For years, dealers have been using increasingly sophisticated marketing data and technologies to aid in their equity mining and conquesting efforts. But today, leading retailers have found an even more competitive edge by leveraging data and resources that combine the powers of equity mining in the service lane.
Combined with solutions that include equity calculators, smart dealers are now easily integrating credit-first soft-pull tools into their daily workflows to build additional conquest opportunities when customers bring their vehicles in for service.
These additional tools built with soft-pull technology are helping dealers and service managers offer quick valuation calculations to show customers how and where it might make sense to consider a new vehicle on the lot compared to the repair bill. This certainly benefits the customer make a wise decision, but it also helps dealers conquest a customer that may not originally be theirs, along with additional used and pre-owned inventory.
Finding New Customers in the Service Lane
Through the strength of equity mining, retailers have traditionally tapped into their databases for new customer sales opportunities. They already have an existing relationship with these customers, especially if they were satisfied during the initial sale.
However, today’s challenge isn’t necessarily finding new customers – they are plentiful walking into showrooms. Rather, the new challenges of today are finding ways to leverage existing customers into new sales opportunities, especially if it also brings new inventory onto the lot via a trade.
S&P Global recently released a report1 illustrating that today’s average age of light vehicles in the U.S. has reached an all-time high this year as the number of passenger cars and trucks has reached 283 million.
The average age of light vehicles in operation in the U.S. rose to 12.2 years this year, increasing by nearly two months over the prior year. The research firm said this is the fifth straight year the average vehicle age in the U.S. has risen. This year’s average age marks another all-time high for the average age even as the vehicle fleet recovered, growing by 3.5 million units in the past year.
Older vehicles on the road will most likely mean regular and scheduled visits to the service lane at dealerships. While many people have a vested interest in keeping up with scheduled maintenance, they are also faced with the realities of unscheduled maintenance needs that come with a price. This presents an opportunity for dealers to discuss the potential of opting for a new vehicle as opposed to making a potentially expensive repair on an aging vehicle.
Advanced Resources to Make Conquesting More Efficient
When they arrive for their scheduled service visit, service lane professionals are now leveraging prescreen data that provides information that the dealerships DMS does not have on vehicles not sold at the dealership. The amount owed on a vehicle, powering equity calculators that show how much a customer has available for a new car. This information helps the service representative quickly pivot to new options with all the credit and finance background they need to help their customer make an informed decision.
The data and tools also provide current monthly payment, month’s remaining on the loan and more so the current payment can be compared to a new payment. Prescreens can be run automatically or manually on conquest customers (service not sold) resulting in more upsell opportunities in the service lane. All of this is based on credit data that provides the most current FICO@ score of the lead. This can also be particularly powerful in comparing the cost of a new vehicle and payment to potentially large estimates on service activity.
Smart general managers realize they need to find that competitive edge in every corner of the dealership, or in this case, new customers in the service garage.
Ken Hill is managing director for 700Credit, one of the automotive industry’s leading providers of credit reports, compliance, identity verification and soft pull products. For more information, visit www.700credit.com.