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Give ’Em Gershwin

Award-winning F&I director explains how using music during his process stimulates his customers' purchasing impulses.

September 2018, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Justin Gasman

Think about the last time you saw that United Airlines commercial, the one that shows a customer riding an airport escalator as composer George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” plays in the background. Now think about the music and the way it made you feel. Unless you’ve recently had a horrible flight with United, the song will generally lift your mood and make you smile.

As a way of building rapport or establishing common ground, I will often ask my customers what kind of music they like to listen to. This will usually get them to loosen up and start telling me about their favorite music, band, concert, SiriusXM channel, or whatever the case may be. Music adds to our memory, and memory and emotion are two key factors anytime you make a buying decision. And boy is it amazing to watch a customer’s entire body language and energy change right before your eyes when the right song is played.

"Music is the great equalizer. It has the power to influence our moods and our behaviors. So why not try this on your next deal? You get to enjoy some cool music, connect with your customers, and hopefully improve your chances of maximizing the next opportunity."

Knowing this, I hop onto YouTube and pull up whatever kind of music my customers say they like. I keep the volume low so we can still do the car deal and review everything without the music becoming a distraction. And it doesn’t take long before customers start grooving or tapping their pen to the beat. Imagine that: Customers actually enjoying themselves while we’re reviewing their options and signing paperwork.

The Closer
Sometimes there just isn’t enough time for me to ask a customer about his or her music preferences, or maybe I just get a read that the customer might not be into sharing his or her musical tastes. That’s why I usually have George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” playing softly in the background. This song is one of the most effective tools in my tool chest. There are a few others, but Gershwin usually leads to the promised land of product sales and gross.

I play this song for a variety of reasons. First, it’s one of my favorites. I can listen to it all day, and I often do. Second, the song’s runtime is a little over 16 minutes, so the continuity of nice music without interruption is perfect. The changes in Gershwin’s song, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects, also keeps it fresh. The third reason I always have “Rhapsody in Blue” queued up is most folks simply love the song.

The Process
On a recent deal, I had Gershwin’s masterpiece playing in my office just prior to my first guest of the day. She said, “My, what nice music you have playing.” As part of my presentation of options, I mentioned that when I was finished helping her with all of the state and federal paperwork, we would review any options that might be available to her — one of which is a discounted satellite radio subscription I could help her set up in the dealership before she left.

After reviewing my menu with her, we settled on the upgraded OnStar package, my dealership’s prepaid maintenance plan, the security coding, and, you guessed it, a SiriusXM upgrade. She gave me her credit card to pay for the service and the amount due at signing. She then mentioned she wanted to get her miles. I looked at her card. You’ll never guess which airline she loves to fly.

Music is the great equalizer. It has the power to influence our moods and our behaviors. So why not try this on your next deal? You get to enjoy some cool music, connect with your customers, and hopefully improve your chances of maximizing the next opportunity.
Remember to give ’em the Gersh for the win.

Justin Gasman is an ACE- and AFIP master-certified financial services director at McCaddon Cadillac Buick GMC in Boulder, Colo. Contact him at


  1. 1. Jim Ganther [ September 06, 2018 @ 11:16AM ]

    Great insight, Justin!

    Now can we add ovens baking fresh bread during the F&I presentation?

  2. 2. GP [ September 06, 2018 @ 11:19AM ]

    I'm all about music. Lovely article. Gersh for the win!

  3. 3. Tom Wilson [ September 06, 2018 @ 02:50PM ]

    I watched him do that a few years ago and gave up. I knew I was in the presence of a Grand Master. I still remember the song.

  4. 4. TERRY MCELROY [ September 06, 2018 @ 03:18PM ]

    Justin, you know how to make my day. Great article, music man.

  5. 5. Rick McCormick [ September 07, 2018 @ 06:52AM ]

    Justin - Great insight! I can't tell you how many dealerships I have been in that have great music all over the dealership via satellite radio. And once inside the F&I office and the door closes...uncomfortable silence! I have seen some of the best F&I professionals in the business set the tone in their office with background music. Making them and the process comfortable enables you to have an honest and open discussion.

  6. 6. Eric " Frenchy" Mélon [ September 13, 2018 @ 07:15AM ]

    Justin - I love it when people think outside the box and focus on the customer's experience.
    keep up the great job.


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