For nearly 30 years, I have been teaching, “Every used car has a story. But if you can't tell it, you can't sell it.”
The importance of having customers involved in their trade in is vital to the sale of a vehicle once you have it reconditioned. You need to involve them in the discussion of when and where they bought it and how long they have had it. Obtain the service records, too, as part of building your “storybook.”
It will give you the material, paired with a copy of the internal reconditioning repair order (blanking the figures off; no one needs to see the amount you spent), so at time of sale you can include these items in your storybook.
Doing that builds confidence and credibility in you and your store. CarFax was a great innovation. In giving vehicle histories, it has helped tremendously, not only in the public sector but also the private sector.
In selling pre-owned vehicles, your two biggest competitors are the individual and the independent. The more credibility you have with buyers, the better. It helps your cause when you can provide a vehicle history.
I strongly recommend you put in the window of your trade-ins a “pedigree” sticker that tells the vehicle's background. Example: “Hello, I was sold new at ABC Ford in 2004, I lived on the south side with a family of four, I was traded in on a new Suburban, I was serviced well by my family and I would really like to become part of yours.”
Whatever you decide to put, the bottom line is that with a “pedigree” sticker you are giving a vehicle a personality. You also are giving customers a storybook that they can read to get to know the vehicle.
Remember, if there's a history there is no mystery.
Used-car expert Tim Deese is head of Progresssive Basics Inc.