People have more time than ever to search long and hard for that elusive prize. They’re on a mission to uncover the holy grail of shopping. Sitting at home, they don’t consider the hours searching online as work, but rather an adventure. And they will look far and wide, exploring well outside their tradition area, until they discover what they have long sought: the perfect product at the perfect price. I call these people treasure hunters.
Let it be known, there have always existed people seeking out a fortune in savings and willing to go to the ends of the Earth to hunt it down. Just not near as many as there are now. Unlike traditional treasure hunters, these are a new age type who dedicate endless hours online. However, they rarely are looking for a one-of-a-kind product. Rather, they are researching to find very normal products at once-in-a-lifetime prices. Today’s treasure hunters are willing to search far beyond an area they’re willing to travel, all in an effort to pinpoint the absolute “BEST DEAL”. Even if they don’t intend to buy it from far away or have it shipped, they seek it. They want to use that one unique offer as leverage against the local purveyors of said product.
While retail organizations wait for the world to open back up, so their traffic levels return to sustainable levels, they still seek every opportunity to sell at any costs. With that said, too much time is being wasted negotiating with out-of-market or out-of-state treasure hunters when their true intent is to purchase easy-to-acquire inventory locally. It is no longer about “keeping their local dealer honest” but squeezing every last dime of profit out of a deal. For that reason, instruct your team to not dedicate countless hours going back and forth with these prospects. The journey of a treasure hunter is long and arduous, and rarely ends in them identifying you as the gem.
Once you’ve identified their desired vehicle is not unique or hard-to-acquire, present them a realistic, near-rock-bottom price with which you’re comfortable selling. No further negotiation needed at all. Make your case, state your ultra-competitive selling price, and be firm from the start. Make the store they do plan on doing business with hurt just a bit matching the price. My rule was that I will provide competitive pricing online to all local shoppers, because I knew they preferred to do business with me already. If it was an out-of-market shopper where I’d be stealing someone else’s business, I’d make an aggressive first and only offer that would intrigue them to not buy locally. Regardless, I’d always work tirelessly to win over a local customer before an out-of-state one, but I would shoot my best shot right away to someone I am less likely to ever see. That’s how you must deal with this growing number of treasure hunters.
Prior to stay-at-home orders going into effect, coming across treasure hunters were infrequent. We’ve always had shoppers who were relentless at seeking the best price among your local competitors, maybe even your state. But with quarantines come restlessness and unreasonable thinking. They aren’t leaving their homes so they’re insatiable for something that is impossible to acquire, and with too much time on their hands, no deterrent to stop shopping. It is great to win deals from consumers far away that you would likely never have won without the advent of the internet. These deal from treasure hunters are far less valuable when you realize zero future service business will be generated from them.
It isn’t fair to your team to waste potential hours of productivity on a person they’ll likely never bring in or one with no intention of purchasing (online or otherwise). We don’t need to adhere to Bill Wither’s amazing song “Use Me” (rest in peace to that legend). Instead, be respectful to them with a go-ahead price from the moment you realize their vehicle of interest is standard fare and their location is distant. Don’t waste your time negotiating back-and-forth ongoing with someone from afar. Treasure Hunters can be demoralizing to one’s day and, even if they find the treasure they seek, they’ll never be satisfied anyway.