Around 330 million people said they'd consider buying a used car for their next purchase. That's nearly 70% of the American population, and those are pre-pandemic numbers. Now that we're maneuvering a chip shortage, the door of opportunity is wide open for used car sales, despite inflation. Customers are hardly thinking of a deal when they buy a car in the fall of 2021; they're mainly trying to get a fair price. Today, you don't have to bottom out prices to drag someone in the door. Instead, price your used cars the same way you would if they weren't impossible to come by and boost profit with accessory sales. Used car buyers were already populous and are now joined by other buyers who couldn't even find a new car to buy. There's a straightforward strategy where everybody wins.
The Types of Used Car Buyers
Based on the 2019 survey, used car buyers don't fit in a box anymore. They're all across the board. Still, a few of our generalizations remain. For example, some shoppers are attracted to used cars because they think a new car is a bad investment that will quickly depreciate (said by everybody's dad). Parents buying their teenager a car for the first time are still attracted to used cars, as well as customers adhering to a strict budget (young and old alike). Additionally, you'll find a few disgruntled buyers who can't find a 2021 Ram TRX anywhere in the country and are reluctantly side-eyeing your used lot.
Tips For Selling Used Cars
There's a strategy to selling used cars that may come easier than selling new ones. When you take a less expensive (albeit not by much) second-hand vehicle, the leftover budget is low-hanging fruit for selling accessories. The older the model, the less likely it will have the technology, aesthetic, and safety accessories that many customers want. With that lower ticket price and a few upgrades rolled into F&I, you’ll get a satisfied customer, added front-end gross, improved CSI scores, organic reviews, and repeat customers.
Tip #1: Never Assume
We've all seen the tabloid at the grocery store "exposing" celebrities and millionaires dressed like bums. If you can even draw a moral from a tabloid, it would be this:
- Don't judge a book by its cover.
- When any customer, no matter who they are or what they’re driving, arrives at your store looking for a used car—assume nothing.
- Cater to this customer like they're buying a hidden Lamborghini at your Honda store.
There's a lot of potential to drop serious cash into a used vehicle when you start accessorizing, and you don't know who will be down to do it. Profit aside, even your most frugal customer deserves to be treated well and will be more than happy to tell their friends about their experience.
Tip #2: Ask Good Questions
When selling a used car, assessing profitably starts with good qualifying questions. Instead of a rehearsed pitch, it's more of a conversation that begins naturally at the trade. First, notice whatever you can about the trade-in vehicle, and ask rapport-building questions about what you see (evidence of off-roading, seats damaged by pets or children, pristine condition, and the list continues). Then, as you work through the sales process, uncover why the customer wants the vehicle they’ve picked. Is it best suited for their lifestyle, family goals, or dreams? Is it appearance or functionality that's compelled them? Who will the passengers be? Where will this car spend most of its time? Good qualifying questions uncover dominant buying motives, which you'll use later to make excellent recommendations on upgrades.
Tip #3: Know Your Inventory & Products
On average, a used car buyer is likely to have completed 18-30 hours of research before coming to your store. If they suspect they know more than you about the vehicle they're interested in, you lose your influence on the spot. Not only will the customer wonder if you're brand new or uneducated on the subject, a domino effect will also take place. Without the opportunity to gain their trust, you lose the credibility required to upsell them on accessories (or F&I products), and the customer misses out on a great chance to personalize their vehicle—when it's all said and done. Luckily, having a good accessory sales system will take away the need for the salesperson to know everything about the accessory since it’s laid out in the digital catalog.
Knowing the product will get you to the accessory presentation. Remember that not all used car buyers are on a strict budget or a budget at all. Never let a car sale go by without offering accessories. Lead in with something non-threatening, like all-weather floor mats. Anyone can understand all-weather mats, and the price tag isn't shocking. Once you get the customer perusing and even adding floor mats to the cart, you can use what you've learned about them to recommend additional products. For example splash guards, leather seats, upgraded infotainment centers, or custom wheels might make a lot of sense to the person you've spent the last several hours getting to know and shows you were listening.
Used Car Buyers Want Accessories Too!
Insignia Group is the leading provider of digital platforms to sell accessories at the point of sale. There's no easier way to get profitable in the accessory game than offering accessories during wait time for F&I. Insignia Group offers consultations and custom training programs to create an accessory process in your store that walks alongside the dealership on the road to profitability.