For years, auto dealers have been using increasingly sophisticated marketing data and technologies to aid in their equity mining and conquesting efforts. 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 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 rather than a repair bill. This not only helps the customer make a wise decision but also helps dealers conquest a customer who may not originally be theirs.
Finding New Customers in the Service Lane
Through the strength of equity mining, retailers traditionally have tapped into their databases for 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, dealers must find ways to leverage existing customers into new sales opportunities, especially if it also brings new inventory onto the lot via a trade.
A recent S&P Global report says today’s average age of light vehicles in the U.S. rose for a fifth straight year this year to an all-time high of 12.2 years, up nearly two months over 2021. This increase occurred even as the light-vehicle fleet has recovered, growing by 3.5 million units in the past year to 283 million.
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 also are 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 customers arrive for their scheduled service visit, service lane professionals are now leveraging prescreen data that provides information that the dealership’s DMS does not have on vehicles not sold at the dealership. The amount owed on a vehicle powers 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 and months remaining on the loan, and more importantly, 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 be particularly powerful in comparing the cost of a new vehicle and payment with 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 (pictured, above left) is managing director for 700Credit, a provider of credit reports, compliance, identity verification and soft-pull products for the automotive industry.