Selling cars out of recon isn’t new; what is different now is the at-a-glance, real-time visibility that time-to-line (T2L) software gives sales associates. Now they can better match prospect interests and lead inquiries to inventory not yet on the lot or through recon.
There are, however, risks associated with pulling a vehicle forward out of recon even if doing so results in its sale, which is why the timing must be correct.
Get the Timing Right
The right timing starts by knowing whether the vehicle that a prospective lead or phone up is asking about is even at the dealership and, if so, where is it? Is it still waiting on the lot for recon, at a vendor or checked into recon?
When a sales department is given access to the dealership’s recon software, they will know this answer from a glance at their desktop or mobile device. They can quickly gather vehicle details and recon reports to answer prospects’ questions with confidence that builds value in both the car and the dealership.
The goal is to build interest in the vehicle but still time its viewing by the prospect only after it’s detailed and ready to show in all its like-new glory. Making a presentation short of that can shoot sales in the foot.
Wrong Timing is Too Easy
The wrong timing is any time you rush a car through recon or short-cut steps — such as delaying trim attachment or interior appearance detailing — so an interested prospect can look at it now. This competitive urgency to get eyeballs on the car sets dynamics into motion that ultimately work against you.
Wrong timing means you present a car that won’t match the like-new image the prospect had in his or her mind. You’ll find yourself explaining away the ding or wheel scuffs or coffee spill. You can explain that the chips in the paint or missing trim will be taken care of, but the customer hears another trip to the dealership for that — and their enthusiasm leaks a little vigor.
When you apologize for a car you’re showing, the prospect wonders what else isn’t right with it. They don’t care you pulled it ahead in recon to show them — they just see a car you want to sell them that isn’t pretty.
When you pull cars ahead in recon — or pull them out altogether — to get a sale, you also rob your internal mechanical and detail technicians of labor hours and your dealership of profits.
Visual Aides Build Value
Sales associates with access to your recon workflow also have entry to recon’s repair-detail reports and photos of those improvements. By sharing these recon details with prospects, your salespeople build further confidence in your dealership’s promise to sell reliable and well-maintained used cars.
Every sales department wants an advantage. Now, by working in tandem with the recon department, sales associates will know where the cars of interest are in the recon flow, be able to obtain status updates with a click, and be positioned to sell with confidence much earlier in the sales cycle.
This advantageous timing results from having the right insight into these questions so that when sales contacts a prospect interested in a car, recon is almost complete, so sales can schedule an appointment to match the prospect’s visit to the car’s shiny introduction. Only with the pipeline insight available from automated time-to-line recon workflow does the sales department have this type of sales advantage.
Now, sales is equipped to sell cars not yet visible to showroom, phone-up or online prospects — and can quickly provide those interested individuals with precise vehicle data, recon repair information, inspection reports and often recon photos via text or email to build confidence in those vehicles.
The right timing is to know when a car’s recon is reaching finalization and inviting your prospect in then to view the vehicle and test drive it. Scheduling that visit before that sets up a potentially adverse response to a car that has not yet been reconditioned, dampening buyer enthusiasm.
Car sales departments recognize that fresh inventory sells faster and at better margins. An increasing number of dealerships using recon T2L workflow software to improve their inventory turn and profit per car are also using the technology to time vehicle presentation and create measurable sales advantages.