The Bank Conversion

Swing at the Conversion Every Time, Part 3

In this final installment of my three-part series, I will share with you how top-performing finance managers convince customers to finance with dealerships instead of using alternative financing
options or cash.

I would like to start by saying that conversions are successful about 10 to 20 percent of the time. This percentage shift adds between $50 and $250 to your per vehicle sold (PVS) average. This can make a huge difference to both you and the dealership.

The most important thing that all successful finance people can do is leaving the customer’s ego out of the discussion. If a finance person comes across as telling the customer what to do with his or her money, the customer will get defensive. If, on the other hand, the finance person provides information that makes it easy for the customer to make a logical decision, then the customers appreciates the help and goes along for the ride.

Step One: Find Out Where the Money is Coming From
You can jump-start the conversion process and increase your customer’s willingness to finance through the dealership by starting early and meeting the customer at the finance manager’s first meet-and- greet. I talked about this in my article two months ago, Meet the Customer Early, which is available in the MPN online archives.

After verifying that the customer’s information is correct, complete and legible, say, “The last piece of information I need is your lienholder’s address.” The customer’s answer will help you determine where the money is coming from and whether they have a lienholder. It’s a reasonable question because you need this information in order to register the lien.

Step Two: Present Your Evidence
There are several different pieces of evidence that you can present based on how step one goes. Here are some good ways to talk about what your dealership can offer a customer in terms of financing:

The dealership offers competitive loan terms. With access to manufacturer-backed financing, your customer might find that you are able to offer much lower rates than what is available to them through most banks.

Financing through the dealership allows customers to protect their credit. The bank may not offer this and, as a result, customers could be forced to default on their loan. If the customer is hurt and cannot work, or passes away, credit protection will make payments and/or pay the loan off for them. Another point customers should consider is that if they have a total loss, they might be put in a situation where their bike is worth less than the value of the loan. They would have to come up with the money needed to pay the remaining balance. If they finance through the dealership, they can eliminate this risk.

Dealership financing is quick and convenient.
Many banks take much longer for approval than dealership financing. The customer might need to visit the bank in order to sign paperwork and collect a check. If your customer finances through the dealership, everything can be done on the spot and he or she can leave with the bike in about an hour.

There are many other persuasive techniques that you can use to sway your customers. Whatever the tactic, be sure your F&I team attempts the conversion.

Step Three: Close
You want to include these word tracks when you ask a buyer to choose your financing plan:

  • “I am not telling you what to do.” This allows the customer to feel in control.
  • “This loan can be paid off at any time.” If customers know that they can pay the loan off or refinance it at their bank, it’ll make them feel more comfortable going forward with your financing plan.
  • “If it makes sense for you, did you want to go ahead and finance through us?” When you say this, it makes it hard for the customer to say no. It also allows you to back out if you’re not able to get someone approved. If they say yes, take their information, and assume they are going to finance with you.

I guarantee you this: every time you don’t swing, you miss. Swing for the fences every time, and it will always make a difference. 

Steve Dodds II is a moderator, trainer and consultant for Gart Sutton and Associates with experience in every position in the sales and finance departments. Dealers rave about his ability to identify areas for improvement and implement the changes that produce superior results. If you have questions about what he or one of our other talented consultants can do for you, contact us at [email protected].

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