Article

Avoiding Analysis By Paralysis In Special Finance

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Seth Ridgeway - Also by this author

It is said that the older you get, the faster time seems to move. Personally, it’s moving at the speed of light. It is, however, that time again to select my dealer of the month, and Koons Ford Dodge located just south of our nation’s capitol in Falls Church, Va. gets the honor. They’re part of the renowned 18-store Koons Dealer Group located throughout Virginia and Maryland. What impressed me most about the Ford, Dodge store is Used Car Manager Regie Haug. His approach to working credit challenged customers impressed me. Because of him and his team, more than 80 customers were thankful last November for the opportunity to own a new vehicle.
“I got my start in the automotive industry as a mechanic,” Haug said. It didn’t take Haug long to figure out he could make more money in sales and go home clean everyday. He has now been in this industry for more than seven years. Haug states, “One of my best moves was coming over to this Koons store. I’ve enjoyed every minute here, and I have a great sales team to work with.”

“We specialize in sub prime customers and especially those received through our Internet sources,” Haug stated. For ordinary car salespeople, holidays are their slow period, but for sub prime departments, its business as usual. The majority of their credit challenged customer referrals are from the Internet. Approximately 70 percent of all customers today qualify for some type of special finance. The typical sub prime customer is purchasing on a need – not a want – basis. No matter what condition the economy, business is brisk. There is a never-ending need for sales professionals to service this niche of business.

When asked about the types of advertising they use, Haug replied, “We piggyback off of the Koons’ group TV and print advertising for walk-on and phone ups. CustomerFunding.com provides us with all of our outsourced special finance Internet leads.” Of the approximate 160 units moved during two recent months, almost 50 percent were to their own leads. “Twenty percent of the applications we receive from CustomerFunding.com turn into our drivers. I love their service and wouldn’t be without it now.” Averaging $4,200 gross per unit and increasing profits over $160,000 a month since partnering with them, CustomerFunding.com has made a big impact. Increased lead count in months to come will boost sales and profits even more.

I asked Haug what his secret was to closing such a high percentage of Internet leads. He simply stated, “We work every lead as if the customer were golden. Call them first, find out what they are trying to accomplish and then take a course of action to help them make it happen.”

What I don’t understand and probably never will is the “so called” special finance expert that attempts to determine if the customer is even worthy of their time. They look at the application, run their credit report, analyze every detail, shotgun the info to all their lenders and see if an approval comes back. If the customer is declined from the lenders, then they are considered unworthy and contact is never made.

“This type of salesperson suffers from a syndrome called ‘Paralysis through Analysis,’” Haug says. They waste precious time checking out the customer’s info. While they’re procrastinating, some old school salesman has picked up the phone, got the customer to the lot, sold them a vehicle and already has referral appointments set. Real sales professionals don’t need to determine the worthiness of a customer before they make an appointment; that’s done face to face. The most valuable lesson Haug learned when he started selling cars was that you’re not selling to a piece of paper; you’re selling to a human being with feelings, wants and needs. Buying a car is an emotional purchase. Create hope for gain, excitement and build trust, then the customer will come in.

Anyone that can peel a banana can submit a prime deal. If a customer has golden credit, every prime lender wants to buy the paper. What satisfaction can you get from that? When you put together a deal with a customer that has real credit challenges and that customer is smiling because you have lifted the weight of the world off their shoulders – if even for a short time – then you have a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. The fact that sales professionals get paid for this gratuitous act makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.

Vol 3, Issue 1

Comment

  1. 1. Alan M. [ August 05, 2012 @ 07:17AM ]

    Very informative and well put. This manager is clearly a well educated and experienced professional. This article will be presented at our company's next sales preparation meeting. Any way to contact this manager?

 

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