At least three customer roles are needed for a marketplace transaction: (Ibid)
1. Buying, choosing a particular product or service;
2. Closing sale by paying for product or service;
3. Consuming or using product or service.
Subsequently, one customer may be a buyer, a payer, or a user; or each of these roles may be filled by an organization; various individuals; or different departments. During the process of transforming a showroom visitor to a used car buyer, it is vital to note that if a seller does not cater to each of these three roles, he may loose the customer.
Insuring a used car's features are the ones the potential customer has in mind and that the vehicle will best satisfy the user's want or need has to be a primary goal of a seller.
The payer role is equally important as without a payer a sale will not transpire. In the past, the payer role was frequently minimized or ignored. In today's used car market, as financing is a profitable business, they payer's role is a vital component for insuring a sale is completed, as well as a contributor to the profit factor.
The used car's buyer role is also vital as a buyer's job is to find the right used car and the way to order or acquire the vehicle. If/when the buyer's access to the used car is constrained or the used car he/she is specifically seeking is not immediately available, the sale may not occur.
In many instances, the three roles are one and the same customer. Other times, the user may be the payer but not the buyer, such as in the case when stockbrokers act as agents for clients or when a parent purchases a used car for a child or vice versa.
In companies, a manager or buyer may purchase a used car for employees to utilize for business purposes. Other variations/combinations of the three roles are noted in used car sales and other business transactions.
When a single customer embodies all three roles, as is usual, in the purchase of a used car, a seller usually utilizes a variety of strategies to secure a sale.
A need is defined as "an unsatisfactory condition of the customer that leads him or her to an action that will make the condition better. A want is a desire to obtain more satisfaction than is absolutely necessary to improve an unsatisfactory condition. The difference between a want and a need is the driver. Wants only surface after needs are satisfied. For instance, almost any vehicle will satisfy an individual's need for transportation from here to there. A Corvette; Hummer; Cadillac or Lexus, however, additionally satisfies a "want" to gain performance excitement, to obtain prestige among peers, or project a different self-image.
An individual him/her himself and his/her environment determine a person's needs. Genetics, biogenics and psychogenics reportedly determine a person's physical characteristics, which in turn will influence his/her needs and ultimately, in some form influence the process of buying a used car, as well as, other products to meet his/her needs and wants.
An individual's wants are impacted or," determined by the personal socioeconomic context and the environmental socioeconomic context surrounding the customer. The personal context consists of three dimensions: personal worth, institutions, and culture." (Ibid) Personal worth (financial) is reflected by financial resources a customer can access and may be obtained from his/her income; assets; borrowing power; income. Wants are impacted by these resources as they determine a customer's purchasing power. Consequently, an individual with more economic resources can purchase a new of used luxury car with greater driving excitement and more social prestige.
A culture's influence, another dimension, influences a customer's wants, along with impacting what a person does or becomes.
Whether customers from cultures which value age; products; business success; etc. will likely determine whether they purchase a used car that represents excitement; value (related to age and wisdom) or a classical, sensible style. A customer's culture will also influence what type sales person and/or personality they will be receptive to. Economy, technology, and public policy make up the environmental context, additional influences an individual's buying decisions.
Tools a seller can utilize to create market values to help influence a used car's showroom visitor to become a customer include:
Social image ads
Payer Values Price Credit Financing
Low price from lower margins
Buyer Values Service Convenience Personalization
Product display and demonstration
Personal attention and courtesy." (Ibid)
The offer of some customization or "extra" to dividable customers without rising prices is one way to add to customer value. Prestige Pricing, the practice of pricing a product so that not every customer can afford it, "ensures that the product will be sold in limited target markets. Ubiquitous availability and universal use of a product detracts from its exclusivity." (Ibid) Expensive American vehicles such as Corvette and Cadillac denote social prestige for/to owners.
The term, "Limited Availability," can be used by sellers to add prestige and/or social value to cars such as a "Cobra limited edition of Ford Mustang," or a vintage American used cars. Some tools creating social value may also stimulate emotional value. Reportedly, some individuals receive an emotional lift when they have an exclusivity of ownership, perhaps of a luxury used car such as the Lincoln.
In creating payer value, "Sellers may allow a delayed or deferred payment." (Ibid)
In creating market values for used car buyers, sellers need to remember that, basically used car buyers look for good customer service prior to and after the sale is completed. The performance value of a used car is built into the vehicle by the manufacturer. The distribution center, however, creates and determines the service value.
Prior to purchasing a used car, a buyer needs the seller to provide pertinent product information and help him/her assess which used car will best fit his/her needs. Sellers who make a point to provide a potential customer extraordinary pre-purchase services will likely be the person who ultimate transforms the used car showroom visitor into a bona fide used-car buyer.
After the contract for a used car is signed, customers still, at times, need a seller's support. Sellers who make insure a customer's post-purchase concerns are addressed will be pass competitors and be remembered in positive ways whenever it's time again to purchase a "new" used car.
Not only does the process of selling an American used car affect the seller personally, sales of American products in Saudi Arabia, including used cars, influence the U.S. And Saudi as nations. Reports show that the United States' share of world merchandise exports to the Arab Middle East decreased from 18% in 1997 to 13% in 2001. "On the demand side, the broad U.S. export downturn is driven by growing Arab boycotts against U.S. consumer and industrial goods....On the supply side, the increasing restrictions on Arab business travel to the United States, and surging U.S. fear, xenophobia and legal campaigns leveled against Arab business are positioned to accelerate the toll on future trade." ("Dividends of Fear: America's," 2003) IRMEP estimates relate that the U.S. lost U.S. $31 billion in exports between 1998 and 2002. If the spiraling downward trend continues, loses for the U.S. could add to an additional U.S. $63 billion through 2007; constituting a ten-year export loss of U.S. $94 billion. (Ibid) Concerns exist that the U.S. will lose Arab market share at the rate of -7.3% per year. The most heavily damaged U.S. export categories are high value-added industries including civilian aircraft, passenger cars (including used cars), military aircraft and drilling/oilfield equipment.
1998-2007 Forecast U.S. Arab Market Losses (U.S. $Billion) by Export
Passenger cars, new/used
Military aircraft, complete
Drilling & oilfield equipment
Industrial machines, other
Trucks, buses/special vehicles
Parts; special goods
Minimum value shipments
Military trucks, armored vehicles
Measuring, testing Instruments
Other parts and accessories
Military apparel and footwear
Dividends of Fear: America's," 2003)
Along with international concerns regarding used cars being exported from the U.S. To Saudi Arabia, other local, national and international concerns/issues regularly influence sellers and customers. One current concern that would dramatically change the Saudi used car market and, in turn, present new challenges for sellers of American used cars is the question "If" women, who are currently not allowed (legally) to drive in Saudi countries would be given this right/opportunity.
So what would happen if, God forbid, women were to drive their own cars?" These words on one petition related to the current debates on women not being allowed to drive in Saudi society. During 2005, following a usual traffic laws' review by the Shura Council, Mohammad al-Zulfa, a retired history professor, proposed a study be made relating pros and cons of allowing women to drive. Although the council quickly…