We all know how the typical car deal goes down from a buyer’s perspective: They have learned everything there is to learn from extensive online research. The first few minutes inside the showroom are often exciting and fun. Customers get to admire shiny vehicles, then get in and put them through their paces.
Then it comes time to make the deal and go through the F&I process, which can be an unwelcome jolt back to cold, hard reality. But with the right technology and process, you can flip the script on F&I to help ensure a more positive customer experience while swiftly moving the sales process forward.
Start With Workflow
If your technology and processes are leaving you stuck in a world of multiple logins and double-data entry — with all the wasted time and opportunity for error that goes along with it — your customer experience is taking a hit.
When your dealership’s instore technology slows down the sales process, your customers get frustrated, and that costs you revenue. Your chance to flip the script comes from reducing buyer frustration by seamlessly tying the online and instore workflows together.
Starting with the information your customers provide via your website and flowing through your CRM, desking, aftermarket selling, electronic contracts, titling, and more, full integration between data and processes is key.
Technology changes constantly and so must your dealership. It is important to evaluate your technology regularly and remain open to switching to a better solution when your current system is no longer meeting your needs and the needs of your customers.
What Are You Waiting For?
Why wait to introduce F&I products — or make your customers wait at all?
There’s a way to take care of two sources of customer frustration at the same time: With the traditional car sales process, customers are often left sitting around for extended periods of time while a sales or F&I manager handles the finer points of the trade-in appraisal, deal terms, and financing options. Once the deal is nearly complete, the customer is hastily presented with F&I products using a stack of brochures or laminated cards, or maybe on a computer screen.
That awkward transition from boredom to a rushed hard sell is exactly the kind of thing that makes customers dissatisfied with the car-buying process. You can rewrite that script by using technology to transform the F&I process into something interactive, personal and trust-building.
First, give customers the opportunity to browse F&I products on your website before they ever come into the dealership. Allowing customers to self-educate primes them for a more meaningful conversation about F&I products and their value.
Then, once your customers are instore, provide them an interactive F&I menu. This technology allows you to introduce aftermarket products in a low-pressure, highly interactive way — either online or on a tablet your customer can peruse when they might have otherwise been waiting idly.
Exposing customers to F&I products earlier and in a more comprehensive manner gives you the opportunity to more effectively tell the story of each product and show its value. When you give customers the chance to know and understand their aftermarket options in a low-pressure environment, they're more likely to be receptive to purchasing them, which will ultimately increase profits for your dealership.
A more efficient, streamlined F&I and deal-making experience keeps your dealership on the customer’s good side. Flipping the script on your dealership’s F&I process will boost your profitability — for the current transaction and every valuable service you provide to your customers.
Jason Barrie is vice president and general manager of the Dealer F&I business at Dealertrack. Contact him at [email protected].