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I have recently sold a 2 year old vehicle privately, the lucky purchaser actually found me via a competing service, Exchange and Mart, which cost me a QUARTER of the price of the Ad I placed in the Auto Trader
This review is really about my own extreme dissapointment with what little value The Auto Trader seemed to offer me when selling my car
Firstly it needs to be said that I have a couple of dodgy second hand car dealer types as acquaintances so I canvassed their opinions as to the best way to sell my car privately
WITHOUT FAIL, everyone I asked said, "stick it in the Auto Trader" so I had the impression that it should offer good value for my advertising money
Naturally I have noticed Autotrader on newsagent shelves over the years too and seen it advertised on the telly, so in terms of brand strength I reckon this weekly publication rates quite highly, in fact I struggled to think of another one in the same category !
So, I log onto the Auto trader website and am quite pleased that I can upload my own photos and write my own ad, pay for the ad, edit it etc etc etc with relative simplicity
Your print advert ( The one that appears in the actual magazine ) is limited in the amount of words you can use to describe your vehicle but for your Online version of the ad you can write hundreds upon hundreds of words and include many large digital pictures
I opted for the medium sized print ad, ( for the magazine ) not the smallest but one step up, I also added inclusion in a couple of freebie sister publications they distribute at petrol stations, I added North London ( My local version being South London ) and I sat back and waited for all the phone calls
Immediately after my Online ad went live my mobile phone started to ring !
WOW ! I hear you say, but wait !
That was the first of a TIRADE of telesales calls I started to recieve from canvassers offering the oportunity to advertise in THEIR publications, on their web-sites or giving me access to their DATABASE of hundreds upon hundreds of EAGER BUYERS ! all looking for a vehicle just like mine if I paid them more money !!!
Without exaggeration I tell you that I was getting up to ten telesales calls per day from these people !
The really annoying thing is that they all seemed to use the very same opening line, " Is the Chrysler still for sale?"
Now that opener may sound innocent enough, but after the online ad had been live for just a few minutes it seemed like a very silly question, I initially answered it with " Of course it is still for sale, It has only been on the market for 3 minutes "
After several days of no calls at all from potential purchasers and masses of telesales canvassers calls, the innocent sounding question " Is the Chrysler still for sale?" was really starting to get right on my flipping WICK !
The worst day was the Thursday that the print version of the magazine came out, it go so bad that I actually stopped answering my mobile phone that day, the only time this year I have actually turned my mobile phone off !
Now, why was I not getting any calls from people who wanted to buy my car I wondered ? Had I priced it too high ? NOPE, it was perhaps the lowest priced in its class ( I eventually sold it for asking price minus a token 4% dicount as a goodwill gesture )
The only reason I could come up with in defence of the *advertising efficacy* of the Auto trader was the time of year, it was Early February and not many people buy cars in February ? perhaps that was it I thought to myself ???
Anyhow, after 3 weeks Online advertising and 2 weeks in the print version, I totalled more than one hundred calls from telesales canvassers, I did exchange a few emails with one character who lived fairly locally yet he was angling for a discount of about 30% on an already keenly priced vehicle, I had three further emails from prospective buyers ( who all seemed to live very far away so had obviously only found the website ad ) and 2 phone calls from potential Buyers who were again so very far away that they did not ever make one single viewing of the vehicle !
Over £100 in advertising costs
Over 100 telesales calls
4 email contacts from prospective buyers
2 telephone contacts from prospective buyers
NOT ONE VIEWING OF MY VEHICLE !
Once my ad had expired and my £100 odd advertising investment was down the drain I recieved a further telesales call, this time from the Auto trader ! I was asked, "Did you get a good response to your ad ?" to which i replied, "Ohhhhhhh YES ! I got a GREAT response !" the canvasser seemed impressed until I said "From every flipping telesales canvasser in Great Britain !"
So we suffered a bit more of eachothers banter, I asked him to justify why he wanted me to spend ANOTHER £100 PLUS on this after such a BAD first attempt, he couldn't really offer anything of any value except the ingenious suggestion that I use up 3 of my limit of 30 advertising copy words with *NO CANVASSERS PLEASE* in my 2nd ad !!!!
What a salesman !
Needless to say I never bothered to renew and sought around for an alternate
I found the Exchange & Mart website, I paid £20 odd quid for a few lines in their publication and a "Hold until sold" website ad of unlimited length with several photos
I need to point out that the image sizes were limited so I don't think the E&M website was as friendly as the Autotrader one, BUT it did the trick !
That seemed like value for money, *Hold till sold* means that if you do get poor results you can keep the ad running until you close the sale ! no cheeky monkey calling you to blag another advertising fee off you ! GREAT !
Three weeks later I had a local buyer call, he was the first viewer to come and see the vehicle, after 20 minutes and a 2 mile test drive we shook hands on the deal !
The best part........ NO TELESALES CANVASSERS CALLED ME !
The Auto Trader is a great Mag, EVERY TELESALES CANVASSER IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IN BRITAIN LOVES IT
There are in my experience, cheaper and better ways of privately advertising a car for sale
I paid £86 for an ad with them, received 3 telesales calls and sold the car the day the advert went live on their website. Overall, I couldn't fault them. Steve
HotBabes 17.03.2006 16:21
Blimey, they don't take no for an answer do they! x x
awooga 16.03.2006 21:33
Thanks for the heads up. I was reading A/T today (I am looking to buy at the moment) and I had no idea what the "NO CANVASSERS PLEASE" meant in the adverts :-) I think I will pick up a copy of E&M tomorrow hehe.