Article

A BHPH Dealer's Wish List

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ryan Linnehan - Also by this author

Dear Santa,

I realize I may be a little older than the demographic of your typical letter-writer, but you know what they say. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Even though the economy has been very naughty this year, I can show you all the surveys we have received to prove to you that our customers appreciate that we treat them extra nice! So, if you could take just a minute out of your busy schedule to read this letter, I have a few items on my Christmas wish list this year that I’d like to ask for.

Special finance trickle-down business. I know the subprime (and prime) finance companies are tightening up big time, and I believe that will allow many customers who previously qualified for those programs to “trickle down” to us in BHPH. However, in reality, we have not yet seen as much of that business as we expected. I still think it will happen, but sooner would be better than later, so would you mind to help us get the word out to those folks that we have access to the capital they need to finance their next vehicles with us?

Revived tax season. We haven’t seen a huge influx of tax refund money in a few years now. I know some dealers have moved the tax season into December by utilizing refund estimates, and if I felt confident there was a good, compliant way to do it, then I might give that a try. I know many of us are looking forward to getting a boost to our sales, as customers have more access to down payment during this time. While it doesn’t make them a stronger applicant, it sure does help the cash flow.

No new regulations. I know we just got a little reprieve as the FTC’s Red Flags Rule implementation date was extended six months, so it’s not that I’m ungrateful for small blessings like that. By the time they announced it, we had our whole system in place already, but staying on top of all the compliance issues BHPH dealers have to deal with can be exhausting. So, if we could not add anything new to our plate for awhile, that’d be great. And feel free to help repeal any of the unnecessary tasks we currently have to do that distract us from having more productive companies.

Internet leads geared for BHPH. I know there are some good Internet sites that can generate leads, and some that even dip into special finance, but none of the leads I’ve come across seem to be a perfect fit with BHPH. For whatever reason, third party leads seem to be much more price-oriented than the Internet leads we receive from our own site.

An entire sales team excited about consistently prospecting and following up. OK, this may be too much too ask, even of you, but if we could get everyone consistently (in busy times and slow times) making the phone calls, sending letters and postcards, and visiting with customers face-to-face,  I know the activities would lead to more sales.

More respect and a better reputation for the auto industry. Since the majority of auto dealers are good people, trying to do what is right, and are genuinely concerned about their customers, employees and communities, could those dealers be featured in exposes, so the public can get a fairer representation of our industry? And while you’re at it, would you leave a big lump of coal to the few dealers who give us all a bad name, as well as the people in the media that perpetuate the stereotypes, such as the people at ABC News and Edmunds!

Something special in the stockings of our fellow 20 group members. Just to thank them for the many ways they help us each year, in big ways and small, many of which they may never even know about. Their insights and friendships are cherished.

Even more customers to sign up for automatic payments. Whether it is from automatic credit/debit card deductions, allotments, ACHs, or check-by-phone, these forms of payment have really helped take our collections to another level. We’re thrilled that we have nearly half of our accounts set up this way now, but if you could help us out with the other half, that’d be even more thrilling!

Low gas prices. Until we develop alternative fuels (flying reindeer don’t count), the price of gas will always have an impact on our customers. We at least need to maintain the recent drop under $3 a gallon. I can’t believe that seems low now! On a related request, if we could also have the heating oil prices stay reasonable, that would really help those of us dealers who are in the northern climates. Maybe if expenses don’t go through the roof, that will help open up that trickle-down business I asked about earlier.

Peace on Earth. I think it’s a tradition to conclude with this request, right? Or maybe I am thinking of the Miss America pageant. Oh well, I figure if you can give us a sales staff that is excited about prospecting, this one should be a snap!

So, enjoy the cookies and milk I am leaving out for you. I know my list is long and challenging, so I left some extra cookies as a spiff for you! Oh, and one more thing …Would you help me wish everyone reading this a very Merry Christmas? Thanks Santa!

Your ol’ friend,
Ryan

Vol 5, Issue 12

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