No one likes being ‘sold’. We all shrink away when we hear something that even remotely sounds like a sales pitch and in F&I, it’s easy to feel like that’s what you must do on every deal. After all, F&I is arguably one of the toughest places to sell ANYTHING at the dealership, and high-pressure sales tactics are usually met with a lot of resistance.
But what if there was an easier way to get that last little bit of selling in before the buyer finishes their menu choices? Could there be a better approach that leaves everyone feeling a little better about the experience in F&I?
How about making a ‘recommendation’?
That sounds so much better, doesn’t it? Here’s why this may be a better strategy to close more products before the deal is done.
It’s a psychological thing
It’s psychologically more pleasing to let someone know what you recommend because it’s almost always coming from a positive place. After all, we don’t recommend something that we don’t believe in or that we think has little or no value. For example, we recommend a great place to eat because we KNOW it has good food or great service.
When the buyers are done picking the products they want from the menu, consider what you know about them and their driving and/or ownership habits and simply ask if you can make a recommendation.
It will be very rare to have a customer say ‘no’ at this point. You are asking their permission and that makes a world of difference.
A second chance
Recommending a product they chose not to buy on the first trip through the menu means letting them know why you are asking them to reconsider. If your interview was on point, you can easily see the product or service that would be of value, even if they didn’t see that initially.
By recommending they take another look at tires & wheels, for example, you now get to show that you were actively listening when they described their commute downtown each day in heavy traffic. Potholes are everywhere, after all, and this protection seems like it would be important. You get the picture.
Recommendations are less confrontational and more consultative. Remember, that’s the ultimate way to approach every sale in F&I…a consultative approach that shows empathy and interest in what the customer is saying about how they drive, where they travel, and how long they plan on keeping the car.
Impacts customer satisfaction
CSI should also see a positive impact from this approach. Customers will respond well to having this softer ‘sell’ and see you as someone who is trying to help them make sure they did not miss anything early in the menu presentation. F&I already gets hammered in CSI in large part because some dealers are still either using high-pressure tactics or they make the process drag on.
With a last-second recommendation to your customer in an easy-going tone, your customer will be more open to hearing your reasoning why they should reconsider that appearance package based on what they told you a few moments ago. Again, it preserves your ability to be seen as more professional and consultative.
This all may seem so simple and at its core, it is. F&I managers go through a lot of training on different sales tactics, but this subtle strategy may not get much love, and it should. Entire generations of buyers (looking at you, Millennials, and Gen Z) look to avoid the F&I office as much as they can, so why not try a softer approach and one that relies on simply recommending this ‘set of products that are a perfect fit for you?’
Sure, it could be seen as a change in semantics but it can be powerful for your PVR and a welcome surprise for your customers.
Did you enjoy this article from Kristine Cain? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at email@example.com.