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[Video] Creating Interest

The magazine’s resident F&I wiz says answering the customer’s true objection to extended coverage is just a matter of creating real interest in the product.

March 9, 2015

Nothing is more frustrating than knowing your customer needs a protection product, but you just can’t get them to say “Yes.” And that’s the question I’m addressing this month, which was submitted by Brad from Olathe, Kan., home of Garmin International — the folks who gave us the term “recalculating.” Here’s what Brad said:

“How do you push that customer over the edge when you know they desperately need the extended coverage because of the mileage they drive, but they just refuse to buy it?”

Now Brad, there are a couple of things you need to consider to overcome that “No” response. Maybe the customer had a bad experience with a service contract in the past, or maybe he or she was warned by someone not to buy it. Or maybe the customer simply doesn’t feel the protection is worth the money, or he thinks he can’t afford it. Whatever the case, spewing the product’s coverage and benefits is only going to increase the customer’s resistance to buy.

So let’s step back for a second and attempt to discover what the real objection is. One way to do that is to simply ask the customer what concerns they have about the product. Unfortunately, a direct approach like this can come across as confrontational, because you’re asking them to justify their decision rather than politely accepting it. And when that happens, customers tend to dig in their heels even further.

A better way is to reflect their objection with a question like this: “Do you feel like the service contract is something you don’t need?” Not only is this less confrontational, it encourages the customer to reveal his or her true objection. If the customer still won’t tell you, you’re going to need to work on creating interest in the product.

One of the best ways to do that is by making a statement that applies to the customer. Customers who say they will drive above average miles or keep their vehicle far in excess of the manufacturer’s warranty are excellent examples. You can also use the vehicle they’re purchasing as a reason they need a service contract, because it’s not like their old one. For example, if their new car is turbocharged, has start/stop technology or is a front-wheel drive vehicle, and they say they don’t need the vehicle service contract, you might create interest by saying something like this:

F&I manager: I wouldn’t expect you to get something you don’t feel you need, although I do find that somewhat troubling, especially since you’re buying a front-wheel drive vehicle.

Customer: What’s wrong with a front-wheel drive?

F&I manager: Absolutely nothing. Have you looked under the hood?

Customer: Yeah.

F&I manager: Did you notice the engine compartment is level full? They’ve taken the engine, the transmission, the drive-axle assembly, the steering, the suspension, the cooling and the electrical and packed them all under the hood. It’s like the difference between working on a desktop computer and an iPad. If you have a problem with your desktop computer, anybody in town can fix it. But when your iPad breaks, you know where it has to go?

It goes to Apple, because they’ve taken all the technology in your desktop and squeezed it into this little thing. And if you haven’t been trained on this particular model, don’t have the specialized tools required and you don’t know the sequence you have to use to disassemble it, it’s like trying to fix a Rubik’s cube. It’s not that you have more problems with a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it’s that if you do have a problem, it can be much more expensive to fix.

Customer: I didn’t know that.

That response means it’s time to go for the close. Selling is nothing more than making people want what you have. And what you have is knowledge and expertise to help them make a better decision.

Our next questions comes from Ken in Lexington, Ky., home of Temper-Pedic, the mattress with a memory. In his video, he says, "Hey Ron, I just had a customer who purchased a certified BMW and didn't put any money down. He drives 25,000-30,000 miles a year, but refused to GAP. I went back and stressed the importance of GAP again and he still refused. What should I do?" Watch my response below.

Make sure to check out my videos from past months. And don’t forget to submit your own video for a chance to get your question answered and receive a free pass to this year’s Industry Summit in Las Vegas. Until next month, remember, it’s a beautiful day  to help a customer!

Ronald J. Reahard is president of Reahard & Associates Inc., an F&I training company providing F&I classes, workshops, in-dealership and online training. To get his advice, use your mobile phone to record a video of you posing your question and upload it to www.hightail.com/u/REAHARD. Then notify Ron by emailing him at ron.reahard@bobit.com.

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