Update and embrace your dealership’s appraisal process

Customer trade-ins are often the most fumbled aspect of a dealership’s showroom and online sales process. Many sales consultants admittedly dread the entire appraisal process and the “walk of shame” across the showroom floor to deliver a trade-in value to their customers. But embracing and updating your showroom and online sales process, with respect to trade-ins, can represent one of your biggest opportunities for improved trade-in acquisitions and an improved customer experience.

Fumble

Customers that e-mail the dealership requesting a trade-in value (or an idea) are told that they must come down to the dealership. Here is an example of a sales consultant’s reply email: “Mr. Smith, it would be difficult to provide a trade-in value online and our used car manager doesn’t like doing it in case we make a mistake since we can’t actually see your vehicle. You will have to bring your vehicle down to the dealership.”

Obviously, we would rather a customer bring their vehicle to the dealership for a professional appraisal and the opportunity to sell a new vehicle. However, a customer requesting a trade-in value online is often not ready to make this type of commitment — yet. If they wanted to come down to the dealership, they would have already come down to the dealership.

Touchdown

Always attempt to secure a showroom appointment when replying to an e-lead, or take the conversation offline. For example: “Mr. Smith, we would be delighted to provide you with a trade-in value guideline. I have a few questions that will get this information to you quickly. Where can we reach you in the next few minutes?”

Instead of simply demanding that a customer come down to the dealership, be appreciative and provide choices. Here is an example of a sales consultant’s reply email: “Hi Mr. Smith. My name is Shauna, Internet Sales Consultant. Thank you for your email. Would I be correct in assuming that you would like to get a reasonable idea of what a vehicle similar to yours might be worth as a trade-in? If so, I have two options for you:

First, I could provide you with a chartered bank value and our unique Live Market Analysis of vehicles similar to yours. It’s important for me to note that some vehicles fall below the guideline, while some vehicles actually command more than the guideline.

Second, I could arrange to have your vehicle professionally appraised. This would take less than an hour at our dealership and is provided to you on a no-charge basis and without obligation. The appraisal is a comprehensive process and will provide you with a figure that is specific to your vehicle. I have attached a copy of our Certified Appraisal Process for your review. We would also like the opportunity to buy your vehicle. Which option would you prefer?”

Or: “Hi Mr. Smith. My name is Shauna, Internet Sales Consultant. I have two options for you. Upon viewing your vehicle, we can put it up for bid on a live, online auction from coast to coast. It allows the dealership to obtain instant bids for your vehicle from buyers all across Canada as well as the U.S. With our dollar at @$0.70 U.S., this ensures Top Market Value for your vehicle, yet you are not obligated to sell.

Or, if you prefer, I could provide you with a chartered bank value and our unique Live Market Analysis of vehicles similar to yours. It’s important for me to note that some vehicles fall below the guideline, while some vehicles actually command more than the guideline.

If you would like to participate in our nation-wide live auction, it takes less approximately 45 minutes for the bids. Which option would you prefer?”

Fumble

Sales consultants will sometimes suggest to their customer that they sell their vehicle privately on Kijiji if they are worried that a customer’s trade-in is only a $100 vehicle or much less than desired.

Touchdown

Sales consultants must embrace all trade-ins and show appreciation for the opportunity.

Many customers that have older, high mileage, damaged or less desirable vehicles may feel embarrassed or even intimidated at the prospect of bringing them to a modern, state-of-the-art new vehicle dealership.

Others have already tried to sell their vehicle privately with no success. When a sales consultant demonstrates interest and enthusiasm toward the customer’s trade-in, it can relieve the customer’s anxiety surrounding the trade-in.

Example: “Mr. Lee, we welcome vehicles in all price ranges and would love to have your vehicle. Thank you for bringing it to us.”

Dealerships invest time, knowledge and thousands of dollars in technology to establish trade-in values. Yet for most customers, this entire process is still mysterious. Be proud of your appraisal process, bring it out from the shadows, and embrace trade-ins like you never have before!

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