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So Here's the Deal

(Video) Overcoming Helicopter Parents

The magazine’s resident F&I pro responds to an F&I manager’s query on how to handle a parent’s objection to his products.

November 4, 2016

Our question this month comes from Deano in Knoxville, Tenn., home port of the Volunteer Navy. Yeah, it sounds much better than drunks on a boat. Deano asks, “What do you do when you’ve shown your customer the menu and everything on it makes sense to him or her, and then he or she stops and says, ‘I’ve got to call my mom or dad to ask them,” we all know how that conversation goes. Or worst yet, what do you do when the customer says, ‘My parents told me I didn’t need any of that stuff.’ How do you handle those situations?”

Deano, this is a very common situation, especially with young people and first-time buyers. Even in a world in which information is at their fingertips, they still need someone they know and trust to help them make big decisions.

We’ve all heard about the helicopter parents who overprotect, oversee, and involve themselves in every aspect of their children’s lives. Since they were not allowed to make, enjoy, or suffer the consequences of their decisions as children, this new generation has a real problem growing up and making decisions.

While tempting, telling these young people to “grow up” is probably a bad idea. My advice when they say they need to consult with their parents is to quickly hit the speaker button on your office phone and ask for the number. Otherwise, you won’t get a chance to be part of the conversation when they call them on their cell phone.

However, if they indicate that mom or dad told them they don’t need “any of that stuff,” it’s going to be an uphill battle trying to sell their parent(s) over the phone. You’re better off helping the customer see the possible consequences of not having the protection. My advice is to remind them that not having this protection could cost them thousands of dollars, or force them to ask their parents for financial help. However, be absolutely sure they need the product, because they’re going to have to explain their decision to mom and dad.

You’ll also need to provide a thorough explanation of the coverage, the benefits and the cost of each product. It also means providing multiple reasons why, in their case, the product would be especially important. They have to feel good about their decision, because they’re going to have to justify it to mom and dad. Otherwise, when mom and dad find out (and they will), it’s going to create a confrontation with their parents and a cancellation for you. We need to minimize the risk of them making an independent decision, as well as help them justify it to their parents. Here’s how it’s done:

F&I manager: Justin, I completely understand. It sounds to me like several of these options make sense to you, even though your parents already said you didn’t need any of them. They just don’t want you to spend money on something you don’t need, and you don’t want to either, correct?

Justin: Exactly.

F&I manager: That’s why these are all options. And I agree with you, based on your financial situation, some of them are important and some are not. However, this is your car. The loan is in your name. And you’re the only person responsible for the payments. As an adult, we both know how important a good credit rating is to your future. So it’s absolutely essential that nothing interferes with your ability to make these payments on time. That’s why, in your case, this protection is absolutely critical.

In fact, the lender feels the protection is so important, it’s willing to advance the funds to allow you to obtain the coverage. That’s because the last thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to pay for an unexpected expense. The fact is, you’re the only one responsible for making these payments. So you have to make the best financial decision for you, right?

Justin: That’s true.

A positive response means it’s time to go for the close. Deano, thanks for your question. You can watch my video response to Deano’s question and check out the Volunteer Navy on my So Here’s the Deal blog at www.fi-magazine.com. And don’t forget to submit your own video for a chance to get your question answered and a free YETI. Until next month, remember, it’s a beautiful day to join the Navy.

Got a question or objection for Ron? Use your mobile phone to record a brief video (shot landscape style!) of your question and upload it to go-reahard.com/ask-ron/.

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