Many F&I professionals are looking for that “new,” “state-of-the-art,” “miracle-working” objection-handling trick to help them sell more products. For now, forget about objection-handling. Let’s talk about objection elimination!
I see it all too often: We rush through the menu, breeze through the product descriptions, and then prepare to defend and upsell our products by handling the customer’s objections. But the old adage that says selling starts when the customer says “No” has gone the way of the dinosaur. No wonder most customers feel worn out when they leave our offices. This process is ineffective, fewer products are purchased, and the customer’s irritation barometer rises.
I believe the real selling starts at “Hello.” It is imperative to sell yourself to the customer before any other selling commences.
Review the Factory Warranties
Let’s take a more consultative approach to the world of finance and insurance. Customers are much more prepared to make a positive decision on products when they are better informed as to why they need those products.
It all starts with a good interview out on the sales floor. Once we explain our role and have shown the customer that we are there to assist them, their guard goes down and the trust index rises.
Once in your office and before presenting a menu, a thorough review of factory warranties must be completed. Resistance usually occurs when there is a lack of understanding, so let’s make certain the customer truly understands what they are getting from the factory — not just the mechanical warranties but all of them. If your dealership or your factory provides complementary maintenance, inform the customer of those benefits, including:
Paint warranty: Factory paint protection is typically limited to defects in parts, materials, and workmanship. A bad batch of paint or an improperly applied layer would be considered a defect. Explain what is not covered, such as environmental fallout, bird droppings, or tree sap.
Tire warranty: This coverage is provided by the tiremaker and is limited to defects in parts and workmanship. Bad glue and improper assembly are the most common examples. This is a prorated warranty. Explain that damage or failure outside the manufacturer’s control — such as pot holes, road debris, and curb damage — will not be covered.
Powertrain warranty: The PT only covers the internally lubricated parts of the engine, transmission, and drive axle and is restricted by time and mileage limitations. Coverage is limited to defects in parts and workmanship only.
Comprehensive warranty: Again, this coverage is limited to defects in parts and workmanship only and has months-and-mileage limits.
Now, based on the customer’s driving habits, when will their warranties expire? How will the protections you offer complete their coverage and secure their investment? Let them know that vehicles today have an average of 30 computer modules that operate various components of their vehicle. What is the cost of replacing these parts?
By conducting a more thorough warranty review, you will create a need for the products you present to each customer. Once your customer knows what they are getting from the factory and their corresponding limitations, they are more likely to see the benefits of your products.
Take your time explaining the value of the options, including the cost of repairs, that you offer during your menu presentation. By following these “best practices,” you can eliminate many common objections before the customer can even voice them.
Remember, be consultative, show the customer you are there for them, and set expectations. The more they know, the less likely you are to receive a “No.” The easiest objection to handle is the one you never receive. Good selling!
Ken Carlson is a more than 30-year veteran of the automotive retail industry and currently serves as director of training for F&I Resources. He can be reached at [email protected].