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When Did ‘Cash’ Become a Four-Letter Word?

F&I trainer shares five proven methods for turning cash customers into F&I product buyers.

June 2017, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Dwayne Wiggins

It is a typical day in the business office. The energy is high because everyone is on a roll. Then a salesperson comes in and says he has a cash deal. You can instantly feel your energy level drop. My question is, when did “cash” become a four-letter word to the business office?

The myth that you cannot make money on a cash deal may have started back in the days when F&I consisted of rate participation, vehicle service contracts, and credit life and disability. With a limited lineup, F&I revenue streams dropped by 75% when a customer paid cash. However, today’s product lineup gives business managers a great opportunity for increased revenue on cash deals. We just need to take it.

Here are some moves you can make today to increase your effectiveness with cash customers:
1. Adjust Your Attitude: Embrace the cash deal. We often take a negative attitude toward the cash customer. Maybe not on the first cash deal we get, but if we get a few in a row, we tend to pass those to another business manager. Try to look at cash deals this way: If they can write a $40,000 check for just the vehicle, then they can most likely write a check for $45,000 to add some much-needed security in their investment.

2. Find the Mendoza Line: Everyone has a minimum bank account balance they won’t cross — their Mendoza Line, if you will. When balances fall below that line, they usually have an idea of how they will replenish those accounts. It is just a matter of figuring out which repayment strategy makes the most sense for them; using their savings to replenish the account or financing the deal to keep their savings intact.

"When the checkbook comes out, it seems we too often shift our focus to converting the cash buyer to dealership financing."

3. Don’t Let Customers Write Checks in the Showroom: If a customer writes a check before getting to the F&I office, the business manager’s job becomes more difficult. We have all witnessed when a customer seems to develop a mental block about purchasing F&I products if he or she has already written the check to purchase the vehicle. Take some time to talk with the sales department. Explain the roadblock that is erected when this happens, and ask sales staffers to ask customers to hold onto their checkbooks until they get to the business office.

4. Maintain a Good Mix of Ancillary Products: Review your ancillary product lineup to ensure you have something for every type of customer. Cash customers often buy pre-owned vehicles, including older models. Add a high-mileage service contract to your roster and don’t forget theft, road hazard and appearance protection. These products cover a wide range of vehicles without mileage limitations.

5. Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Your job is to conduct a proper interview and present the products that make the most sense for the customer. When the checkbook comes out, it seems we too often shift our focus to converting the cash buyer to dealership financing. Wait until after you have established some credibility before you convert them. That way, if you are not able to change their mind about how they pay for the vehicle, you will still have a good opportunity to discuss F&I products.

After all, I’m sure we are all OK with a customer buying products in cash.

Dwayne Wiggins is a trainer at American Financial & Automotive Services’ F&I University. Contact him at


  1. 1. Jeff Jacobs [ June 19, 2017 @ 12:41PM ]

    I agree 100% with your take on "Cash" deals. I would add though that most cash buyers are actually payment buyers financing outside of the dealership. Cash dealers in most cases are payment buyers. So I would add a 6th bullet point called the Payment Close. Dealerships need to be versed in selling Cash customers using an Installment Payment Plan like the ZERO Plan. Offering Cash customers a payment option means more product sales!

  2. 2. Frank Pugliese [ June 29, 2017 @ 04:36AM ]

    Excellent article.

    I could not agree more. When a Producer changes his attitude about the Cash customer from:
    "penalty turn" to "opportunity", all will change.
    I manage the finance departments for a 22 store Dealer Group and I have seen significantly grossing Cash deals roll through some of my stores and here is the best part- they are being done by Producers who are new to the position and have not developed "bad attitudes" yet....... I say " yet ' because eventually, left unwatched, they will. The key is to believe there is gross in Cash deal turns IF the value of the products are explained to the customer in turns of protecting his Huge Cash Investment in an automobile purchase.

    Don't forget: the Cash customer is pre-paying for the anticipated reliable and uninterrupted use of that vehicle for the next five or six years. I am sure they will lay out another couple of thousand to protect that hope. Think about it.

  3. 3. Nik Basha [ June 29, 2017 @ 09:05PM ]

    Wow there is someone who thinks like me.
    CA$H is a great way to sell more products and you don't have to wait for a bank approval.
    Look this is how I do it.
    Mr Smith
    Wow to be able to cut a huge check you must be a very busy and smart business man or perhaps a great fortune made it your way. Well what ever your secret is it is safe with me. Few things I must say before you cut me the check for a big $45000.
    And then I go in to doing my job and simply selling undercoat, tire and rim, and Warranty.
    I just guaranteed my self a 33%closing ratio worst case scenario.
    Bam bam bam bam. $$$$
    Customer is happy I am happy Cash always will be 💶💸💶🏆🔱🔱🔱✔.
    Happy Selling


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