Why Trade-Ins Need More Trust and Less Tension

August 9, 2018

In general, people like getting new cars. Cars are a big part of our daily life. But the process is often stressful because of how long it takes. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Automotive Consumer Study, car buyer satisfaction dropped considerably for three parts of the dealership experience: pricing and haggling issues, paperwork, and length of the purchase process. And usually, all three of these steps are intertwined.

Trade-In Troubles

Pricing and Haggling Issues

Trade-in pricing can be an uncomfortable topic between the dealership and customer. Because no two trade-in cars are alike, customers can get very frustrated with trade-ins and appraisals. This can create tension and lead to a stressful buying process for the customer.


Oftentimes with trade-ins, the customer is handed a sheet of paper with a number on it and no understandable explanation to back up that number. Then, they are given a bunch of paperwork to fill out that is time-consuming, unorganized, and confusing.

Length of Purchase Process

Customers reported that the average time in a dealership was around 3 hours. With today’s busy world, that is uncomfortably long for most people. According to the 2018 Car Buyer Journey Study from Cox Automotive, only 46 percent of car buyers said they were satisfied with how long the process took.

The two points that tend to cause consistent pain for customers are financing and trade-ins.

The Solution: A Collaborative Process

The trade-in process has to be a collaborative process between the dealership and the customer. The customers want to feel like they’re a part of the process every step of the way.

“The more you involve the customer in the trade-in process, the more they see the logic in how you price the car,” said Brad DeSelms, sales director at Fremont Management Co. who owns 12 dealerships across Wyoming and Nebraska.

Fremont has been implementing a new approach that allows customers to evaluate their own cars alongside the staff on an iPad. “We want to reduce the ‘man behind the curtain’ feeling associated with trade-ins, and we think it’s working so far,” says DeSelms.

Making customers happy is all about openly and transparently discussing how you arrived at the number presented and building evidence to support your claim. This takes away buyer frustration and helps dealers hold prices. By using a collaborative process, dealers find they get a lot less pushback on the number. This also makes the process shorter, because the buyer has less confusion and more trust.

Digital platforms can be a big help to this process because they eliminate paperwork steps and provide all the information needed right at your fingertips. They allow for efficiency and transparency. When you can show a customer a fact on a tablet right in front of them, it makes them feel involved and prevents questioning.

When a customer has spent hours researching online and decided to come to your dealership, you practically have their purchase already. Don’t let your trade-in process ruin that.

MAXDigital provides a collaborative trade-in process that will help your customers leave happy. Schedule a demo now.