Much debate lately centers on whether a finance manager needs to do a “pre-interview” or “needs analysis” prior to preparing a menu for a customer.
On the surface, this could seem like a good idea. But practically, it could do more harm than good. I am in no way saying that the pre-interview is useless or ineffective. But it's not for everyone or every market. Let me explain.
First, we are all aware of how today's consumer is more educated about the buying process than ever before.
Many of them know exactly what your job is and they are very resistant to the sales pitch that is sure to come.
This means that as soon as you begin asking questions on their driving habits, they know where you are headed.
The other touted “benefit” of the interview is the opportunity to build rapport. This can be the topic of another article, but trust this: Customers do not care all that much about you, your family or what sports team you favor.
They just bought a car and want to be treated with respect and want to deal with a professional when it comes to their finances.
So, Chris, you may ask, if I don't interview them, how do I know what finance and insurance products to offer my customers?
You should be offering all of them, period. Interviewing the customer may open you up to pre-judging wants or needs. Five minutes with someone does not give you a firm inclination as to what is right for them.
You can gather a lot of information about people from their credit report, the vehicle they traded in and the salesperson that worked with them, although I don't advocate deeply researching your customer's history for purposes of preparing a menu. Past does not always predict future.
Try offering the longest warranty and maintenance plans available, then, if the customer says “I don't keep my car that long” or “I don't drive that many miles,” you can reply, “Great. We have coverage that is less expensive and will work perfectly for your driving habits.”
If you are happy with what you have, leave it alone. But if you are looking for a change, this is a place to start. Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins said, “If you want to know which direction to go, watch where the masses are heading and go the other way.”