So how much does it cost for your dealership to certify a car? Does the Retail Customer understand how Certified adds value to the vehicle? Can they quantify it? Let’s take a look at the top five “Don’ts” when it comes to your CPO process:
- DON’T assume the customer knows what CPO or Certified means! I’d bet if a Late Night Talk Show went out on the streets and asked random people what they thought a “Certified Vehicle” meant, we’d get some pretty interesting answers. I’m sure we’d hear, “that means it’s got a certification letter,” or “it’s just another way for a car dealer to make money,” and “they checked it out”. DO list out what certified means anywhere and everywhere you can: your website, in your vehicle’s ad description online, on the car, in your showroom and with your sales team.
- DON’T rely on your webloader to automatically know that a car is certified and how to explain what your certified program does. Check that it’s pulling from your DMS as certified or make sure your team is marking it correctly. Ensure that your car is listed and is searchable as Certified on third party sites. Bullet point everything certified means in your vehicle descriptions.
- DON’T use basic VIN explosions. VIN explosions only list equipment NOT Factory Packages! Make the CPO car advertise like it was when it was new!!!! A CPO customer is looking for that “almost new” vehicle. Listing factory packages like “Technology Package” and “Cold Weather Package”, makes the car advertise like it did when it was new. Advertise the original Factory Package with MSRP’s to build value with customers. For example, the BMW Premium Package on a 3 series 328 was $2,200 when it was new!!! Use factory colors in your online descriptions, basic webloaders use standard colors like black, white and tan instead of “Raven Black”, “Diamond Pearl White” and “Sierra Nevada Tan”.
- DON’T do CPO half way. If you’re going to sell CPO cars, do it, train to it, dedicate personnel to it and make it part of your store’s culture! Acquisition, Recon, Sales, Service and Finance all have important roles to play.
- Finally, DON’T lose the gross profit opportunity! CPO adds value to the car, stand behind that. When negotiating the deal, keep reminding the sales team and the customer the value points of CPO. F&I also has a great opportunity to continue the warranty and provide products that will protect the customer’s investment.
Be proud of your CPO process and your brand. Your store is best equipped to certify your brand and to ensure that a customer is getting the best value and most reliable pre-owned vehicle. If you have a solid CPO process in place, it will positively affect your non-certified pre-owned as well.