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Mad Marv

Casey’s Mighty Lesson

His Madness delves into American literature to deliver a message to those who say cash deals aren’t their style.

February 6, 2015

Who doesn’t know the old baseball poem, “Casey at the Bat”? Down by two runs with an inning to go, the hopes of the fictional town of Mudville rested on the shoulders of the mighty Casey. And with runners on second and third, as the tale goes, Casey stepped to the plate. All that was needed was a hit to save the game for the Mudville Nine.

Written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer, the poem is a story about pride, arrogance and self-confidence gone awry. I’m sure Thayer wasn’t thinking about the F&I office when he wrote it, but the lesson he imparts certainly does apply.

Take the cash deal. How many times have you kept the bat on your shoulder because you didn’t think you had a chance of selling anything to that cash-paying customer? Well, as Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

But I’ve been there. I have felt that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach when a salesperson lays a deal on my desk with a note that the customer is paying cash and has already made out his check. You feel defeated and helpless, because it’s your third cash deal in a row and your per-copy average is sinking fast.

So you hurriedly print out the docs and get the customer in and out of your office in hopes that the next customer will sign off on your platinum plan. Well, if you haven’t realized by now, not every deal is going to arrive nicely wrapped with a bow on top. Some deals require you to be on top of your game, which is why you need to develop a well-structured cash menu you can roll out every time a cash-paying customer enters your office.

One can only imagine how that pitcher must have felt facing Casey. He burned two fastballs by the mighty hitter, who didn’t bat an eye. “That ain’t my style,” Casey says after the first pitch. But his overconfidence would be his undoing, as the pitcher blew another fastball by “the force of Casey’s blow,” leaving the crowd silenced and the hero in disgrace.

Now imagine for a moment if Casey had taken a swat at one of those two pitches he sneered at?   Would the outcome have been different? Unfortunately, no one will ever know, because Casey only took a hack at the one pitch he thought was worthy of his efforts and skill.  

I know what you‘re thinking: “Oh, Marv, we‘ve sold this customer in the past and they never buy anything” or “The desk worked them for all the cash and there‘s nothing left for a service contract.”  

Well, kind of like Casey on those first two pitches, you’ll never know if you had a chance if you don’t take a hack and make your presentation.

Here’s a question for you: Are you so good at predicting what a customer will do that you decide which ones deserve your best presentation? Or do you base your decision on what they told you during your needs-discovery interview?

Look, you have three choices when it comes to cash customers: Present 100% of your products every single time, select which cash customers are right for your presentation or abandon all attempts to present your menu to these customers. Now guess which option top performers select.

Like baseball, F&I is a game of numbers. And the only way to put those averages in your favor is by leaving your emotions out of it and sticking with the process. Top performers know this and act accordingly. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s why we must constantly remind ourselves to stay the course.

So the next time you’re faced with three consecutive cash deals, you have a decision to make. You can simply print out the docs and rush the customers out of your office, or you can set up a cash menu with all your products and make an energetic presentation. Hey, those three deals may be the only ones you get that day. If you choose to let them fly by, you can count on nothing happening. So slap some rosin on your bat, get back in that batter’s box and don’t waste any pitches! Good luck and keep closing!

Marv Eleazer is the F&I director at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Ga. Email him at marv.eleazer@bobit.com.

Comments

  1. 1. Rick McCormick [ February 13, 2015 @ 02:07PM ]

    Great article and great advice Marv! I've done all 3 options you describe. At the end of the day it feels good to know you did your best and some cash buyers end up buying products. Having the cash to pay for them is not a dis-qualifier. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. 2. Fred Gitter [ February 24, 2015 @ 02:20PM ]

    As always. Great words of wisdom from Marv. I agree with you 100%. There is no feeling like getting product from a cash buyer. If they have the cash in the bank to stroke a check for 30k. Then they have another 2k to protect their investment.
    I always present my menu to a cash buyer with a 36 month payment at my lowest rate. You just never know.
    Keep them coming OLD WISE ONE!!!

  3. 3. Ryan Campbell [ August 25, 2015 @ 10:53AM ]

    I sell stuff on cash deals all the time. If they sit down with me, it's at least getting offered. One of my more recent ones was a higher mileage Venza. As we all know, the service contracts just cost more on higher mileage units, especially compared to the cost of the unit. Higher mileage units cost less and the service contracts cost more, and it does create a disparity. However, I took a swing, and sold it anyway. No more than a month later, the drive train had a catastrophic failure rendering the car inoperable for a couple weeks. One of those 1 in a million things. Now I had customers that didn't have to come out of pocket $5500 and a service department that got paid to fix it. It was a win for everyone involved.

  4. 4. Mad Marv [ September 19, 2015 @ 07:56PM ]

    You can never predict who will and who won't purchase coverage. I'm always amazed. Just stay in the batter's box and swing at every pitch. I can honestly tell you there are customers from my dealership that aren't protected because I froze when a fast ball came whizzing by my ears because I was too afraid to swing. Life is a learning curve. Make certain you're atop of that curve and not behind it. Thanks for all the great follow up comments!

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Author Bio

Marv Eleazer

Finance Director

Marv is no insider. He’s an actual F&I manager with more than 20 years of experience. Get his from-the-trenches take on the industry every month at fi-magazine.com.

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