Throughout most of the 1920s and 30s bank robber Willie Sutton was at the height of his career.
Disguises and ruses were part of his repertoire, which earned him several nicknames including “Willie the Actor” and “Slick Willie.” Sutton made away with loads of cash.
He made a name for himself by his soft spoken and genteel mannerisms in the commission of his crimes. Unlike many of his contemporaries who engaged in violence, he never carried a loaded gun in a bank for fear “somebody might get hurt,” according to a Reader’s Digest interview.
And he allegedly never robbed a bank when a woman screamed or a baby cried.
He earned a reputation that attracted the media because he was also a determined escape artist, having broken out of many jails. This only added to his folklore.
One reporter wrote of his encounter with Sutton after being captured by asking why he robbed banks. The reply: “Because that's where the money is.” Makes sense to me.
Now, I haven’t met too many folks who don’t like cash. In fact, I marvel at car salespeople whose eyes pop out when a customer brings the green stuff to buy a car instead of a check. It’s like the cash is suddenly worth more than a written slip on an account.
But there are some people in a car dealership who don’t get excited at that. I understand because I’m one of them.
Whether it’s a personal check or a sack of C notes, not many F&I managers drool at the prospect of handling cash deals. The mere sound of the word “cash” drives most of us crazy. This is why we need to up our game when a customer isn’t financing.
On the Ethical F&I Managers Facebook group page, we bat around a lot of subjects throughout the day, but none get more attention than discussion about cash buyers.
F&I staffer who convert them to financing are revered as rock stars because the doorway is now open to incrementally adding F&I products into the deal.
However, most true cash buyers won’t be deterred from their mission. This is where highly skilled pros separate themselves from the herd by having a plan to enthusiastically present F&I products and services.
It’s just common sense that a customer with enough cash to buy a car hasn’t tapped themselves out and is as good a prospect for a vehicle service contract as someone who is financing a vehicle purchase.
Perhaps even more so since they know the value of saving for a rainy day. And a VSC is as good of a bet against the unknown as anything.
Heck, it’s like money in the bank if presented well! And remember this: If they can write a check for $30,000 then can write one for $33,000.
But you must prepare well if you want a good shot at scoring.
Mind over Matter
Flush that stinking thinking that has you convinced they won’t buy because they aren’t financing.
Most communication between people is non-verbal. When you’re negative-minded, it will show in ways the customer can read. Grab hold of your thoughts and realize cash folk are smart and many want coverage. Don’t think for them by refusing to make a quality presentation.
Complete your menu presentation with all the available products at max profit. Tire and wheel protection, key fob replacement plans, pre-paid maintenance, theft protection. Just like finance customers, you have no idea what they will find important. So hit ’em with everything and let them decide.
Don’t try doing it for them. You’ll be shocked how many will pick your platinum cash package.
Jump Start Your Brain
There is physiological evidence that taking a few deep breaths will invigorate your brain by stimulating neurons. After you’ve prepared a menu and are ready to face the customer, try that simple exercise just before bringing them in. You may just be surprised at the results.
You’re prepared and mentally ready, so get out there and make a world-class presentation. Don’t be fake or try copying somebody’s video presentation you saw on Youtube. Be yourself. Talk like a friend. Offer up facts to help the customer decide that’s right for them.
Stop blacking yourself out with negativity. Quit trying to predict what they will or won’t do.
Your job is simply to present your wares and let them decide. Stop selling and start telling. They’ll buy way more if you give them the right information.
Willie Sutton would’ve never become the prolific bank robber he was had he never developed the courage to walk into a bank in broad daylight with an unloaded gun and ask for the money.
I’m not suggesting you imitate that behavior. But my message to F&I managers is to get out there, brush off any negativity, make a great presentation – and ask for the money, because the customer has it.
Good luck and keep closing.
Marv Eleazer, author of this “Real F&I" column, is the lead F&I Manager at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, GA. He has 30 years F&I experience. He is the founder of a Facebook group, Ethical F&I Managers.