The art of sharpness, creativity, imagination and skill allow a true pro to have endless resourcefulness which will pay huge dividends over the course of a career.
Having structure, discipline, great organization and true consistency are all highly desirable traits of professional business managers.
If you are open-minded enough to try something new, I have a technique that will without a doubt make more money on your next financing opportunity. Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of each particular deal that it becomes easy to overlook another way to sell more products and make more gross.
Be in the moment. I had a deal the other day where a guest wanted an OnStar upgrade, the windshield replacement program and the tire and wheel road hazard coverage. He qualified for 0% for 60 months but only wanted to take the retail installment contract out to 48 months.
His rationale was that the Cadillac he was buying comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to- bumper factory limited warranty, and he doesn’t keep them outside of that period. Therefore, he wanted to have a paid-for asset in four years when he is ready to trade again.
I realized my chances of a vehicle service contract were pretty much gone. But rather than get cracked about a $100 flat on a 0% deal with no VSC sale, I continued to focus on the needs he had that I could fulfill.
When I added the options that he expressed interest in, it took his payment up to almost $800/month at 48 months. When I showed him the 60-month option at the same 0%, he liked the payment, but didn’t want to have a balance at trade time with the longer term.
He then said he was currently paying $761/month and wanted to stay close to that. He began to waver on the additional coverages we discussed because of budgetary constraints.
I tried to think of a way to give him some payment relief and still sell some products. I remembered something my good friend and mentor Tony Dee told me at one of his classes a few years ago regarding using the odd term.
The lightbulb went off. I adjusted the term from 60 months down to 51 months – an odd term we typically don’t even think about. This is because most of the lenders we use typically publish a rate sheet with 24-, 36-, 48-, 60-, 72-, 84- or 96-month options.
What a lot of us miss is that it says up to. Meaning, I was able to protect my customer and only increase his term by three months, which he agreed to.
Mix it up! The same technique can be used when working a car deal where you are a few dollars away on payment. Or a customer needs their payment on a certain day to make the deal work for them on a monthly payment basis.
Many lenders will allow between 30 days and 45 days until the first payment. Some even offer 90-day and 120-day deferrals, depending on the lender and the promotion at the time of sale.
The takeaway is, you don’t have to use one or the other. If making a payment due in 38 days or 41 days makes the payment right, or the customer feels better about the deal, then adjust the days to first payment and print the paperwork.
Observe your rigid behavior when you are not able to close the deal and practice this technique to sell more often, more consistently.
Go with the flow. Not being so rigid sometimes pays off when fine-tuning the numbers on a deal in the business office. Being flexible means seeing things from a completely different perspective.
When flexible, we tend to be more open, realize more opportunities and create an environment where it truly is a win-win not only for the dealership, but also, and most importantly, the guest and their experience.
Justin Gasman (above, left) is financial services director for McCaddon Cadillac Buick GMC in Boulder, CO.