New car sales are not meeting forecast rates and used car sales are also behind predictions. Yet there’s still great opportunity to bring your dealership to record profits in 2017. How? A specifically targeted certified pre-owned program!

Building a successful CPO system takes work — and an in-depth understanding of your customer base. If you have a good grasp of your customers’ needs, you can identify which ones will be a good fit for a CPO vehicle. Fortunately, finding the perfect matches for your CPO program is simple. That data is already logged in your CRM. You just have to know what you’re looking for. By prospecting and data mining for four major opportunities, you’ll be able to match the right CPO offers to the right customers, keeping them satisfied and your profits high.

Let’s take a look at these four opportunities:

CPO Opportunity 1: Credit-Challenged Buyers

Many customers would love to purchase a new car but can’t get approved for a loan to finance one. These buyers are a prime target for CPO vehicles, which provide the peace of mind of a new vehicle,
but at lower price points. If you have customers in your CRM who were recently denied a new car loan, now’s the time to reach out and share the benefits of CPO.

Educating these buyers is critical — because one-third of new-vehicle shoppers still don’t know much about CPO programs. And even if customers are relatively CPO-savvy, they might not know that your dealership has CPO options. Promoting CPO in your messaging and on your website is a great way to raise market awareness about your offerings.

CPO Opportunity 2: Frequent Service Visits

Another way to tell whether a customer will be a good fit for CPO is by looking at their service history. Since 10 percent of Americans will drive with their “check engine” light on for three months or more, a customer who regularly visits your dealership for service is probably more safety-conscious than the rest. And safety and security are among CPO’s biggest draws.

When asked why they chose a CPO vehicle, the most common answers customers gave were “the warranty” and “peace of mind.” A full 57 percent of CPO purchasers bought because of the warranty’s safety benefits.

If you’ve tied your service data to your CRM, you can easily search for active service customers. Then target those customers with messaging that emphasizes CPO’s safety benefits. They’ll appreciate the extra peace of mind that you’re offering — and you’ll appreciate the extra CPO sales.

CPO Opportunity 3: Expiring Leases

New-car lessees are excellent targets for CPO programs. You know they’re committed to driving high-quality, proven-safe vehicles.

You also know they aren’t interested in paying the full price of owning a new vehicle. CPO vehicles offer the same high quality and financial benefits of a new-car lease, along with the added perk of owning the vehicle long-term.

Scan the data in your CRM for customers with fast-approaching end-of-lease terms. These customers are a great target, since you know exactly when they’re due back to your dealership. They might be thinking about purchasing their next vehicle instead of leasing — and you should make CPO top-of-mind when they’re making that decision.

On the other hand, if they’d rather sign another lease, CPO can still be in the picture.

CPO leases are highly attractive for many customers and are generally more cost-effective than new-vehicle leases.

CPO Opportunity 4: Recent CPO Purchases

To make your CPO program thrive in the long term, it’s important to keep working to understand your customers after they purchase. How important is it? Well, let me tell you a story.

Back in the 1960s, an Italian businessman wanted to treat himself to the finest sports car in the world – a Ferrari. But when he took his new vehicle on the road, he encountered one mechanical issue after another. Even worse, the more often he brought his vehicle back for service, the more the dealership started to suspect he was the problem, not the car. Fed up, the businessman — named Ferruccio Lamborghini — decided to start manufacturing his own automobiles. And the rest is history.

You aren’t selling CPO Lamborghinis, but the lesson remains the same: Interactions after the sale are just as important as what happens before.

Even if a customer has already bought a CPO vehicle, you should make sure you’re meeting his or her needs after the purchase.

For example, if a customer has purchased a CPO vehicle but didn’t opt for a vehicle service contract, that’s a prime opportunity to provide post-sale value. Inform existing CPO customers of the additional safety benefits and features a service contract can provide.

By looking out for your customers’ needs both now and in the future, you’ll nurture long-term relationships that increase your odds of additional revenue, referrals, and retention.

If you take the time to search for these four important opportunities, you’ll find that your dealership’s own database is your key to matching the right CPO offers to the right customers. By making the effort to understand your customers’ needs and nurture personalized relationships through the CRM, you can tap into a source of sales and referrals that can keep your CPO program successful.

Robert Christman

Robert Christman

Regional Director of Sales, Automotive at USA Today Network-Tennessee
Robert Christman

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