a month or two — or more — you lose that income. So for an agent to make a claim like that prompts a feeling of confidence in the consumer to hire him. 

The biggest advantage CarMax has is its ability to make its customers feel cared for. With your own clients, it’s equally important to make them feel special and help them build trust, so they’ll continue to seek your business and refer you to other people. Of course, nothing builds trust and credibility like presenting clients your own book through Authorify. Click Try It Free in the toolbar to get started. 

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