How to handle trade-in appraisal requests via phone or email

Sales teams are finding themselves at a considerable disadvantage when being asked to provide trade-in offers on the phone and through email.  We all know it is best to have the customer in front of us in a more controlled environment.  Since shoppers are looking for everything to be quick and easy, it could be counter-productive to take the position of not accommodating consumers with the answers they seek.

Goals to strive for:

1.   Be accommodating and non-evasive in responding

2.   Give a reason to come in for the number (see script)

3.   Create urgency for the buyer to come in for the number

4.   Guard against strictly loading a competitor’s guns

5.    Express the dealership’s extreme need for the customer’s vehicle

6.    Give credit to the appraisal tool, yet with the potential to improve on it (without guaranteeing it)


Below, is a sample of a work track that may improve the results in getting the customer to the dealership. It is likely you have a few on the team that would love suggestions on how to do a better job handling these scenarios.



“Can you give me a number on what your dealership will give me for my trade?”


“We’d be happy to.  We have access to a fantastic online trade appraisal tool, and it’s right there on our website.  Using this tool allows us to provide you an excellent idea of where you stand regarding your trade.

“Here’s some more good news.  Our experience with this customer trade appraisal tool is that it’s spot on regarding a fair, actually aggressive bid on your vehicle.  However, there is one issue we at [dealership] have with it.  It does not take into consideration our dealership’s current and extreme need for local vehicles, especially when they have service records, or at least some customer story behind it.

“We have actually seen the tool come up with very strong numbers, yet when we get the chance to look at the vehicle, we have put anywhere from an additional $1,000 to $1,500 (pick your numbers, or generalize i.e. “a good bit more”).  We just ask for the opportunity to look more closely at your vehicle and, of course, take it for a brief road test.  Doing this will most likely result in an even more aggressive purchase bid for you.

“I’d like to offer you 2 choices and you simply let me know which approach you are most comfortable with.  We can utilize the online appraisal tool in order to get a preliminary number to work with, or what most people have been pleased with is option number 2.  We cut to the chase and let [dealership] see the vehicle and get really aggressive on a purchase bid as early as today.  Which option would you like to proceed with?”

Minimally, maybe more prospects will look at the number provided and be motivated to come into the dealership.  Our mission is to be accommodating and non-evasive while still controlling the deal and the gross to some extent.

The Mar-Kee Group are leaders in AutomotiveBoat and RV sales training, The Mar-Kee Group takes every effort to ensure our clients and their employees are confident and empowered by the tools we offer. Ultimately, it means happier customers that return time and again to your dealership, increased overall sales, and boosted morale for your sales team. A win-win-win for everyone involved! Contact us with any questions or for more information on our sales training courses and strategies.

Richard Keeney
The Mar-Kee Group
251-680-6633 (cell)

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