Keeping Things Moving Via Transitional Segues

Posted by Erik Landrum on January 10, 2020 in F&I Selling Strategies, How to Present Your Menu, Objection Handling, When to Present Your Menu

Anyone who has ever watched motorsports racing has seen the beneficial effects of slipstreaming. We watch as a contender maneuvers up, closely behind the competitor in front of them, only to emerge just before the finish line (propelled by some suddenly present, invisible energy the other doesn’t possess) to take the lead…and victory! In fact, a slipstream may be defined as an assisting force regarded as drawing something along behind something else.

Turbulence, on the other hand, may be defined as violent or unsteady movement of air or water, or of some other fluid. This is what you encounter when you approach the rear of a semi-truck rig, on the
highway, that isn’t equipped with a set of those deployable “wings”. Many rigs now have these on the back of their trailers to increase fuel-efficiency, via reduction in aerodynamic drag. As a motorcyclist, I
can attest to the unstable nature of the air behind a rig without these. Your head is buffeted so violently that vision is blurred, leading to diminished control. When behind a rig equipped with the “wings”, things are smooth!

Turbulence may also be defined as conflict or confusion. This is what you WILL experience, as you move your Guest through the F&I process, without a set of “wings” of your own.

Consider, for example, how you react when, as you are attempting to shepherd your Guest through the process, things don’t go as planned?
As always, you conduct yourself as THE professional guide helping them through the finalization of their vehicle acquisition. That’s the plan, at least, but let’s look at some detours that may pop-up, and how to get back on track.

Normally, you are wisely first presenting ancillary documents, before introducing your menu. You are doing that, aren’t you? This ensures your Guest isn’t immediately slapped with another sales request and allows them to take mental ownership. You’re creating positive momentum. Then the rotors get warped! Suddenly your Guest stops you in your tracks…”Whoa, I’m not signing any of that until I know what my payments and interest rate are!” It is at this point, early in the process, that I have seen so
many Business Managers quickly relent, divert from their plan, and compromise ALL credibility in doing so. Afterall, if you can so easily be deterred from your mission, what are you essentially indicating, regarding its merits? Not only have you now run off the road, you have also crashed into the proverbial oak tree, on the road’s edge! Perhaps, instead, you might respond to the initial objection with the segue, “Folks, I totally understand. These are just ancillary, housekeeping documents, and mandatory disclosures…none of which are going to obligate you to buy the vehicle, until everything is reviewed and agreeable. If you’ll allow me to continue, I believe it will all make sense in a minute.”

That’s it. Stay on track!

When you do get to the menu, you are presenting it in tandem with the Buyer’s Order (that came back to you, originally with the deal), aren’t you? “Folks…these are probably the two most important documents we’re going to review today, so let’s take a look and ensure I have everything on here correctly!” This simultaneous review of both documents keeps things flowing and ensures your Guest is confident that you have the numbers accurately listed in the header/mandatory disclosure.

Then, once you have presented your menu, you are making a column recommendation, aren’t you? This, of course, is the option most appropriate to their circumstances. At this point the first menu objection is tabled. Your
Guest states, “Oh no…I can’t possibly afford that!” You’ll now segue to, “Mary I’ve got great news! This payment
here”, stated while referencing the payment beneath the column you’ve recommended as most appropriate, in their case, “that is everything! That’s your new” (or new to them) “vehicle AND taking advantage of everything we talked about, here!” (This is stated while referencing all the protection in the aforementioned column.) We have made this clarification to avoid the confusion that seems to be present approximately 25% of the time. We have all worked with plenty of folks who think it’s the column payment PLUS the base payment. Don’t leave this unaddressed! If you assume all of your Guests, who don’t do this every day and who are already stressed-out, know this, you are making a mistake.

Your Guests may then state, “Oh sure, I understand that, but the payment…it’s simply too high!” From here you’ll segue with, “Folks, you, like me…I’m sure would agree…this top piece…the ‘full mechanical’ coverage, the one everybody refers to as ‘bumper-to-bumper’…that I’m not really allowed to call it that, because the bumpers aren’t covered…THIS piece is the most important in the WHOLE matrix, wouldn’t you agree?”

If they say, “yes”, transition to rationalizing the rest of the column’s products. For example, reasonably review the fact that since their new vehicle is equipped with a pricey set of factory 22” alloy wheels, the Tire & Wheel coverage is definitely warranted!

The response to the VSC inquiry may, however, be, “no, we didn’t have one on our old vehicle and we didn’t need it!” At this point you’ll segue to “I’m glad you didn’t, last time, because it would have been an obvious waste of money. But who would’ve thought, back then, that we would be sitting here, NOW, talking about the very real possibility” (if applicable) “that the touch screen radio, alone, in your new vehicle could easily be $2500-$3500… just for the parts…and we’re at $140 per hour labor rate! Have you ever seen how much time goes into just getting to the radio? Frequently, by the time the air-bag is carefully removed from the steering wheel, the steering wheel is removed, the shroud from around the steering column is removed, the front seats are removed…heck, there ends-up being what seems like half of your vehicle in the bay next to it! Then, hopefully, they are ready to remove the dash. Once ALL OF THAT is done, they should be able to get to your radio…and this is one of over 5000 components on a typical vehicle!”

From here you might address what the payment would be with them ONLY taking advantage of the VSC and whatever other ‘must haves’ they are identifying.

These are only a few examples of segue usage.

The bottom line, here, is to keep things moving forward via fluid transitions, while avoiding conflict, and providing your Guests a positive, interactive experience. Plan your work and work that plan. Be the professional!

Think about it.

Good luck and good selling!

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