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Yes, Cash Customers will Finance!

May 2007, F&I and Showroom - Feature

Cash customers are the bane of virtually every F&I manager. The typical cash buyer is in his or her 50s or 60s, has plenty of cash, and doesn’t need to finance his or her new vehicle. They’ve experienced every sales pitch ever invented and can smell commission breath a mile away. That tired old word-track might work on an 18-year-old, first-time buyer, but it won’t with a 65-year-old, last-time buyer. These customers have heard it before, and they don’t want to listen to it again. They just want to write a check and take their new car home.

The problem with “pitching” financing or any product to a cash buyer is they immediately recognize you are trying to sell them, not help them. So they turn off, tune out, and you’re left without a sale.

Don’t Try and Convert First

The most common mistake F&I managers make when it comes to cash buyers is attempting to convert them to dealership financing as soon as they discover the customer intends to pay cash for his or her vehicle. This is absolutely the WORST thing you can do with a cash buyer!

Of all the products we have available in the F&I office (and financing IS a product; that’s what the F stands for in F&I), financing is the one product a cash buyer doesn’t want, and doesn’t think he or she needs. Financing should be the last product we try to sell a cash buyer, not the first.

That doesn’t mean we won’t discuss the benefits of dealership financing. We will. But asking a cash customer, “Why do you want to pay cash?” immediately puts them on the defensive, and virtually guarantees we won’t finance them or sell them any products. The option of financing should be presented on the menu, just like every other option. Otherwise, we kill our credibility. Once you try to sell a cash buyer the one product they don’t want and don’t think they need, their defenses come up, and again, you won’t sell them anything.

Good Needs Discovery

Needs discovery is the foundation upon which we must build the sale of every product, including financing. Whether or not you’re able to convince a cash buyer to finance his or her new car depends on discovering why he or she needs to finance. We discover customer needs by examining the buyer’s order, the credit application, the credit bureau, and by asking open-ended questions. It’s also important to compliment the customer on his or her financial acumen prior to asking any open-ended questions.

Discovery Zone: Open-Ended Questions

• How long has it been since you financed a major purchase?

• How long has it been since you reviewed your credit bureau report?

• What do you like about paying cash?

• What type of return are you getting on your investments?

• How long will it take you to replace the money you’re taking from savings?

• What type of credit do you have established in your spouse’s name?

• What impact will this have on your retirement income and cash reserves?

Keep in mind that cash customers won’t finance through the dealership just because we want them to. In fact, sometimes they won’t finance even when they can borrow money for less than they’re earning on their investments. We have to discover a need that financing will fill, or a problem it will solve, so there is basis for our discussion of financing with the customer. In order to do that, you have to utilize open-ended questions that will enable you and the customer to answer that all important question: “How will financing help this customer?”

Offer Financing On the Menu

Presenting a menu to cash buyers that includes the availability of dealership financing allows every customer to make a well-informed decision about the various products (including financing) available. Like any other form presented to the customer, a proper introduction and explanation are critical.

Now instead of “pitching” financing or any product, we’re simply reviewing the options available in connection with their purchase. Customers want to know what their options are. They just don’t want to feel like somebody is trying to “sell” them something they don’t want and don’t think they need.

Follow the Customer’s Lead

After presenting the customer’s options on the menu, it’s important that we follow his or her lead by first discussing those products he or she is interested in. If the customer indicates that he or she is not interested in any product, always start with the product he or she needs the most, not the one you make the most money on. So financing may be the third or fourth product you talk about.


  1. 1. Brian [ January 12, 2017 @ 11:54AM ]

    What type of return are you getting on your investments?

    • How long will it take you to replace the money you’re taking from savings?

    • What type of credit do you have established in your spouse’s name?

    • What impact will this have on your retirement income and cash reserves?

    If you asked me any of these questions in a dealership finance office, you can bet your commission that I will NOT be financing with you.

  2. 2. Daniel Brumble [ July 06, 2017 @ 11:35AM ]

    Very good stuff. I have been really trying hard and using this info. It works great! It starts them thinking and I have been able to turn so many more cash deals into financing deals. Thanks


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