I am a “storybook” advocate when it comes to selling used cars.

A good storybook cannot be what it is without history, which immediately makes people think of the past and what has occurred beforehand. A good history comes with records, and those help tell the story of a car to prospective buyers who then become more likely to buy.

I am interested in what records I can get to make my storybook honest and compelling.

I consider things we have taught dealership salespeople to put in their storybook over the years. There are new items, such as vehicle-history reports and sharing information from car magazines and journals that shows crash-test ratings, gas mileage, customer surveys and the like.

In a way, history is not only about the past. It ties into what we can expect from a car in the present and future.  

What we now teach at Progressive Basics and what we show our dealers to put in their storybook is a copy of the repair order on a vehicle after it has been through reconditioning. The copy doesn’t have to include financial figures because there is no reason to show your costs.

Instead, the purpose of showing the repair order is to document what the dealership did to insure the vehicle was properly reconditioned before it went out on the lot. Knowing that reassures customers.

We also teach dealership people to do a detailed customer trade-in evaluation. It provides information both to share with the trade-in customer and to put it in our storybook for use when we talk with future customers. 

Let’s include the person who is involved in the story as well as his or her vehicle. 

That is how you make history, and avoid creating a mystery that gives car shoppers second thoughts about buying.

Auto industry veteran Tim Deese heads Progressive Basics, a training and consulting firm specializing in used cars. He is at PBasics@aol.com.