Leadership Through Mentoring: Improving the Back-end Via the Front

Posted by Erik Landrum on April 5, 2019 in F&I Selling Strategies, Interacting with Colleagues/Internal Customers

At my old dealership of nearly 2 decades, we did all of the new car deliveries on the showroom floor. Being inside, it wasn’t long before I began to notice a trend that grabbed my attention. The deliveries were taking a really long time. We’re talking 40-455 minutes, or more, typically. Not only that, but in the late stages of this endeavor I would hear statements like, “Wow… no kidding, I had no idea this car did all that! If I had known it did all that, I would have bought that warranty. Oh well, TOO late now. Let’s wrap this up so I can get out of here.” Uhhggg!!!! Talk about a heal of the hand meet forehead moment. And you can forget about bringing
them back in, to finance, to sign up for the service contract. That train has left the station.

Chances are, of course, that this affects your store, as well.

I’m convinced the more time someone invests in selling an item (without over-selling it), the less time is spent negotiating. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I saw an ad placed by a Sales Manager for an “Expert Negotiator”. They are always looking for good Sales People. However, what these folks often evolve into is someone who gets “smart” and whose process devolves into one of protracted negotiations. The more time spent haggling, the lower the gross/paycheck, but we see it all the time. Sales People, oftentimes, don’t even realize this has happened to them. By constructively pointing out this fact, in the next sales meeting, everyone benefits, including the Guest. SSI scores may even improve.

Here’s how. Simply draw a line that looks like the one below and ask the Sales People where to put the break in the line?… How much of the time should we INVEST in selling the vehicle and how much time should we SPEND in negotiations?

*Finish by highlighting the portion of the line representing time selling, in green, and time negotiating, in red.

Another way to improve their results, (after we’ve verified it won’t pose a conflict to the sales process) is to ask the Sales People to consider how their trades are addressed. Do they tell their Guests, “I’ll be right back… I’ve got to get some information off your trade”? Perhaps, instead, they might consider, “Folks, come sell me your trade”. Explain to them that they won’t believe the effective power of this statement when combined with silently touching all the flaws on the vehicle, Guest in tow. This adds tremendous credibility to the used vehicle valuation and, again, reduces time spent/wasted in negotiations!

While we’re on the subject, do the Sales People have the opportunity to sell ResistAll? If so, they are easily able to parlay the information gathered during the “silent” appraisal process into a features/benefit correlation with their Guests. Something like, “Folks, even though you’ve made a fantastic deal for yourselves, this is a large investment, to be sure! Instead of having to accept the damage, like you had on your old car, from”… (Insert applicable: bird droppings, tree sap, brake dust, bad head-light lenses, damaged interior, etcetera), “we’d like to give you more for your car, next time. Sound good?”

Obviously, the point to all of this is that we have the opportunity to change the conversation from that of, “Why didn’t you explain all of the high-tech features to Mr. and Mrs. Smith BEFORE they came to my office?” to something far more constructive. They, like us, can’t stand to be brow-beaten, nor should they. Consider taking the high road. Give them some advice that will make a real contribution to their income, the satisfaction of the Guests, and the front-end, in general. It will pay huge dividends!!!

Give it a try.

Good luck and good selling!

Erik Landrum
F&I Performance Coach at Conley Insurance Group

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