Most dealers will say their finance and insurance department consistently uses a menu to sell service contracts and other aftermarket products. Dealers also insist their finance managers present 100 percent of the products 100 percent of the time.
But do they?
If so, the dealerships are averaging at least 1.75 products per transaction, says David Duncan, senior vice president of Safe-Guard Products International Inc., an Atlanta F&I products and services supplier and training company.
Among Safe-Guard’s clients are several of the nation’s largest dealership groups as well as banks and captive finance companies. The big retailers average $1,000-plus per vehicle retailed.
Luis Garcia, Safe-Guard’s director of training, shares the top reasons dealerships miss the mark of averaging two products per deal.
1. Skipping the menu. The menu is an effective visual aid for the customer and helps the finance manager make a complete presentation of what the store has to offer.
2. Single-product focus. The finance manager pushes just one product -- typically service contracts. Service plans should be the No. 1 seller, but not the only one sold. Service contracts provide a real benefit to customers and draw people back to the dealership for service. But ancillary products will take the business to the next level.
3. Too many products on the menu. “Focus on the fab five,” says Garcia. Narrow the number of items on the menu to five products that have a 20 percent sales penetration or better. Some dealerships get distracted trying to sell too many products. Finance managers can only present a handful of products well, and customers want the process to go quickly.
4. Too much a la carte. Garcia recommends packaging tire-and-wheel, dent-and-ding and windshield protection at a slight discount -- 10 percent off the price of the products sold separately. Dealerships tend to sell more products because finance managers are more likely to present all three items when they’re grouped together.
5. No warm fuzzies. Salespeople are trained to meet and greet customers and establish common ground. But dealerships often drop the ball in the finance office. Finance managers fail to connect with customers. As a result, they are unfamiliar with customers’ needs and try to sell people products they don’t want.
6. No customer interview. Safe-Guard estimates that 80 percent of finance managers skip the customer interview. They claim they don’t have time, but it should only take five minutes, Garcia says.
7. Of-the-cuff introductions. Finance managers should approach customers with a “canned” greeting and stock questions. If managers try to wing it, the process will take too long.
8. Married to a desk. Finance managers need to meet customers on their turf. Get acquainted with customers in the showroom or while they’re in the salesperson’s office -- not when they’re ready to go home.
9. Yes-no questions. Get the customer to open up with open-ended questions that can’t be answered yes or no. For example: “You’re buying a Ford F-150. What made you decide on that vehicle?” A customer might say he’s bought a new boat and needs towing capacity.
10. Poor listening skills. A finance manager who has conducted a friendly interview and learned something about a customer’s needs has an easier time selling products. For example, the manager could say, “You told me that you are only putting $500 down. I’m surprised you’re not buying a GAP plan. Do you know you’ll be in a negative-equity situation for a few years?”
Fantastic article. Right on point. This will be one of my weekly training resources.
Thanks for posting.