How Car Dealership Pros Do It

Don’t give up before you’ve even tried.

Justin B. Gasman

July 30, 2020

3 Min Read
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Persistence pays.Getty Images

Sometimes even the best dealership F&I pros get a deal thrown at them that they know is an uphill battle because of how it was worked beforehand.

The appearance of any opportunity is gone. This is where a true F&I pro will push “pause” and think before reacting in contrast to the know-it-all rookie who huffs and puffs about a cash deal.

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The deal must be done whether you make any back-end profit or not, right? Being upset about getting a stripped-out cash deal doesn’t change anything except your mood right before you process the deal. Rather than get mad, look at it as a challenge and teaching opportunity.

I had a deal where a salesman worked it as hard as he could. The desk agreed the customer would pay $40,000 out the door. They would send the customer to his bank to collect his cashier’s check and then complete paperwork with me upon his return.  

The salesman asked if I wanted to talk to the customer before he left. I said, of course. I want to talk to all customers. I said put your paperwork together, just like a regular deal, then I will do the paperwork and review any options he has available, give him his total and send him to the bank.

After quickly bonding with the customer and knocking out all the basic forms, I went into my presentation. After careful review of the offerings, the customer opted for a vehicle service contract. He handed me a credit card for the $2,873. He then left and returned with the $40,000 cashier’s check.

What just happened?

The salesman convinced himself that he had gotten it all. It might have been all the customer would pay for the truck, but it wasn’t all he would spend on his protection options. Moral of the story: Don’t give up before you’ve even tried. Stick to your process. Show the salespeople who don’t really believe you have a shot that you not only will take it 100% of the time, but that sometimes you’ll actually make something of it.

Another situation that pops up from time to time is the loan that has to be written at buy rate just to get it done, so your efforts might be less motivated than if the deal had two points of dealer reserve in it.

I had a customer who has bought three vehicles in the past from my dealership. She bought F&I products and had been agreeable on rate. Her score was in the high 600s, but this time around, the extra options just aren’t in the budget. Do you push to get the deal bought and close it anyway?

Absolutely. This is a woman who brings in gourmet cupcakes from Whole Foods before you’ve even prepared a first pencil. Five years ago, when she was a new customer, I offered a vehicle service contract and gap insurance. She shot me down on both.

I persisted, saying that gap insurance would be beneficial if a total loss occurs because it covers the difference, or gap, between what what the insurance company pays and what she still owes.

She relented and bought gap insurance. A year later, her vehicle was indeed totaled. She was relieved she didn’t have to pay out $6,000.

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Recognize that you have built a loyal relationship with customers and that not every time they do business will be a favorable deal to the finance department. Remember though that how you make them feel, and how the salespeople see you treat the deal, will affect your future dealings with both parties. Sometimes you just eat the cupcake. (Justin Gasman, left)

Justin Gasman is Financial Services Director at McCaddon Cadillac Buick GMC in Boulder, CO.

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