You have built rapport with your customer and earned their trust. You have identified their concerns and what they are looking for in your services: security, peace of mind, affordability, convenience, ease of ownership or dependability. You are prepared to use the information you gleaned from the interview to present your products and services.

Get set . . .

What are your opportunities? An opportunity exists when your products and services satisfy a need, want, or desire of the customer. Identify your opportunities before you begin your presentation. When you do this, your presentation will be on target. Near misses do not secure commitments.

Go!

Present solutions rather than doom and gloom. People buy solutions. They do not buy to save money; they buy to protect what they currently have.

Packaging your Presentation

Think benefits before bucks! Present all your products at once and talk money only after identifying what your products will do for the customer. Each time you discuss dollars before describing the benefits of a product, you lose gross profit. When the value of an item is not fully realized all that is left is price.

For example, if someone described a service agreement as a piece of paper that pays for covered parts and cost $1995, would you want one? Of course not! But this description, and worse, is heard every day. When customers back up, F&I practitioners feel pressured to take short cuts. They cut their presentation to the bare minimum, producing minimum results while processing lots of paper in a short period of time.

View the presentation as the F&I version of the demo ride. Create a vision of the customer and his family traveling somewhere. They may require mechanical assistance; they may need to spend the night. Labor rates may not be as low as they are at home. Wouldn't the family be better protected with a service agreement that has an 800 number so that they are never far from assistance? Should the repair require overnight work and they are miles from home they will be protected by trip interruption. Wouldn't it be easier on the holiday budget to simply sign their name to a repair order and not have to worry about the cost of repairs? Which deductible would they rather have: $50 or $0?

Presenting by the Book

What tools are you using during your presentation? Do you have a presentation book? If not, get one. Proof statements, thank-you notes, and testimonials from customers are priceless aids when presenting your products and services.

No one likes to enter an office where brochures are lined up next to the computer. This places the customer on guard from the beginning. Instead, place the brochures in top loading pages in the presentation book so that you control when the customer views the material and stay focused on the job at hand.

Presenting benefits should not entail misrepresenting them. Be careful not to oversell policies. I like to refer to a service agreement as major medical coverage for a vehicle. It does not cover everything, nor is it meant to. Just as health insurance does not cover 100% of our doctor bills, neither does a service agreement provide "bumper-to bumper" coverage. We all have a co-pay of some sort, whether it is for medical or vehicle repair.

Using F-A-B Skills

The customer sitting across from you while you are presenting has a flashing sign on their forehead that reads "What's in it for me?" Until you answer that question, you're just wasting their time. Use your F-A-B skills to build value. A Feature is a characteristic of your product. The Advantage is why your customer needs this product. The Benefit is what the product will do for the customer. Follow up the F-A-B with a tie-down question such as, "That is important to you, isn't it?"

Practice Makes Perfect

Here are F-A-B samples for service agreement and credit life policies:

• Your service agreement pays 100 percent parts and labor so that you do not have to create a separate repair budget, which means increased financial security for you and your family. That is important to you, isn't it?

• Your touring holidays will be worry free because your service agreement has a help line 800 number so that you are never away from assistance, which means increased peace of mind for you and your family. That is important to you, isn't it?

• In the event of your untimely demise, your credit life protection will pay off the loan on this vehicle, turning an obligation into an asset for your loved ones. I am sure you agree that no debt should live longer than its maker, should it?

Write down a list of ten F-A-B examples for each product you present. Practice your presentation 21 times in a mirror. Then videotape your practice. Watch your body language. Are your actions matching your words? Are you sending a clear and enthusiastic message? Practice your F-A-Bs until you are comfortable with the flow — this may take a little more time than you think! But perfect practice yields perfect results.

Next time we'll review some rules of negotiation and how they apply to F&I.

Jan Kelly, President of Kelly Enterprises. She is a sales trainer and consultant, convention speaker, and frequent contributor to industry publications. For information about training opportunities call 800.336.4275 or contact Kelly Enterprises at www.JLKelly.com.

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