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  • Sean Cassy

Sell More Cars By Offering Your Customers a Certified Trade-in Value

Imagine if you could provide vehicle shoppers a Certified Trade-in Value mid-way through any finance or lease contract; even if the finance contract was for as long as 96 months.

Do you think that a promise like that could help bring an element of trust in the prospect’s mind as to the quality of the vehicle you’re trying to sell him or her?

I mean, many dealers talk about the resale value of their vehicles; but imagine if you could certify it?

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!

Imagine now if every new or preowned vehicle you sell would automatically come with an individually customised and personalised sales event, halfway through all your finance or lease contracts, inviting vehicle owners to take advantage of the Certified Trade-in Value to upgrade to a newer model.

Would that take care of most of your retention and upgrade efforts?

Can you imagine a better marketing angle than to offer a certified trade-in value and a better way to create urgency than a certificate valid for a period of 30 days to get your customers to take action?

Now imagine if the credibility of such a program didn’t rest on your shoulders, but that the certified trade-in values were provided by a reliable institution like the Canadian Black Book and that the trade-in values were insured by a financial partner as robust as Northbridge Insurance.

Would that unequivocally dissipate any element of frailty that might have been lingering in your mind?

If you’re like most of the dealers and automotive professionals I’ve been talking with during the last few weeks, you’re probably hoping this is not some far distant project slowly coming together but something available now, right?

Well it is!

Look, unless you’re “sleeping at the wheel” (PUN intended), I’m sure you can already start to play in your mind all the marketing material you could create to grow your sales and the edge you would have over your competitors by embracing a first mover's advantage on a unique selling proposition of this nature!

Is it a Marketing or Retention Program?

At this point, you might be tempted to think of the opportunity as a retention program; and you wouldn’t be wrong. Your customers will literally be forced (gently) to come by your store midway through their finance or lease contract to validate the value of their Certified Trade-in Value certificate.

That’s like having an automatic private sales event every single month throughout the year without having to “pitch” your current customers with incentives or gimmicks!

I’m sure you can see how that will take the marketing pressure off your current customers without risking losing them to your competitors.

Oh, did I mention the Certified Trade-in Value was ONLY valid at the store where the vehicle was purchased? That way, your customers won’t be able to shop the Certified Trade-in Value in other stores!

They have to come back to YOUR dealership!

That said, in my humble opinion, the real power of the program is on the marketing side.

As you know, from a marketing standpoint, most prospects are desperately looking for a reason to choose one dealer over another; so the first thing I would be doing is including this powerful differentiator into all your marketing messages.

Imagine if you were the only dealer in your market with the ability to offer Certified Trade-in Values on pick-up trucks or SUVs? Would that provide you with an edge over the other dealers in town?

Imagine if you were the only dealer in the area with the power to support your pre-owned inventory with Certified Trade-in Values. Would that help you grow your used car sales to the detriment of your competitors who would be left telling their customers to cross their fingers as to the future value of the vehicles bought at their stores?

Imagine if you were the only special finance dealer in the area with the ability to legitimately offer a Certified Trade-in Value to customers halfway through a finance contract locked in at a higher interest rate. As you know, many special finance dealers make vague promises offering to get their customers out of the original loan at a later date with their lure of helping them get more car for their money; but your dealership would have a tangible tool to legitimately support your credit rebuilding efforts.

Imagine if you were the only luxury dealer in the area with a Certified Trade-in Value attached to all its inventory. With many luxury vehicles now in the 6-figure-price-tag, do you think that would give luxury buyers a reason to choose you over your competitors?

…or imagine if you could also use a Certified Trade-in Value certificate to help you sell the models that your manufacturer decided to rebrand or discontinue. Would that help alleviate some of the uncertainty created by the decision to get rid of the car line?

Look, with more and more vehicles being sold sight-unseen every month, imagine the power of a program that would certify the future trade-in value of the models bought by consumers online. Could this be the tool you were missing to expand the reach of your brand outside of your market?

As you can see now, the biggest error you could make would be to think of this program as a retention tool only, and not leverage the marketing muscle of such a bold promise to explode the sales of your dealership.

How Does It Work?

The program can be launched in less than 24 hours and protects all your new and pre-owned inventory. No long term contracts or upfront balloon investments are required

Every time you sell a vehicle, you download from a secure portal the Certified Trade-in Value certificate and the Canadian Black Book future value of the vehicle at the midway point of the finance or lease contract, or any other arbitrary point in time you see fit for cash deals.

You then provide a copy of the certificate to the customer.

90-days before the midway point, the marketing funnel kicks in to make sure your customers show up for the trade evaluation. To create urgency, the certificate is good for only 30 days; to create loyalty, the certificate is good only at your dealership.

If the Canadian Black Book value of the vehicle at that time is lower than what was originally certified, Northbridge Insurance will cover the difference up to $2,000.

The beauty of the program is in its simplicity. The Certified Trade-in Value has nothing to do with the actual value of the vehicle the customer is driving, the mileage, the condition, or other factors out of your control; but only to do with the spread between the Canadian Black Book future value and the Canadian Black Book actual value when the certificate activates.

The difference would be simply added to the real value your appraisal team would be ready to pay for the vehicle. Straightforward for the customer. Nothing messy for the dealership.

Playing Devil’s Advocate

At this point, if you’re starting to worry about customers coming at the midway point upside down with a balance on their loan, I’m going to say this politely, but you might not be in the right game.

If you’re comfortable forfeiting a chance to have a conversation with your customers about upgrading their vehicle because there’s a risk of negative equity, this program might not be the right fit for you.

Honestly, if you’re not the one with a chance of getting a kick at the upgrade can when your customers are getting itchy for a bump up in transportation, I know your competitors will; one way or another!

Private sale companies do it successfully all the time with much less attractive marketing hooks.

I wouldn’t worry so much about negative equity but more about having your competitors precipitating your customers buying decision in favour of a Certified Trade-in Value protecting their next vehicle.

Call to Action

Look, in my experience, if you’re still reading this article, you’re either freaking out wanting to know more about the program right now so you can implement as soon as possible and have the first mover’s advantage in your market; or you’re getting tangled and paralyzed with a million “what if” questions.

If you want to take advantage of the marketing muscle of a Certified Trade-in Value promise and the consistency and predictability of a lease and finance midway point retention program, give me a quick call, and I’ll walk you through this game-changer in 10 minutes.

I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and put my shoulder to your marketing machine to make sure you dominate and grow your sales using this incredible differentiator.

If you prefer to wait, I should have an easy to use FAQ section a year from now for every dealer who will want to jump on board when the program is something every customer has come to expect from dealers when buying a vehicle.

Let me know at which end of the excitement spectrum you are!

Like I love to say: Let’s sell some cars!!

Download the full presentation click HERE.


Sean Cassy is the Digital Marketing Specialist and Co-Owner of Turbo Marketing Solutions. You can contact him by email here or reach him by phone every weekday at Turbo Marketing’s head office.

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