CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — Terry Dortch, CEO of Automotive Compliance Consultants Inc., said this week that auto dealers who coach their sales associates to weave dealership compliance functions into every step of the road to the sale can boost closing rates while keeping the dealership compliant with consumer protections.

“Dealership compliance to various regulations intersects all along the road to the sale, and associates who take the time to comply with these matters along this road help make their sales presentation more effective,” Dortch said.

Automotive Compliance Consultants will be available to discuss compliance matters with dealers visiting the company at the 2013 NADA Convention next month in Orlando. The company will be located in Booth No. 3443.

A slower selling pace benefits both seller and buyer, Dortch said. Slowing the pace down slows all parties’ heartbeats down, giving prospects time to think and consider — and sales associates time to listen to their prospect.

“Every sales manager knows that sales associates either walk or race their ups along this road. The pace they set helps them build rapport and value in the brand, dealership and product — or it causes the sales opportunity to lurch into the ditch,” Dortch said.  

A slower, more thoughtful selling pace can translate into more thorough and effective selling. Here’s the process Dortch outlined:

Meet-and-Greet: As part of capturing prospect information, compliance to several federal consumer regulations is required. Privacy Notices must be signed when a driver’s license is scanned to comply with the USA Patriot Act. The very act of presenting this document and waiting as the customer reviews and signs it gives the associate a few seconds to collect thoughts for the next step.

Should the customer air credit concerns, the associate will likely want to access a credit report. If so, the dealership is now must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Demo Drive: If the driver’s license wasn’t scanned before, it must be now. Present the Privacy Notice for review and signature. Again, this pause along the road should give the associate a few moments to review conversation already had with the customer and think about next steps. Pacing helps associates convey a sense of control and professionalism, traits that build confidence in consumers.

Write-Up: The ability to show a logical flow of deal terms, from the first pencil to the retail installment sales contract (RISC), is an important part of the deal paperwork. Because a credit report is typically now pulled, the need provides time for the associate to reconfirm key points with the customer and otherwise mentally review next steps.

If credit is declined, the dealership is advised to prepare an Adverse Action notice to mail to the customer. Other regulations pertain here, too, such as how the deal is desked.

F&I: Is the manager complying with all F&I regulations and is a menu used to ensure all applicable products and services are presented and priced the same to every customer?

If not yet done, it is time to comply with The USA Patriot Act. This is done by conducting what is known as an OFAC check.

Finally, is the final price presented to the customer different from what was calculated in the F&I office before booking the deal? If so, the dealership must prepare and send a Risk-Based Pricing Notice to the customer. If the deal falls through, an Adverse Action letter must be generated and mailed to the consumer

Once the deal is completed, compliance law requires that all personal consumer information obtained must be secured in deal jackets and stored out of public view. While the sales associate’s role in dealership’s compliance process is now complete, how the associate has handled compliance matters along the road to the sale can make the difference between a done deal and one that travels instead to another dealership down the road.