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Three non-traditional ways to acquire inventory

By Jim Jabaay

JimJabaayBlog2016Are you tired of the traditional approaches to acquiring inventory? I know that auctions require sending a professional to weed out the junk cars in high-pressure situations, and trade-ins don’t guarantee the inventory you need. There are 3 other easily accessible options that might surprise you, and then make you wonder why you never thought of them before. I am going to explain each of these approaches to acquiring quality inventory that don’t require more than a few clicks.

1. eBay Private Seller Listings

eBay is one of the top 10 most visited sites in the United States with hundreds of items listed that can be narrowed down easily to find exactly what you are looking for. We find ourselves focusing more time and efforts on this network based on the high volume of qualified buyers and inventory.

Visit eBay Motors and select the type of inventory you are interested in. In the categories section under For Sale By, make sure to check the box next to Private Seller. Notice the red call-outs for hot ticket items people are watching? You already know what people are interested in now. Choose the “Buy It Now” option if you don’t have the time to haggle.

2. Craigslist Private Seller

eBay is certainly a heavy hitter in the amount of traffic received in the shopping department but Craigslist beats even this major classifieds competitor out in terms of site visitors. More visits means more people shopping through the inventory and trust me when I say, Craigslist has evolved. Out of the estimated 50 million visitors per month on Craigslist, 32 percent of shoppers make more than $100k per year. It is by no means a place where people are dumping off their junk; it has a reputation for easy access to a variety of inventory for consumers and is a great opportunity for dealers to take advantage of as well!

When you visit Craigslist.org you’ll need to navigate to your local market and choose the items you’re looking for under “For Sale.” Powersports inventory can usually be found under boats, “ATVs, UTVs, snow,” or motorcycles/scooters. If you’d like to search under specific categories you can choose to search under “By-Owner Only.” Or make it really easy on yourself and just use the search feature! This search is extremely helpful but in my experience it tends to be overlooked. Most people assume they have to search multiple sections to find inventory that may be missed simply because someone mistakenly updated the item to a category that isn’t the most specific for that item. For example, jet skis sometimes fall under boats or “general for sale.” From the search results you can narrow it back down by selecting only “owner” options.

3. Target marketing on Facebook

Now here’s another prospective source of inventory that largely hasn’t been tapped into yet. I know you may have used Facebook for other types of advertising, but did you know how far down you could drill into new audiences? Narrow down your targeting to people who live within a certain mile radius of your location or pick specific cities that may deliver higher volume. Target motorcycle owners (you can narrow it down to people who bought theirs new) or people with an interest in “riding my dirt bike.” Having a large audience is not a bad thing! Facebook advertising can be extremely effective cost-wise. Now, serve them with an ad offering to buy their “insert the inventory here.” You’ll want to separate out audiences and target specific groups with messages for that inventory. Make sure motorcycle owners are getting served an ad for their motorcycle instead of an ATV, although you can also mention an interest in other inventory in the text.

The best part about all of this? You are building relationships within your area. Buying an item locally sets you up with a potential new customer. You already know they are interested in your product and are active in the community. Chances are that if they are looking to sell, they will be looking to buy again soon, or know someone else who may need to go to a dealership that they trust.

So instead of going to the auction with the rest of the crowd or trying to rely on trade-ins, I encourage you to get into a whole new market without even having to leave your desk! Your time will be spent on the top classified and social networks with the people who have already demonstrated their seriousness to buy inventory in your market.

Jim Jabaay is the vice president of Sales and Marketing for LotVantage, a leader in digital marketing for automotive, powersports, marine and RV dealerships.  Jim has grown up in the automotive industry with the family dealership in the suburbs of Chicago. Jim started at Manheim in sales and continued to grow his career running sales teams throughout Texas for nine years.  Following Manheim, Jim spent two years at Dealertrack expanding his career in the software side of the business.  LotVantage utilizes data to help dealerships understand which inventory to post and when to post it for a local, national and social presence.  Jim’s number one goal is helping dealers succeed in an ever growing and changing dealership world.

Website: www.LotVantage.com

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