Monday, October 01, 2007

F&I Express - Station # 9 – Follow-Up Strategy


No” does not mean never. What is your follow-up plan?

Just to recap where we are in the process, the customer has taken delivery. He is enjoying the RV. During the F&I process the customer said, “No thank you,” to the protection and services presented.

Perhaps the lender gave you an advance limit. Perhaps the customer was fatigued and was not giving you his full attention. Perhaps the customer did not see his budget being flexible enough to purchase the protection.

Life changes, people get pay raises, and funds become available for the truly important things in life. So, what is your follow-up plan? Is your stance that you are delivering so many RVs that you don’t have time to follow up on lost opportunities? Or perhaps, you think that it is now or never?

Winter is knocking on our door. With winter comes the annual slowdown of customer traffic in the showroom. This is a great time to mine for additional sales with people who know you, trust you, and have fallen in love with their new RVs.

Given the right motivation, I am sure your customer will want to protect his future budget from a surprise repair bill or the unsightly view of a faded RV that has seen too many UV rays.

Perhaps since he purchased his RV, your dealership began representing a security system, or is presenting a variety of safes to protect the customer’s valuables.

Opportunities are right in front of you.

Tracking Lost Sales

Most departments keep logs either by a Dealer Management System (DMS) or with manual logs. Your data source should provide you a report that identifies the customer who declined a particular product or service. After you identify the prospects, use technology.

Most dealerships gather customer e-mail addresses. Have you been securing permission to market to the customer’s e-mail address? If not, no time like the present to begin. Make the permission slip simple, and make it easy for customers to say “Yes”. Collect e-mail addresses in parts, service and during the sales process.

View these addresses as future business, because that is exactly what they represent.

Create an attractive one-page PDF that highlights the benefits of your product or services from the customer’s point of view. Make the e-mail personal. No one likes getting mail, electronic or snail, addressed to “Dear Customer.” Those letters go directly into the recycle bin.

Learn how to use the mail merge feature of your word processing program. Your IT department should be able to assist in executing the customized letters.

Example of Follow-Up Letter

Dear Mr. ____________, (make the e-mail personal)

Again, I wish to thank you for purchasing your RV with our dealership. Upon review of your documentation, we noticed that you did not purchase a service agreement. If your mileage is under ____________, you may still qualify for this valuable protection.

Here are some benefits you will receive:

1) Peace of mind – Your monthly budget will be fixed instead of variable. The service department will always be paid, and you will have peace of mind knowing payment will not come from you for the first _____ year’s ________ miles.

2) Affordable protection – If you act now, you still can take advantage of new vehicle pricing, plus buying a tailor-made plan that gives you adequate coverage.

3) Convenience – It's easy to start. Simply return this e-mail. We can prepare the documentation and send it out to you or you can stop by the dealership.

4) Easy claims – Claims are paid directly to the service department and our policies are recognized by _________(any licensed mechanic).

5) Dependable – Our policies are backed by ___________, a ____ rated insurance company.

6) Second Chance coupon – By returning this e-mail, you can save $_____.00 toward the purchase of your service agreement protection.

Act now to protect your vehicle, your budget and your mobility.

Best regards,

Sales Business Manager
Any Town Motors
Main Street
Any Town, USA

The Plan

E–mail the follow-up letter about six months after delivery. This method represents a savings in postage, printing and ink. It is modern and a wise use of resources.

Every written contact should be followed up with a phone call. This way you can answer any questions about the product or service the customer may have.

Remember, the goal is to provide world-class service, and provide the customer with value and protection during the ownership of the vehicle.

Best Times to Call

The best time to place sales calls are in the morning after 9 and prior to 2 p.m. I do not think anyone likes being disturbed during dinner, so stay clear of the dinner hour.

Yes, you might have to leave some voicemail messages. It is important that you leave a short and to-the-point message.

Sample message: “Hello, I am (your name) from (dealership). I am following up on some information I sent to you via (e-mail or regular post). I can be reached at (dealership) during the hours of (office hours). I look forward to hearing from you. Have an outstanding day! Goodbye!”

Implementing a consistent follow-up plan can fill your winter months with opportunities. Spend multiple letters, notes and reminders until the customer literally runs out of time from your vendor’s underwriting guidelines. Sometimes one letter and one phone call is simply not enough. It takes persistence.

RV Executive Today, October 2008 Issue, P. 37 – 38