How to secure lender-qualified payments upfront with digital retailing — Pete Maclnnis | eLEND Solutions

Today’s economic headwinds have forced dealerships nationwide to alter how they achieve customer satisfaction. On today’s Inside Automotive, we’re joined in studio by Pete Maclnnis, CEO of eLEND Solutions, to discuss how affordability impacts the Digital Retail process.

With the average costs of new vehicles approaching nearly $50,000 and interest rates doubling, Maclnnis notes, “The information has done a pendulum swing.” To further explain, Maclnnis highlights the most recent eLEND Solutions study, which surveyed dealerships around the county, and the results showed:

  • 68% of dealers found the payment and cost of the vehicles, according to the consumer, are equally important.
  • 46% said the payment was more important.
  • 31% said that price was the most important. 

With these results, the study then follow-up with questions such as: How many dealers are offering payment calculators,s or how many offer penny-perfect payments? The results showed 52% of dealers’ quote payments could be up to $50 per month of the consumers’ actual costs. Whereas 53% of dealers said, online payment tools were inaccurate 80% of the time. Additionally, 85% of dealers said that accurate online payments could shave off 15 minutes of the F&I process.

The Disconnect

According to Maclnnis, “Digital retailing hasn’t matured yet, sales and finance are still complex, and the penny-perfect process isn’t perfect. This may ultimately be why there is a disconnect between payment quotes and digital retailing.” Maclnnis continues, “The problem with digital retail is the penny-perfect solutions.” The tools don’t account for the taxes and fees, nor do they get the consumers’ actual credit, “it’s all hypothetical.” Therefore, if dealers can establish a price tool before the consumer enters the dealership, they can get an accurate quote with jurisdictional prices, including taxes and fees.

“Digitalize as much of the sales and finance process as you can”


Ultimately, Maclnnis emphasizes that “Dealerships need to examine the digital retail tool as more of an elegant online preconsumer’s “You need to find a way to bring the credit first, not last. Since that is where the consumer’s head is at.” He also encourages dealers to start thinking about pre-desking tools to aid in integrating lender programs. Lender programs will get those that are qualified to get their payments upfront- which will shorten the F&I process.