How To Turn Your Service Department into the Ultimate Trade-In Resource

July 13, 2022

With the high demand for vehicle maintenance, dealers are constantly looking for new ways to capitalize on this surge in Service. As inventory continues to be low, now is the time for Sales and Service to work in tandem. The sales process is much easier when you have the customer right in front of you, and fortunately, there’s no shortage of customers coming into Service bays. Customers coming in for Service are a prime opportunity to offer a trade-in price and showcase your newest models.

Not only does this offer your dealership an opportunity to replenish highly coveted used inventory, it benefits the customer as well. Used vehicles in good shape are going for nearly as much as new vehicles, and customers can get the most bang for their buck on their trade-in. Dealers can then add another used vehicle to the lot to sell to customers on waiting lists for specific inventory. To turn your Service Department into the ultimate trade-in resource at your dealership, and have measures in place to track how it performs, here are some steps to take:

1 Compile your list of customers.

The criteria for your list may vary. For instance, it could contain customers who have vehicles 3 to 5 years old, vehicle models with the previous generation body styles, vehicle models in high demand, or customers who have not replaced a part that has been recalled. Utilizing your Service CRM can help in your search for customers with specific vehicles that match. Additionally, Car Wars has the Keyword Search feature in the Search For A Call report so you can locate previous calls with customers that match your criteria! Keep in mind your criteria may depend on the new vehicle inventory you currently have on the lot.

2 Create and assign your lists.

You’ve done the research and work to get your list together – now what? Don’t create an unnecessary roadblock to your efforts and use technology to assist you. Car Wars’ Campaign Dialer creates calling lists (a.k.a. campaigns), assigns those lists to agents, efficiently places calls from Car Wars, and reports on campaign progress. As for your team, once they’ve been assigned a campaign, they’ll see a dropdown list of calls to make in their Car Wars account. Managers can monitor the progress of the campaign on the main Campaign page.

3 Call your list of customers… then call them again.

Pick up the phones and start dialing. Have your team set aside time on their calendars daily to make outbound calls so the list is thoroughly touched. In Car Wars, you can track overall call performance efforts with the Staff Activity report to hold your team accountable. For customers that didn’t pick up or were left voicemails, verify with your team those contacts were called again so no opportunities are missed. The goal here is to book an appointment at which your Service advisor can present a trade-in quote.

4 Pull and present trade quotes.

Once you’ve determined which customers are coming in for Service appointments from your list, work with your Sales team to prepare trade-in quotes for each customer. After maintenance is finished, have your Service advisor or Sales agent give the customer his or her trade-in estimate. If the customer is unable to discuss the estimate further or look at a new vehicle, book a firm appointment for a later date.

5 Follow up.

If then the customer can’t commit, let them know you’ll follow up accordingly. As soon as the customer leaves the dealership, have your advisor or Sales agent send a text message with a copy of the trade-in estimate. Implement a follow-up process with a standard cadence to ensure each customer is adequately followed up with and allowed time to consider your offer. For example, after you send your follow-up text, have your advisor give the customer a call introducing him or her to a specific Sales agent. Then have the agent send an email a week later about the new inventory arriving on your lot the customer might be interested in. Finally, send one more text to follow up on your trade-in quote that’s still valid until the end of the month.

There isn’t a crystal ball to know when the current market will change. But why not do all you can to take advantage of it now? Leveraging your Service Department to assist in the trade-in cycle, increase inventory, and increase sales of new vehicles is a positive for your entire dealership.

Learn more about how Car Wars is helping Service Departments Own the Phone and navigate market changes and trends at

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