Article

Why Stories Sell

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Kirk Manzo - Also by this author


For generations, people have passed down the details of history not in written form, but rather with the spoken word. Stories of how the conquerors were vanquished and the village was saved abound. This simple method of communication has allowed others to learn from the past.

When working with customers in the F&I office, explaining all the benefits of the aftermarket products you offer can be very impressive. In the end, your customer is more likely to remember “the story” of how the program saved a past customer from financial hardship, as compared to the specifics details of what is or is not included in package A, B, or C.

In recent conversation with a neighbor, it was apparent a new vehicle had been purchased for their household. After further discussion, he provided an explanation for why the old vehicle had been replaced. An accident had occurred while their teenage son was driving on the interstate returning from hockey practice. While the severity of the crash did cause the airbags to deploy, fortunately no one was injured.

They went on to recount the typical routine of dealing with the insurance claims adjuster and the negotiations related to securing a settlement for what was to become a total loss. Needless to say, it was unpleasant and time–-consuming. How many times do we hear of a customer experiencing this same frustration, yet fail to capture the details of the ordeal to share with future clients? What value could this have?

In the case of this particular family, the question then arose: “So I guess it’s a good thing you had GAP coverage?” And there was silence. A moment later, the young driver’s mother spoke up. “Oh, yeah, now we know what that is. Unfortunately, we did not have that type of coverage.” She went on to explain that this was the first time they had ever experienced a claim of total loss from an accident. Not seeing the need for coverage, they had passed on the offer for GAP protection on their previous purchases.

You can probably tell where this story is leading. As good fortune would have it, the numbers from the insurance claim actually did just cover the balance owed. However, the numbers were so close and the time and effort required to complete a settlement were so high, they purchased the GAP coverage without hesitation on the new replacement vehicle.

Many of you can likely recall similar circumstances experienced by a past customer you have helped. The advantages of the programs you offer are often not fully appreciated with only a features-and-benefits presentation. The story of real people with real consequences can often be the catalyst needed to persuade your next customer to take action now.

You see, in the end, we are all only motivated by two things. We have the desire to move towards things that are pleasant or pleasurable and avoid experiences that bring us pain or discomfort. Storytelling is a format you can use to help your customer better appreciate the value of purchasing coverage and the consequences of not purchasing it.

Vol. 6, Issue 9

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