Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Who Is $elling Whom?


The F&I process enjoys a 100 percent closing ratio. The question is: Who is selling to whom? Is the finance professional selling the customer or is the customer selling the F&I professional? It is an easy puzzle to solve, simply review your daily production reports. If your production has slipped, then the customers are selling your team.

One tool that is helpful, but often underused, is an objection log. This is a simple list of customer reasons as to why they’re not purchasing an offered product or service. When reviewing production, ask to see the team member’s objection logs. While many salespeople may feel reluctant to keep a log, (after all, it’s easier to recite the old standard reasons for low productivity) it can be a valuable tool for improvement.

I recommend my students create and maintain a list of true reasons customers have for not buying a particular product or service. It is best if these notes are made immediately after the deal has been completed so that the presentation and responses are fresh in your mind.

Once the objections have been clarified, the finance professional can discuss them with their mentors and sales teammates to create a list of ideas that address customer concerns. This process enables customer objections to become positive requirements for the products and services you sell.

Another valuable training tool (that most sales professionals dislike) is role-playing. This technique provides a safe environment for the F&I professional to practice new strategies and strengthen existing skill sets. If your finance team does not make the time to role-play with their peers, it means they are practicing on your live customers.

The key to effective role-playing is first to have the presenter write out his or her presentation, then read it out loud. It may sound a little rough, but remember this is just the first run-through. Record the reading then play it back to critique the flow of the presentation. Make any necessary adjustments and read it out loud again. When the presenter has a flow they are comfortable with, have them practice it 21 times. Begin the practice with their basic presentation and then add the objections from the objection log to provide the presenter with practice turning the customer concerns into sales. When critiquing role-playing efforts, it is important to give positive constructive criticism. Think coaching—how can the presenter improve their performance?

The road to higher profits is paved with solid word tracks, practiced presentations, and a product and service line-up that meets customer demands.

Dealer Marketing Magazine, April 2009, P. 35