I’ve got a monthly column in the great Auto Retail Manager magazine. Here’s one I wrote a couple of issues ago encouraging dealers to look to Eire for sales. Irish buyers are looking here anyway, so why not make it easier for all, and encourage the business?
Celtic Tiger: Round 2
Little brother Sam recently decided to change his car. We are Irish: Sam lives in Dublin, and he’s just spent ten years in a 1993 BMW 320 Coupe that I found for him here. Buying in the UK gives a better choice for less money, and is easy with a man on the ground. The search was on for a 320 diesel Coupe, up to £8,000.
Autotrader had some, but eBay had more. We landed on a good example in Yorkshire: an ‘06 SE in dark blue metallic, with 42,000 miles on the clock. Bidding started at £7,500: a good price, given a Glass value of £8,300 with 55,000 miles. We eventually won it for the start bid.
While Sam went to New York for a week, I was in Amsterdam and Germany on work trips. It was almost three weeks before I caught a train to Leeds and sealed the deal. Through it all, the seller was brilliant, and the car was good as gold.
En route to grab a bank draft, our trader told me how bad he was finding things. “Last year was my worst to date, and I’ve been trading thirty years. This year has been terrible.” I asked if he was doing any business to Eire. “I used to, but not so much these days.”
Our BMW was a bargain, and easily a better car than anything on sale at home. Cars coming into the Republic have duty to pay but, even taking that into account, the car landed in Dublin owing circa €12,000, when the Revenue were valuing them at €14,500 and the market said closer to €18,000.
Here’s a mission to ponder: why not have a look at sales to Eire (pronounced Air-Ah)? Set up a dedicated Eire page on your website, and try some Facebook ads to capture Irish buyers. Nominate personal shoppers on your sales team, perhaps hire an Irish accent to staff a telephone hotline and create a money-saving buzz for Ireland-only buyers, with good pics and video of the cars on offer.
Turn up at the nearest airport to hand over the car, let them zoom off to the ferry in their pride and joy and go back to tell their friends. Harvest feedback and testimonials and get them up online. Convince some Irish papers to run copy praising your cross-border enterprise.
Bank news from the Republic might not look so hot, but there’s always been enough cash moving around Ireland to keep people going. Foreign investment is ongoing: visit IDAIreland.com to see who is spending money. You don’t need to be there for a slice of the action.
Why confine your business to thirty miles of postcode? You can find buyers anywhere – all you have to do is make it easier, cheaper and a little more exciting. Tie up with Groupon to buy overnight stays in local hotels if you’re really far away. Whatever region you target, market hard and take sales from those who can’t be bothered. If they don’t want the business, they deserve to lose!