Curiosity is a strong fire, and once ignited, it is not easily put out.” – Susan Dennard
It starts when we are first born and becomes stronger as we grow. It compels people to develop an amazing space rocket and put a man on the moon. Research shows that companies and people that use this, see amazing results when compared to those that don’t! What is this magic? Curiosity! F&I managers must stop selling products and start developing a strong effort of creating curiosity about what they have to offer!
As general agents, we don’t have the 2–3 hour window that an F&I coach does, to spend with the managers you visit each month. You must make an impact much faster and leave everyone better than you found them. This can be challenging. However, if you can lead them on a journey to create strong curiosity with their customers, they can see significant increases at every level! Let’s look at the power of curiosity in the buying process.
Curiosity Creates Openness!
Curiosity is openness to what’s possible. When you are genuinely curious, you are less susceptible to the closed mind perspective concerning options that may make your ownership experience more enjoyable. Customers come into the finance office with the goal of holding fast to what they have always believed. If they believe the additional protections offered are not good choices and they don’t need them, they most likely will not change their mind. Unless the power of curiosity is employed. Once made curious, a customer becomes open to information that they may not have, and whether or not that information makes sense. No amount of product knowledge, closing skills or phycological persuasion is as powerful as a customer with genuine curiosity.
Curiosity Surprises People!
Making simple statements that start with “That surprises me” will make customers curious about what that might be. Here are some surprising statements to share with your F&I Team to overcome customer objections.
- “That surprises me, especially since you are buying a front wheel drive – Front wheel drive is more labor intensive for replacing parts.”
- “That surprises me, especially after what I learned about Auto Zone. Auto Zone stock has gone up 60% in the last 12 months and the cost of replacement parts has as well!”
- “That surprises me, especially after what I read in Car and Driver about your vehicle. 40% of the overall cost of a vehicle as of 2020 is the electronics. A $30,000 vehicle has $12,000 of electronics. And they are non-serviceable and non-repairable.”
- “That surprises me, especially after what I learned about the networks in your vehicle. Your customer has 1-2 networks in their house. The vehicle they are buying has 20 networks to handle the 50-70 ECUs on board.”
Finance managers can share the same information all in a long paragraph. However, if they learn to peak the customer’s curiosity first, then the customer will ask for more information. When the finance manger is providing information that the customer asked for, that is a different conversation and one that leads more to buy the coverages they need. That is not a sales pitch to be endured, it is a productive response to the customers request for more information. Now we are helping the customer not selling the customer!
Curiosity Creation Demands Learning Intensification!
The finance professional must have information to share that is impactful and worthy of a customer hearing and using as a basis to change their mind. This requires that the finance professional be a lifelong student of their craft. New information comes out everyday that can change the dynamic in the F&I office and that requires time everyday be spent learning and researching, by finance professionals and those that work alongside of them!
Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates, which provides customized F&I training for dealerships throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has more than 20 years of auto retail and finance experience.