In the dealership world, when a salesperson closes a deal, they typically receive all the glory. While they definitely deserve recognition for the closed sale, one person that’s often forgotten about is the finance manager. Your dealership might have another name for finance manager, maybe it’s “business manager” or “F&I manager”, regardless, it’s the same job. In a 2018 study done by National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA), it was found that finance managers penetrate on average 90% of new car deals and 74% of used car deals. The study also found that roughly 54% of the gross profit made in car sales is made in the back offices.
This data makes it very clear that having a great finance manager is critical to the success of the dealership. However, in order for a finance manager to achieve maximum success, they need strong support from the team around them. It’s the responsibility of salespeople and sales managers to ensure the stage is set in order to facilitate a seamless transition to the finance manager's office during the process of a deal. In this article, we’re going to discuss what you and your team need to do in order to ensure your finance manager is set up for success.
Think about how most dealerships introduce their customers to the finance manager, typically it goes like this. The salesperson builds a rapport with the customer, the customer signs the paperwork to close the deal and makes a deposit. From there, the customer is brought into an office where a finance manager asks for sensitive information about their credit and then pitches them on protection products like insurance and warranties. To this point, the customer hasn’t meant this finance manager and has no reason to trust them. This makes it extremely difficult for the finance manager to sell protection packages as most of the time the customer just wants to keep what he/she had already agreed upon with the salesperson.
You probably haven’t critically thought about this, but now that we’ve just acknowledged it, you should be able to understand why this process is problematic. Now let’s imagine a scenario where the finance manager is introduced to the customer early in the process.
“Hey folks, this is our finance manager Chris. He’ll be helping us with financing and making sure you have the proper coverage for your needs”.
Chris quickly introduces himself and says something like: “I’m looking forward to working with you”.
Now the finance manager is no longer a stranger to the customer and the customer will be able to enter the finance manager's office with more confidence and familiarity. This means less anxiety and distrust for the customer and an increased likelihood that the finance manager will be able to sell additional coverage packages. As far as we’re concerned, that’s a win-win situation.
In order to achieve maximum success, the salespeople need to be constantly updating the finance manager on the progress of their deals. This way, by the time the customer walks into the finance manager’s office, the manager already feels like they have a strong understanding of the customer's situation and overall needs.
What information should the salespeople be telling the finance manager about?
If the finance manager is aware of all of the information above, they will be able to much more effectively think of a package that will cater to the customers needs. Not knowing any of these details will likely frustrate the customer as they’ll feel like they have to go through the whole process for a second time.
It’s fairly common that the customer will have to wait a little while until the finance manager is ready to meet with them. While we know it’s tempting and easy to get your customer a coffee or pop and have them wait in the lounge, we don’t recommend it. While your customer is sitting alone with nothing but their own thoughts is a recipe for the customer to get cold feet and potentially walk out of the dealership and the deal. Because of this, we recommend trying to do the following instead to keep the customer occupied:
If you’re able to instill this communication within your entire sales team and the finance manager, you will be able to better close deals and help your customers.
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