Salespeople are very important to the dealership in general and the finance department in particular. Nothing happens in a dealership until a vehicle is sold. The salesperson has the first opportunity to influence the position of the customer toward the Finance office and all the F&I products.
Salespeople must have confidence in their finance managers to support them in securing the vehicle sale. They must believe that the No. 1 priority of the finance manager is to protect the front-end gross profit. The finance manager can obtain the trust and support of the salespeople in a number of ways.
- Educating salespeople on how dealer-controlled financing can secure the sale and protect the front-end gross.
- Making time for salespeople to consult on progress of the deals and pending approvals.
- Being efficient with all paperwork. This shows salespeople that they have a competent finance manager, their vehicles will be delivered and they will get paid.
- Preparing the vouchers and incentives accurately and timely for salespeople.
- Participating in sales meetings.
- Working as a TEAM with the sales force.
This cooperative behavior must continue once the finance manager has taken custody of the customer. Just as inappropriate comments from the salesperson can sabotage the finance manager, the finance manager can easily undermine the salesperson’s rapport with the customer. This may not only panic the customer, who may try to withdraw from the sale, it also jeopardizes any repeat or referral business this customer may have generated. With a few simple guidelines in place, though, this derailment can be easily avoided.
To maximize performance and alleviate mishandling of a deal, the finance manager should:
- Separate the car sale from the vehicle financing.
- Avoid commenting on or trying to close the car sale.
Avoid creating a negative attitude with the customer about the Sales Department or the salesperson.
Be sure to join us next week for in-depth insight on understanding today’s credit-challenged market.