There have been many articles on how to sell to Gen Z or the Millennials in F&I but it’s just as important to know how to sell to the second-biggest group of car buyers…the Baby Boomers.

Widely looked at as the generation born between 1945-1964, they are still a strong car buying generation that has ample resources and credit to buy vehicles as well as the experience of decades of prior car purchases to draw from. They know what they want, and they have been-there-done-that when it comes to the dealership experience.

Are there specific challenges when selling the Boomers in the box? What do they expect from their F&I experience and how can your store deliver that?

Let’s take a look at some ways your F&I staff can better connect with the Boomers and deliver an experience that will defy their expectations…

Make a Human Connection…

Boomers remember a world not so long ago when people weren’t constantly looking at their phones and avoiding even the most basic human interaction. A deal was closed with a firm handshake and sincere eye contact. Real human connections were made during the long process of buying a car. Relationships matter to them, even if only for an hour or so.

Establish that right from the beginning and your store will have an increased chance of them referring friends and family to come buy a car. Boomers believe in brand loyalty and if they feel your F&I staff went out of their way to make those important connections and got to know them, it will pay dividends in high CSI and higher PRU. Be a good listener, be interested in them, and be sincere. 

Tailor Presentations to THEIR Needs…boomers

Certain products may be a better fit for Boomers than younger buyers and it’s ok to shift your selling process to reflect a different set of needs. Though this group is living longer than generations before them, this could be the last car they finance. Keep that in mind and highlight any protections or warranty coverage that will help them during the loan and beyond. If they are a cash buyer, same strategy applies.

Ask plenty of questions (as you would any buyer) with regard to whether or not they are still working, how much driving to they think they will do in the coming years, do they have resources available to handle maintenance and unexpected repairs, etc.  If they are on a fixed income, the strategy should shift accordingly.

Be Professional & Honest…

Boomers don’t come from the uber-casual business environment that their Gen X or Millennial counterparts have grown up with. Be sure that your F&I managers are professional in both their dress and demeanor when selling to the Boomer customer. They expect a level of maturity and professionalism that some dealers may be lacking.

Clean office, no checking your phone when they are signing their paperwork, no smelly lunch sitting out on the desk, and all paperwork organized and ready to sign.

And remember…this generation of 80 million strong grew up with the fast-talking, sleazy F&I managers of yesterday. They hated it then and they hate it now. Be honest, transparent, and answer every question with the highest level of integrity. They are looking for your F&I managers to mess up…don’t let that happen. 

Don’t Make Assumptions…

The Boomers tend to have good (and lengthy) credit, strong income, and can easily qualify for many incentives. Many are still working and have stellar work histories to help them get fast approvals. Know that many could just as easily get a draft from their own bank or credit union which makes it even more important to treat them with respect. If they feel that the F&I manager is sincere in earning their business, they will be more likely to finance with them.

Don’t let the gray hair fool you…their buying power is strong and they have bought enough cars in their lifetime to know exactly what they want and what they don’t.

F&I managers who dismiss Boomers as either an easy mark for payment packing or who give up too easily thinking they won’t buy any aftermarket products are making a mistake. Ask if they are familiar with your products and if they are, ask if they had purchased them before and what their experience was with it. If they don’t, then educate them without being patronizing. Be transparent and helpful…your CSI and commission check will thank you.

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Kristine Cain is a freelance writer who loves the car business, hiking long trails, and the Steelers (not necessarily in that order). After finishing a degree in psychology at George Mason University in Virginia, she got her first taste of the dealer world working in the service department of a high volume Honda store. Warned early on that the car business would ‘get in her blood’, it did and Kristine made the leap into F&I departments at several stores around the Washington DC area and later to an automotive information company in dealer sales. A veteran of over 20 years in B2B sales to dealers, she leverages that knowledge to help write within the dealer market. Kristine lives in Holly Springs, NC with her husband and family.

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