The ones that got away: Trolling for used-vehicle inventory

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News
Dealers are looking high and low for good used vehicles to sell. But longtime used-vehicle sales consultant Tim Deese says many aren't tapping some of the best sources for inventory.

For example, dealers are often contacting their customer base and asking whether they're ready to trade. Current customers are definitely a good source to tap, but have you considered the people you didn't sell a vehicle to?

If your closing ratio is 20 percent, there are four prospects for every one you sold, and many of them came to the table with a possible trade-in.

Deese suggests that dealers draft a list of unsold prospects over the previous three months to see whether they are interested in trading. If they're prospective new-vehicle buyers, typically 70 percent of their trade-ins are good enough to retail, he says.

Trolling for used-vehicle inventory? Contact the ones who got away. Chances are you'll catch something.