What Sells A Mercedes-Benz
posted on May 13 2014 by Harvey Yates
If you wander into a Mercedes-Benz main dealer showroom you will see a sea of near monochrome. The majority of cars will vary from a light silver to black. It is hardly a rainbow.
Some of the finishes are described as, for instance, Cavan site Blue but we are not talking here of something mimicking the brilliant azure of the Canaanite crystal but something that is almost, but not quite, devoid of colour. If it wasn’t on a car you would call it grey.
When I visited Mercedes-Benz World recently, I spoke with a couple of their sales staff and the colour range, or lack of it, came up in the conversation.
“We had a C-Class in a lovely dark blue,” one said, pointing to a spot now occupied by a CLS looking dramatic in dark gunmetal. “But it didn’t sell. People said how nice it looked, and then asked for an identical car, but in silver. Buyers tend not to decide on what specific colour they want until they attend and then most opt for one of the greys and silvers, although red SLKs go well. Some will go for black or white. However, they know what they don’t want.”
I asked what they did to convince the average first-time buyer or leaser that a Mercedes-Benz is for them. They both reckoned “nothing”.
“When they come to us they already know they want a Mercedes-Benz. They might have built their business from scratch and now, after years of hard graft, want some reward. Or maybe their parents had a W124 E-Class for instance and for them it is a natural target.”
The other chap nodded in agreement and took over the conversation.
“We often see the person who has wanted one for years but there have been other demands on the purse but now, with the children starting work, they have more freedom and want the best.”
It left open the question as to what they did if they didn’t have to sell.
“There’s more to being a salesman than just taking money. We want to send them out with a car that will make them happy. Or rather, to be honest, to make them a satisfied customer so they return. That’s the gold standard.
“A person might come in wanting an E-Class. After chatting to them you realise that a C-Class would suit them and their needs more precisely. Our job is to point this out as subtly as we can.”
I expressed wonder that they might push a cheaper car.
“People have a certain amount of money to spend and will tend to spend up to that limit, or perhaps a little over. It doesn’t matter to us if they buy a cheaper car with more expensive options or vice versa.
“If we point out that for the price of a basic E-Class they could buy a C-Class that would suit them better and come complete with luxury items such a walnut dash, a bit more technology or perhaps the AMG upgrade, then it often convinces them. Our job is to send them out so happy with the car they bought that when it comes time to trade it in, they’ll even ask for the same person who sold them their previous one.”
I asked what advice they would give to a potential buyer to prepare before coming to buy.
“Have a look around first of all, just a wander. Ask any questions for clarification and then go away and have a think about what you would like. Then return with an open mind and consider the advice we give.
“That said, if you’ve dreamed of buying an SLK, perhaps with an AMG engine fitted, then go for it. The V8 might be more powerful than you need, the boot might be a bit on the small side, but you can work around these problems if you really want it.”
I asked about the colour, or rather lack of it.
“All the options are available. You might have to wait a little while but if a red car does it for you, then go for it. The reason we show so many silver cars is because that’s what buyers want. Don’t forget that trade in value might be hit with unfashionable colours but if you are leasing your car, that becomes someone else’s problem.”
A little bonus for those who lease. I asked what attracted most buyers.
“Apart from the Mercedes-Benz reputation, you know, build quality, safety and comfort, it is the look of the cars. Most people stand at the offside front three-quarter. The cars are designed to look their best from there.”
Thanks to the sales staff of Mercedes-Benz World for their help and hospitality. Click here to see our range of Mercedes-Benz cars available to lease.