The other day, I was looking to get a new pair of sneakers. I visited a popular athletic brand’s website and started playing with their “create a customized shoe” application. I was able to customize everything about the shoe—I chose a custom color, picked unique laces, and added personalized text. There were so many options, and it was a fun experience, but I didn’t buy the shoes. Instead, I went down to my local store and bought a pair of shoes off the rack. No customizations. No add-ons. Just shoes.

Why didn’t I order exactly what I wanted straight from the website? Two reasons:

  1. It’s nice to pick what you want, but when you order online, you don’t get to try the shoes on and see how they truly feel and perform.
  2. I needed help. I had questions about what type of shoe was best for my needs, and there was no possibility of interacting with an expert on the site.

You see, the actual shoe didn’t matter all that much to me. What I needed was to make sure that the shoe I went home with was the perfect shoe for my situation. I needed an expert that would walk me through the different solutions for my situation and make a recommendation about the best shoe for my goals. And it’s the same way when people are shopping for a car.

In fact, it’s even truer with cars. You see, everyone would like to drive a Nicer, Newer® car. But most people are facing a problem that is currently keeping them out of the market. Maybe they think they owe too much on their current car. Or maybe they don’t think they have enough for a down payment. Or maybe they were turned down in the past and now they’re embarrassed that they might not get approved.

When you stop selling specific cars and start selling solutions to these problems, you take these customers out of the dream world of building hypothetical cars on manufacturer websites and give them a real opportunity to start driving the car they want and deserve. That gives you access to a whole new pool of customers that no one else is marketing to.

So stop worrying about stocking the exact cars that VAuto is telling you to stock. When you start giving more value by providing solutions and not just cars, the selection doesn’t matter. And you know what else? Price won’t matter anymore either. Because being an expert and providing a solution is much more valuable than selling a commodity.