What Not to Ask Dealership Car Buyers

Some questions in the F&I office are non-essential, yet asked anyway, says John Vecchioni.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

October 30, 2015

2 Min Read
Vecchioni aka ldquothe FampI Professorrdquo
Vecchioni a.k.a “the F&I Professor.”

John Vecchioni questions the point of certain questions some dealership F&I managers ask car buyers.

Such as: “How many miles do you drive a year?” That’s often part of extended-service-agreement pitches. But it’s non-essential, says Vecchioni, national sales director at United Car Care, an F&I provider.

“People don’t consciously know the answer, yet that question is asked all the time,” he says at this year’s F&I Industry Summit in Las Vegas. “You are not going to sell service contracts based on asking about miles driven.”

Then there’s this time-worn dealership query: “How do you use your vehicle?” Vecchioni, nicknamed “the F&I Professor,” says that one is senseless. It asks the obvious. People use their vehicles the same way. They drive them.

“All they really want is to buy a car,” he says, citing a need for F&I managers to keep that in mind. “They don’t say, ‘I like that protective product, and I need to buy a car to get it.’”

He’s not opposed to posing qualifying questions as long as they’re relevant and part of a conversation, not a scripted interrogation. “Discovery is finding out what we didn’t know before. It’s hard to discover using a word track. It shouldn’t feel like a setup.”

He recommends asking “Why did you choose this vehicle to buy? What are some things you like about it?”

The answers give F&I managers a sense of what features customers like and presumably want to protect, especially if they’ve paid extra for them.

If people went with upscale wheels, they’re probably interested in wheel-and-tire protection.  If they opted for upscale seats, they likely will consider interior-appearance protection coverage. 

“Match vehicle features to protection-plan benefits,” Vecchioni says. “People won’t buy because of your great presentation. They’ll buy if something makes sense to them. The information you need is what they love about the vehicle. Explain value.”

He recommends this product presentation follow-up: “Do you see how this would maintain the safety or appearance of your vehicle?”

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