So…you advertise that whether someone has good credit, bad credit, or no credit…you can help! You claim that bankruptcies and foreclosures are no problem! You contend that whether someone has no pays, slow pays, or late pays… you say yes! Maybe you have invested in special finance software… Maybe you have purchased special finance leads… Maybe you have invested in various special finance marketing campaigns… So what? What’s so “special” about your Special Finance Department?
I consult and train special finance operations all over the country, and if you think any of the above is “special” than you are gravely mistaken! I believe Special Finance is much more than an incremental opportunity! Special Finance is creative solutions to everyday problems such as poor credit history, no credit history, limited income, limited work history, negative equity, and limited cash down. With the majority of our population in need of these critical solutions, automotive dealers need an easy, repeatable, and proven system for leveraging solutions, changing lives, and getting more appointments…more approvals…and more deliveries! Whether you have a separate special finance department or a blended operation, special finance could be your golden ticket to dominating in your local market. However, if you really want to advance and conquer, your special finance department better be “special.” Here’s the test…
1: Does Your Dealership Get Everyone Approved?
There is zero excuse for not being able to provide every customer that walks into your showroom with a credit approval…period! The resources are readily available. At a bare minimum your process should be to bring in everyone, submit everyone, and approve everyone. If this is not your process, you are likely doing more damage than good by upsetting far more customers each month than you are actually helping. With that said, consistently originating approvals that are big wins require a repeatable system. Have you built a portfolio of lenders that allows you to help customers across all credit tiers whether they are high or low income buyers? Have you purchased inventory to maximize those lending programs and marry those customers? Have you built strong lender relationships? Have you gathered the right information to adequately and profitably sell the paper and secure the delivery?
2: Does Your Dealership Create Customers that are Flexible?
The biggest mistake you can make is trying to work a non-prime deal like a prime deal! The deal triggers are completely different. If you work prime and non-prime deals the same way, at best you will wind up with a short deal, at worst you will wind up with no deal at all. Listen, you have two options…you can either try to find special finance deals, or you can create them! Fact: The #2 reason why a special finance deal was not delivered in your store last month was the customers’ lack of flexibility and unwillingness to accept the vehicle or payment for which you had them approved. Dealers that dominate don’t waste time and energy finding special finance deals; they create them! They don’t ask their customers what they want to drive, what they want their payment to be, or what they want to put down; and then hope to find an approval and vehicle to match. They understand it’s not about what their customer wants it to be, it’s about what it can be; and their customers understand it’s not simply about buying a vehicle, it’s about securing a solution! Do you create special finance deals or merely try to find special finance deals? Do you properly manage your customers’ expectations? Do you truly connect with your customers and become their trusted advisor? Do you build and leverage authority and ultimate influence with your customers to successfully guide them to delivery?
3: Does Your Dealership Create Customers that Sacrifice?
Way too many dealers have bought into “my customers just don’t have any money to put down.” Are you kidding me? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! Almost all of your special finance customers either have the money or have a way to get the money…every time! I have proved this to countless dealers time and time again. Dealers that dominate thrive in the area of cash down. Fact: The #1 reason why a special finance deal was not delivered in your store last month was lack of cash down. Cash down always either makes the deal or makes the deal better, but lack of cash down absolutely destroys your opportunity. For some reason, dealers seem to think that the magic is in asking for it. The fact of the matter is no one, regardless of their credit, wants to put any money down…period! The magic isn’t in asking for it, the magic is in motivating your customer to provide it. Do you have a defined process for consistently getting big customer down payments? Do you leverage the credit approval? Do you engage your customers emotionally and leverage their most powerful buying motives? Do you leverage your solution and its impact on your customers’ family, occupation, and recreation? Do your customers dig deep and work as hard as you do to secure financing?
4: Does Your Dealership Create Deals that Exceed Benchmarks?
It is impossible for you to routinely create deals that exceed benchmarks without completely maximizing the lenders’ front and backend advances. Deal structure, submittals, and call backs are all key! Dealers that dominate know that lenders work harder to keep deals than they do to get deals. They also understand that building the deal around PTI is the key and foundation to maximizing their front and backend advances. They never shotgun, and they submit deals to each individual lender according to their unique program guidelines and performance history. By submitting deals that casual, customary, common-sense, choice, and collectable, they put themselves in a position to put more green on their screen and in their pockets. Do you structure deals to find opportunity or create opportunity? Do you have a systematic process for submitting deals to get more approvals? Do you have a callback procedure that enables you to build lender relationships and maximize every deal in both front and backend profit?
5: Does Your Dealership Prepare to Close More Deals More Often?
It is crazy how many dealers struggle to overcome objections and close more deals. When’s the last time you’ve heard a “new” objection? The objections are always the same, right? Preparation and process are key! Dealers that dominate understand that their customers make decisions emotionally and then justify their decisions logically. They understand and leverage their customer’s most powerful buying motives. They not only overcome more objections through easy and repeatable re-framing and de-framing techniques, but they also avoid many objections by carefully pre-framing objections long before they even become an issue. Dealers that advance and conquer are seasoned and experienced in creating out-of-box solutions to standard in-box problems. Do you engage and motivate your customers emotionally and logically? Do you discover and leverage their most powerful and compelling reasons to buy now? Do you have word tracts and processes in place to overcome objections and close more deals? Do you have a system for creating urgency and forming out-of-box solutions to in-box problems?
6: Does Your Dealership Maximize Special Finance Leads & Drive Traffic?
Whether dealers purchase or organically generate their special finance leads, special finance leads should be money in the bank! What better than customers raising their hands just looking for someone to help? With that said, contacting, connecting, committing, and contracting special finance leads each has their own set of challenges. Dealers that dominate do not struggle with contacting leads. They are experts at creating credibility, curiosity, and locking-down customer commitment. They employ a multi-pronged approach with proven word tracts and scripts that enable them to sell more appointments and completely blow up their show ratio. They convert more unsold showroom traffic, and drive additional traffic through referrals, reviews, social media, and strategic campaigns. The #1 reason a customer doesn’t return your call is they are not curious enough to make the call. Do you have a process and word tracts for creating curiosity? The #1 reason a customer does not show up for their appointment is they don’t really believe you can help them. Do you have a process for creating credibility, believability, and locking down customer commitment? Do you simply call your leads or do you campaign your leads? Do you have a process for converting unsold showroom traffic, and driving additional traffic through referrals, reviews, social media, and other strategic campaigns?
So how did you do? What’s so “special” about your Special Finance Department? I look forward to your comments below…
Enrollment for the Spring Special Finance Certification Course is underway. This six week Special Finance Training & Development program is designed to drive positive change and dramatic results in your dealership through Live Online Instruction, Individual One-on-One Coaching, and Strategic Implementation. Enrollees will have the opportunity to harness the power of Special Finance in their dealership, become CreditCare™ Certified, and radically accelerate their success!
*Class sizes are limited. Check out www.SpecialFinanceSchool.com to register today!
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader!” John Quincy Adams
Cornerstone Dealer Development, LLC
Mike Hirschfield is the President of Cornerstone Dealer Development, and founder of the proprietary CS3™ Sales System and the CreditCare™ Subprime System. Mike says “relationships ought to be everyone’s top priority and greatest ambition!” To rapidly accelerate your success Connect…Serve…Solve…and Support!