Every month we walk into dealerships with the goal of making an impact that will result in increases in multiple areas. They depend on us to leave each department better than we found them. So, we must choose what we do and what we say wisely. The three principles below will, if illustrated properly, make help drive results upward and increase the value of our offering.
Create Defining Moments That Have More Impact Than Learning Moments
There is no magic formula — you cannot force a defining moment. It is the result of doing the right things, the first time and every time, that results in moments when our true character and motives are revealed. The moment our clients see that we are more concerned with their agenda and what they need than what we want, they will engage with us, and the magic begins to happen.
Like you, I go into dealerships with an agenda ready to go to work. However, many times, immediately upon arriving, the needs of the moment demand a change in strategy and schedule. Being prepared to pivot and adjust creates an atmosphere where character is revealed, trust is built, and long-term relationships are formed. A defining moment arrives when it becomes evident that they are the most important item on our agenda. It works with dealership personnel, and it will work with the customers they serve as well.
Provide the Real Power of Third-Party Data
Finance managers have long relied on customers trusting what they tell them — not a high success effort. Customers want to know what experts outside our offices say. AAA has only one purpose, providing information to enable consumers to keep their driving cost to a minimum. They include the cost of a service contract — they call it an extended warranty — in their determination of the cost per mile to own a vehicle. Say to a customer: “Why would AAA assume you will have a service contract if you want to keep your ownership cost to a minimum? Because they know the high cost of a failed part on a vehicle today.”
Bring AAA into the F&I offices you serve. While you’re at it, go ahead and bring in JD Powers and Consumer Reports. These sources and others have provided great data and research that build value in the products offered. Dealership finance offices look to us to bring them third-party data to help them and stir them onto doing more research themselves.
Listen or Lose
We have to say it all the time, and we must keep saying it. You don’t have success because of what you say. You succeed because of what you hear. The most consistent barrier holding back many in the finance office is they talk too much and listen far less than they talk. Every customer needs something. The only way to discover what that is, is to get them to talk about themselves. Every customer has something they like to talk about. Those that can find this consistently have the privilege of peeling off information that will help them sell products like “peeling an onion.”
Coaching those you serve to focus on “finding the onion” that each customer has buried under suspicion and hesitancy will create finance managers that customers love and love to talk to, which usually ends with a win for everyone involved.
Walk into dealerships this month and every month with an impactful agenda that will create defining moments for you and those you serve. That will provide an amazing year ahead.