Sales with Trades are “Two-Car Deals”

Jeff Williams

Get a Two-Car Deal 48% of the time by selling to your portfolio.

A “two-car deal” happens every time a dealer takes a trade, and the second deal—the sale of the trade—is often the more profitable of the two.

Here’s why: First, the dealer can usually buy the trade for a favourable price. Unlike when dealers compete with each other to buy cars at auctions, dealers only have to justify a price to the consumer when acquiring a trade. Second, they create the opportunity of additional high-margin service revenue when they recondition the vehicle in-house to be sold on the used-car lot. Third, a used car taken on trade with a story (about the previous owner, the service history, etc.) typically sells faster and at a greater profit than a used car secured from an auction or a third party.

Where can a dealer focus their marketing efforts to secure a steady stream of late model trade-ins? Their customer portfolio.

In mid-April, Absolute Results conducted a study of 31,980 retail sales transactions that occurred from January 1st to March 31st, 2021. Existing portfolio customers made 32.8% of these sales transactions and new customers made the other 67.2%. The average trade rate from vehicles sold to existing customers was 47.99%, while the average trade rate from vehicles sold to new customers was 33.96%.

ESTABLISHED PORTFOLIO CLIENTS ARE 29% MORE LIKELY TO TRADE THAN NEW CUSTOMERS.

Although these numbers show the payoff of a focus on retention, most dealers still spend 80% of their marketing efforts—and dollars—on new customer acquisition.

What simple steps can dealers take to not only grow the monthly number of sales they derive from their portfolio, but also to secure valuable trade-ins and increase customer retention? Here are three practical strategies from the Absolute Results Appointment Culture playbook:

1. Run a weekly appointment blitz

with your sales team focused on portfolio customers currently driving two- to five-year-old cars. Develop word tracts to ask customers how their driving needs have changed, to tell the “story of the used-car market,” and to explain why it’s an ideal time to trade in. Have the Business Development Centre and new sales-team members reach out to orphan customers, while the long-term staff engages their previous customers. Support this blitz with an appointment bonus and a buy-in commission.

2. Run a monthly Appointment-Driven Event.

Create and deploy a portfolio-based multi-channel marketing campaign with personalized messaging for each customer. Support this campaign with an appointment blitz, having the sales team reach out to customers with a limited-time trade-in bonus and a virtual pre-appraisal. Have sales professionals offer private appointments in which they either “go to the customer” or invite the customer to the dealership.

3. Engage with your service customers. Every. Single. Day.

Use offers created by a digital tool like Absolute Drive, which automatically generates “buy-back” or “trade-up” offers for qualifying service customers, which will start a conversation with these brand-loyal customers—50% of whom bought from a competitor.

Locally and globally, hundreds of dealers have proven that these three strategies both grow portfolio sales and secure valuable trade-ins. Weekly appointment blitzes have been adopted as best practice by the hundreds of dealers who have engaged with Absolute Results’ Appointment-Culture training. A recent Appointment-Driven Event generated 33 deals—31 of which included trade-ins! Using the Absolute Drive platform, more than 100 dealers across Canada are increasing customer retention and acquiring inventory with trade-in rates reaching as high as 64%.

Dealers who are able to secure a steady supply of used-vehicle inventory are in a position to win in today’s marketplace. As consumers look for alternatives to public transportation due to the pandemic, the demand for used vehicles is at an all-time high. Record numbers of first-time car buyers, typically purchasers of used vehicles, are entering the market. Rising prices and limited new-vehicle supply are also fuelling the demand for used vehicles.

At the same time, the supply of used vehicles is down. Rental fleet turnover, which provided the largest supply of one- to two-year-old cars in the past, has drastically decreased. Many business-fleet accounts have extended their contracts, and exports of late-model used vehicles to the US continue to further tap Canada’s supply.

All of these factors have created a seller’s market, a market in which dealers can thrive—but only if they have inventory to sell. The solution to winning the battle for used-vehicle inventory lies in a dealer’s portfolio.

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Jeff Williams
Author

ABOUT

Jeff Williams is the CEO of Absolute Results and has dedicated the last 20+ years to helping dealerships, OEM’s, and sales people across the globe rethink how they sell cars. His three greatest passions are his family, his business, and his charity work.