What follows is nothing new, but maybe it is a re-fresher we all can use to fine tune our Sub-Prime Sales Process. Yeah sounds boring, right? Maybe it is, yet once again this was the subject of choice in a most recent 20 group meeting. So go get a beverage of choice, find a comfortable seat and start this read.
We asked 10 of our top Sub-Prime Managers to give us a blue print to success and this is what we go:
- Plan for the sale. If you do this you will increase your chances of selling by developing a consistent plan of attack that accounts for all possible outcomes, questions, and objections. Sales are all about the numbers, and you must have contacts, prospects, and a first act presentation. Your sales plan is your road map to achieving your goals.
- Attract prospects. Special finance customers need reliable transportation and want both value and variety. They are often jaded, however, by the flurry of fast-talking, unprepared salespeople who over-promise and under-deliver. They have become skeptical of offers for “Guaranteed Financing.” Your store’s culture must set the tone for a relationship that builds trust in the minds of your future customers.
- Master the telephone. If your entire team does not learn to master their phone skills with proven scripts and word tracks that by pass price and overcome objections, you will find your traffic count low and your customers’ credit scores even lower. You will miss out on that segment of the market that actually has the ability to shop at other stores, and more and more dealers are taking the plunge into special finance (you do not want to be just another flavor). Most customers want and will shop from the comfort of their homes and will contact you by phone or computer.
- Set the appointment. An appointment implies professionalism. Your time is valuable and in demand. The ability to set appointments in a way that will compel your customers to actually show up is a critical. You must be able to separate yourself and the dealership from the competition via the Internet and the telephone.
- Master the meet & greet. A bad first impression will put your prospect on the Be Back Bus…first stop? Your nearest competitor. Every customer must be met with professionalism and enthusiasm. By now most of us have reviewed this with our sales team and have this “in the bag”/
- Perform a needs analysis. Assessing each customer’s particular needs is step number 1 in your first face to face meeting. This analysis will separate you from the competition and help position your team as experts in the industry. The needs analysis also is a critical step in the process for bypassing price and taking directing the customer’s focus to the financing.
- Take the statement. Also known as the credit application, the customer statement is the second part of the interview, subsequent to the needs analysis. It must be accomplished accurately, with diligence and attention to detail. The information will be used to make important credit decisions and there is little room for error, particularly when it comes to the calculation of gross monthly income and time on the job.
- Make a credit decision. Time is of the essence! With accurate information, you can and must make a correct assessment of the customer’s credit strength and buying power. Only then can you present vehicles for sale that will sell at a profit and fit the needs of the customer. Without a detail credit application, you will make your lender’s decision needlessly difficult.
- Vehicle selection / re-selection. It is important to give the customer a selection of vehicles from which they can choose and never give the impression that they have to buy something they do not like or want just because of their credit situation. So do not worry about the customer getting locked into a vehicle that will not work. Most customers will choose a vehicle that meets their budget first.
- Structure the deal and obtain lender approval. While the salesperson is demonstrating the vehicle, the desk or finance manager is working to get an approval. Remember times are of the essence.
- Demonstrate the vehicle. While the financing details are being worked at the desk, the is salesperson is taking the customer on a test drive and selling the vehicle itself. It is important that you exceed the customer’s expectations as a prospective buyer.
- Go over the number. A presentation of financial numbers to any customer should never take place unless you have all the decision-makers present and your customer is ready to make a commitment.
- Close the deal. Never fail to ask for the sale. You must ask the prospect to buy your product and then gain their commitment; the true litmus test for commitment is the deposit. A prospective customer will not leave a deposit unless they are going to buy.
- Contract and deliver. Once you have sold a vehicle that you can get financed and on which you can still earn a profit, you must now contract the customer and deliver it to them. This is the step in the sale where there is zero tolerance for mistakes. Your contracts have to be perfect and you must collect all the stips up front. Otherwise, your contracts in transit will skyrocket and your controller will be screaming. Anyone who presents loan documents for a customer to sign must be thoroughly trained on all federal and state compliance requirements.
- Ask for referrals. This is last and perhaps the most important step on the road to the sale. This is your chance to ask your customer for referrals-not references, but referrals. You should ask for five referrals from every sold customer with the expectation of getting three new prospects.