How many times (and hopefully not a lot) does a salesperson walk out with a customer to look at a car, but that car is not in the best of shape? The battery may be dead, the inside or outside is dirty, maybe the window stickers are torn. It could be anything from small to big. Unfortunately, all of those are a representation of that salesperson and your dealership. Most issues with a car can be avoided with a little proactive work.

“Newly saleable” is a term that I used every day when I would open the store where I was working. We would walk every single car that came out of recon the prior day. During these walks, we would have a sheet that would list the standards that the cars needed to fall under. If there was a scratch that was too long or an interior that was too dirty, we would send it back to recon.

Doing the above can require a few unseen things.  

First is that your relationship with your shop needs to be top-notch. If you are bringing cars back that have issues, you could create some animosity between departments. The best way to prevent this is to make sure everyone has bought into the standards that the cars need to adhere to. If a scratch is 5 inches long, and your standard is 2…then it needs to be fixed.

Another way to improve your relationship with the shop is a simple hello. A lot of times, we get caught up in everything we need to do and forget about our teammates. When I was in retail, I made it a point EVERY morning to walk to every department and say hi. Getting to know your team better will foster a stronger relationship. It’s simple, but it works.

The second unforeseen situation is time. Putting a car back into recon decreases the time in which a vehicle can be sold. The easiest solution for this is a standard sheet. If the shop knows what the standards are, then they will not send out a car that does not meet those standards. Again, simple, yet effective. 

But, don’t forget your time with this, too. It will take your team some time to walk your cars. I think this is a good thing though. Let’s say you have a new sales consultant or Porter. Get them out there instead of you. Having them walk your lot is a great way for them to become familiar with your inventory and your products.  This also empowers people to make the best decisions for the company. As a result, this will create a sense of pride.

My last point with walking your inventory is confirming options. There are a lot of tools out there now that will option cars automatically, but if you do not rely on those, then get your team out there. Some of the biggest customer service issues can revolve around a car not having the right options. We all know this so let us do our best to avoid it.

At the end of the day, get some standards and stick to them.