A prospect, in showroom speak, is the term for a customer who is potentially interested in a vehicle for sale. Regardless of this happening in an actual dealership or showroom, it makes no difference – if your phone rings from the result of a small ad or internet listing that still counts as a prospect. Social Media is a double-edged sword, on one hand it opens up a world of information, delight and debate but, on the other, it brings heartache and grief to some people who are trying to sell an honest car to an honest punter. I personally like this whole interweb malarkey (though I doubt it will ever catch on) but I try to avoid some of the posts on be it Facetube or Booktwitt like “I’ve just been to the toilet PMSL” or “Hmmn – cheese on toast or soup for tea?“. Mentioning every pointless action or broadcasting to the whole world about your bowel movements only irritates people and highlights the sad decline of good old-fashioned dialogue and actually getting out into the real world once in a while.
My thoughts for this ramble came via a mate who is selling his car and a Facebook contact who is trying to do the same. The latter was posting up his frustrations at messers, what they were requesting of him and stating that, and I quote “ I still have this for sale” – which is not exactly ideal. It will only encourage more mucking around. Not only that but it weakens your position when negotiating a fair price with all parties as anyone with serious interest will read it as desperation on your part. My own experience had tended to find that GENUINE interest comes through the telephone and not from a tennis rally of text messages and emails – like I hinted at in my opening gambit, the Internet brings out the best and worst of people.
Personally, I like to avoid putting my email address on any car advert and there is a simple reason for this. The Internet is the stalking ground for the dreaded messer – that breed of person who wastes your time by constantly asking for more information, pictures and, quite often, the lowest price you will take for the car. They sit there in a squalid one-room bedsit in front of the PC in a world lit by an unshaded 40 watt bulb complete with a tap dripping into a dirty saucepan dreaming of cars they often cannot even legally drive, let alone afford to buy. Sounds harsh maybe but they are the dregs of society for those trying to make a living or simply sell an unwanted car. Of course, we get frustrated with rage and many a time I have personally wanted reach into my LG Flatron monitor and drag them out to kick their lungs in, but there are ways you can reduce your chance of being messed around.
If you are doing the online advert, DON’T put your email address in the advert unless you really have to and, if you do, be wary of people asking you for more pictures – especially if you have already posted up a comprehensive selection. Unless you are selling a high-value prestige motor, something fruity or your posted images are rubbish, requests for endless pictures tend to come from dreamers, timewasters or the kind of over-fussy punter who is never happy regardless of the bargain and it’s the same with text messages, too. When I have received texts, I respond at first and then invite them to real-time dialogue to gauge their seriousness. If they don’t play ball try to call them – I’ll bet it goes to answerphone or you get a text back saying “*sorry… I dropped my ‘phone down the loo and it only works though texting” – either way you are wasting your breath or fingertips and dealing with a messer.
* = Other tried and tested excuses are available including: “will call L8R M8 when I top my credit up.”
I went through this on the ‘phone with my aforementioned friend, who suffering the same aggro, and then suggested it would possibly narrow his chances of anyone being interested. My retort pointed towards the quality of interest he had gleened thus so far, there was a pregnant pause and he took my point. You see it’s like this… messers normally avoid effort on their part, dialogue petrifies them but you do get the odd brave one. If a prospect turns up to view the car but declines the offer of a spin round the block and yet still wants to talk money? 3-1 on messer. If out on a test drive the prospect twitters like a Budgie or chats like a toddler rather than keeping a keen eye and ear open for something awry? 4-1 on favourite he’s also a messer. Of course, I can be and have been wrong but, with a little forethought and planning when virally selling your car, the risk of being taken up the garden path and mucked about is amazingly reduced.
The messer actually get his/her kicks from pi**ing you off and wasting your time and they do it in the showrooms as well by either collecting brochures or requesting test drives with no intention of buying – it makes them feel important but makes them look impotent as an old Sales Manager of mine once quipped. Venting your frustration online helps no one so avoid it on the open forums – not only that, it could make you come across like a moaning Minnie and hinder your chances of a genuine enquiry from a genuine punter.
And to close – how do you know that some of the time-wasters aren’t on your so-called Friends’ list? Worth a thought that one!