F&I: Professional Communication Brings Sales

Just because someone presents a customer with a menu doesn’t mean they lose their voice or personality or that the sales process has become an automated one.

F&I managers use the menu presentation to take advantage of up-sell opportunities and to provide more products to their customers that compliments their new vehicle. But just because someone presents a customer with a menu doesn’t mean they lose their voice or personality or that the sales process has become an automated one.

Don’t Cross the Line

To the contrary, the human factor is as essential as ever before. A good salesperson leverages his or her humanity to make a connection with the buyer. Simply stated: customers buy from people they like. If you’re credible, straightforward and likable, chances are the customer will buy from you. Better yet, they’ll come back next time they’re in the market—or refer a friend or family member.

However, some finance managers are guilty of crossing the line when trying to make that vital human connection. Worse yet, many of them don’t even realize they’ve gone over the line until they’ve lost the sale and they’re left to wonder, “What went wrong?”

Too Much (Wrong) Information

Some finance and sales professionals think that taking things over the top will imbue them with a sense of “cool” or “funny” will get the customer eating out of their hands. Many insist that customers find this behavior irresistible—but one look at the customer’s raised eyebrows or half-hearted laugh will tell you right away that it doesn’t work.

Avoid at All Costs (If You Want to Close the Deal)

But trash talk isn’t limited to just locker room-style banter and other egregious language. Here are some other types of discussions to avoid instigating with your customers if you don’t want to lose the occasional sale.

Politics. Just because someone dresses a certain way or speaks in a certain manner doesn’t mean their political beliefs are cut and dry. If you want to try to connect with your customers, steer clear of talking politics—even if you’re absolutely certain something you say may resonate with them. Political discussions, even among people who agree, can become heated. The last thing you want is to lose a sale because you said the wrong thing about a customer’s favorite candidate.

Religion. Do I even need to say why this is a bad topic of discussion with your customers? As with politics, discussions about religion can quickly devolve into full-blown arguments and long-lasting feuds. This is a topic that’s not even safe to discuss with your friends and family, let alone strangers. Keep the religious talk out of the finance office.

Gossip. Whether the topic of gossip happens to be a movie star or the competitor dealership across the street, allowing chatter to sink to the level of gossip is a dangerous endeavor. People love to gossip, and it is part of being human. But it’s also a wholly unprofessional practice that can cause you to look bad in the eyes of the most important person in the room: your customer.

Engaging with your customers and ensuring they see you as a human being is critical. It’s one of the most elemental aspects of being a success in your chosen field. But the fact is, there are a million ways you can go wrong without adding trash to the equation. Making the decision to take things to gutter-level won’t win smiles or sales. It’ll only blow your bottom line and wreck a potentially lucrative, professional relationship.

So, what’s a pro to do? Be conscientious. Pay attention to how the customer perceives you. Understand that your customer is always evaluating you, possibly even looking for reasons or excuses to exit the conversation. Never give them a reason to tell you no. t

Emre Ucer is the managing partner of MotoLease LLC. He oversees the development of solutions for the motorcycle and powersports industry to fit even the most credit-challenged riders.

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