CARFAX Canada Driving Insights


How to make sure your listings beat the competition

by Drew Harden, Fri, Jun 29, 2018

< back to blog

Right now, your next customer is ready to buy. They have spent hours researching vehicles online, and he or she is comparing the listings for two used vehicles that are nearly identical. One vehicle is on your lot, while the other belongs to your competitor. Does your listing have what it takes to win this showdown?

It’s not easy to differentiate your listings from your competitor’s listings without starting a no-win price war. But with 68% of used car buyers looking at online listings, it’s essential.


What can you do to make sure your listings win?

Driving Insights collected 16 of the most common listing details, then left it to Canadian used car buyers to tell us: If you’re deciding between two used vehicles with identical features, price and mileage, what will help you choose one listing over another?


Based on their responses, here are the top 5 details that will make your listings stand out:

1. Detailed vehicle history

2. Thorough interior/exterior cleaning

3. Parts like brakes and tires are new or in good condition

4. Information about warranty options

5. Knowledgeable and professional dealership staff


The relative importance of these differentiators was reinforced when we asked if they’d skip a listing if one of these factors was missing. The rankings were almost the same, starting with the 43% who would skip a listing without detailed history.


What should you leave out?

It seems that used car buyers want your listing to tell them they’re buying a quality unit, with good warranty options, from a knowledgeable sales person. However, car buyers were far less interested in hearing more about your dealership’s exchange policy, awards and perks like free coffee. Now – this doesn’t mean you should get rid of these value-adds, it just means that you’re better off bringing them up at another point the sales process.


What not to include in a listing:

1. Dealership perks, like free coffee and Wi-Fi

2. Awards the dealership has won, such as local "best of" award, or national top sales award

3. Vehicle exchange policy


How to win

Set your listings apart by highlighting detailed vehicle history and recon information, your knowledgeable staff, and your great offers from F&I. Most importantly – don’t just state the facts, back them up! Saying the vehicle has no reported accidents and has been well-maintained is one thing, but attaching a vehicle history report proves it. Make detailing and reconditioning evident in your photos. Plus, customers agree that your online presence gives them an idea of what to expect in your dealership, so a professional looking listing means you have professional staff – which is way more important than free coffee and Wi-Fi.


Explore how our research can be applied at your dealership to help you win more business - request a consultation with a CARFAX Canada Rep:

Driving Insights
Driving Insights is an information series designed to help used car dealers better understand the motives and behaviours of Canadian used car buyers. The research, designed by CARFAX Canada and executed by Dynata, is based on the most pressing questions of dealership management and staff across Canada, answered through a national survey of 1,000 Canadians who recently bought a used car from a dealership. If there’s a question you’d like us to address, email and we’ll get you some answers!

Recent Posts

Want more insights to help build your business? Subscribe below.