As I travel and talk with managers and dealers I am frequently asked to review and analyze different dealerships sales map's or processes to the sale, it is amazing to me how many overlook the power of the trade in. My opinion is that the trade in is in almost every case the number one secret to the car deal. In all cases, I have always trained sales consultants to look at and review the trade in with the client right after the meet and greet. Now, I am not talking about getting the trade appraised and giving the number up front. All that I want is for the sales consultant to gain some valuable information and build rapport with the client.


Here are a few ideas and suggestions to help you with putting the trade in up front in your sales process:


First, the trade is the one place at your dealership that the client will feel comfortable enough to open up and will allow the sales consultant to start to gain and build rapport.

Secondly, I suggest that the sales consultant always offer the client to take them for a ride in their trade in. This gets the client away from the dealership and will without a doubt allow them to open up to the sales consultant more. This is by far the one way that a sales consultant WILL gain rapport and set themselves apart from most other dealerships.

Thirdly, the sales consultant can ask some key questions that will allow them to add some tools to their tool belt when it comes to the new vehicle. Here are a few sample questions that can be asked.


What is the one reason why you are considering trading in your vehicle?


What do you like most about your trade in?

Is there anything that you would add, change or delete from your trade in?

What was the number one reason why you purchased this particular vehicle?

I see "X" amount of miles on your vehicle, do you anticipate driving about the same amount of miles with your new vehicle?

Since you have now put the trade in first and completed the above areas, now at this point the sales consultant has a clear understanding of what the client likes and dislikes, they have also built the ever so important rapport and have set themselves apart from the competition by showing the client that they do really care about the wants and needs. This is a simple solution that can be implemented into any sales process. As you can see and I firmly believe that the
Trade-In is the secret to the sale.


If you have any questions what so ever feel free to comment here on, email me at or call me directly on my cellular at 419-706-5770. I am here to help you in any way that I can. Happy Selling!!

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Comment by Shawn Clos on July 26, 2012 at 10:08pm

Jae, thank you for the great comments.

Comment by Jae Chang on July 26, 2012 at 11:23am

Great piece Shawn.  Some of the best practices are not a new concept rather a modified basics.  I used to promote, " come on, sell me your car". It's easier to sell if you know how they sell.  Not all would agree but more would once the ice is broken.  The insights gathered would make the final close much easier and less stressed.

Thanks for the share Shawn.

Comment by Shawn Clos on July 23, 2012 at 12:12pm

Mike, you hit the nail on the head and are absolutely correct. So much can be learned and gained from the often over-looked trade-in. IYou are correct, the trade in will give you a great "IN" when it comes to selling accessories. So much can be built upon reviewing the trade and making it a large part of the sales process. Thank you for your post and I appreciate your comment. Happy Selling!!

Comment by Shawn Clos on July 23, 2012 at 12:05pm

Ian, great comment and information!! I love the the question "DESCRIBE A TYPICAL WEEEK IN THE LIFE OF YOUR CAR"? Like you said it builds rapport and lets the client know that you do in fact care and are willing to find the perfect vehicle to meet their needs. GREAT STUFF!!

Thank you again Ian, Happy Selling!!

Comment by Mike Pitkowicz on July 23, 2012 at 11:58am

What a great dialogue! Building a rapport, credibility and understanding the prospect. A truly consultative approach. For those dealerships with a process (and technology) in place for selling accessories this is a great word track transition to increase front end gross..."I noticed that you had custom rims, tinted windows, leather seats and a remote start...what accessories would you want in your new car?"

Comment by Shawn Clos on July 23, 2012 at 11:06am

Michelle, Thank you for your comment! Isn't it funny how some process's stand the test of time and continue to always work. Thank you again, have a wonderful week.

Comment by Ian Woodward on July 23, 2012 at 3:07am

Shawn, Good qualification questions .  Another we are really getting some outstadnign results with, and building fantastic rapport is to ask the customer "Tell me Mr Prospect, in order to make sure we fully meet all your needs would you do me a favoour and "DESCRIBE A TYPICAL WEEEK IN THE LIFE OF YOUR CAR".  By mkaing nots to the responses this allows you to build fantastic rapport by finding common ground and to probe into your customers needs and wants.  Then when you present your car, you can relate it directly back to the information you gathered a few moments ago - e.g. Remember when you said your Son plays hockey and you have to take him to games, would he fit all his gear in the trunk of this car?  This shows you listened to the customer and are making the car fit them, not the customer fit the car!

Comment by Michal Ann Benedict Enders on July 22, 2012 at 8:36am

Way back in the eighties I was taught to at least sit in the trade and start it up before we even looked at a new or newer car.  It was mandatory. It got the salesperson to the trade quickly and forced the salesperson to note personal things about the customer and start building a conversation.  I love adding the test drive to the scenario. This is a great reminder Shawn!

Comment by Shawn Clos on July 21, 2012 at 6:17pm

Fran, thank you very much for your comment, I agree every time that I have implemented this in a dealership I did get some push back from staff. The staff needs to understand how it works in their favor and management MUST hold the staff accountable if they do not follow the process.

As far as demo rides it is so important that the consultant rides along with the client and allows them to drive for as long as they would like to understand the vehicle which builds a sense of ownership and allows the consultant proper time to ask some trail close questions. My experience has taught me the longer the demo the easier the close. I have always used this phrase to overcome the objection from the staff when it comes to longer demo rides. Think about this when you rented your last rental car, how long did it take for you to feel comfortable? My bet is it was probably over 10 miles. This is a great way to explain the importance to the sales staff on longer demos.

All sales managers must hold their staff accountable and if they do not perform to the standards in which are put forth them there needs to be an accountability meeting. Speed of the leader, speed of the team.

Comment by Fran Taylor on July 21, 2012 at 5:34pm

If you can get sales reps to go along with a customer driving the trade in , my hat is off to you . Most sales reps go five to six miles and call that a demo . Sure sounds good though .

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