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How Are You Telling the ‘Story’ of Your Pre-Owned Inventory?

Focus on giving customers the new-car buying experience even with a pre-owned unit.

Kalah Hathcock is the executive vice president of Velocity Automotive.

The highest grossing, most profitable dealerships that we work with are telling the “story” of the pre-owned vehicle and really focusing on giving the customer the new-car buying experience, with a pre-owned unit. Not all used cars are created equal — you need to tell the story, paint the picture, give them an illustration they can’t resist. 

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We are seeing these progressive dealers highlight what makes a unit unique — and I mean showing them visually, not just offering lip service. They are providing data in black and white: the reconditioning investment records, original OEM package and specifications, certified pre-owned (CPO) inspections, warranty and service plans, etc. They are showing them beautiful, full-color OEM brochures, detailed pictures and customized video content. And finally, they are sending this in the way their customers want to receive it — on their cell phones — through text, email and QR codes. They are making this process more fun and less of the beat-down that we know has historically been the biggest car-buying complaint.

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These leaders are also showcasing why doing business with their local dealership is the only choice for a better buying and ownership experience. Most dealerships have a unique buying proposition that we have all seen in TV commercials or radio ads. TV and radio are fine avenues to reach a broad market with a broad message, but when you have a serious shopper that is ready to become a buyer, you need to be intentional with your message and why you are the best dealer to do business with — how you will take better care of them than anyone else. 

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And send this buying advantage message to them, neatly packaged in a single text right along with all the other shopping information they need to feel confident making a purchase from YOU. Offering this kind of high-end shopping experience is a serious competitive advantage. No matter what your pricing is, the experience matters to your customer. Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience and we all know it. It is Sales 101. It is human nature actually; we want to feel important, taken care of, heard … and we want to like the person we are buying from. It doesn’t even matter what product or service we are purchasing — it is universal.

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With new car inventory rolling out slowly, pre-owned inventory is still hot. However, prices are beginning to come down. “The price of the average used car sold in America has declined for three straight months. It’s probably now safe to say that the peak of the price spike that made news throughout 2021 came in December. In March, the average used car sold for $27,246 — down $362 from February and down nearly $1,000 from December’s peak” (kbb.com 4/15/2022). Justify this elevated pricing and give your customers the easy, transparent shopping experience that they are craving. Become the obvious choice. Tell the story your customers want to hear. 

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Note: Always send text messages from a TCPA-compliant platform. Most major CRM systems offer a compliant way to text your customers and track the communications. It is best practice for all customer communications to be sent from a single source of record, like your CRM. All of this can be set up in your CRM as a text and/or email template.

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