In February 2017, down by 25 points in Super Bowl LI and facing a fired-up bunch of Atlanta Falcons players as well as thousands of their pumped-up fans, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was flustered but determined.
Marching up and down the sideline in the third quarter, he gathered his offensive players and fired off a volley of inspirational commands worthy of any field general. Make no mistake. This was a one-way conversation. The kind of tone that drills inspiration into the listener to dig deeper for effort they weren’t sure they had.
“Gotta play tougher. Gotta play harder. Harder, tougher, everything. Everything we’ve got!”
In the end, records were broken all over the place and the Falcons — as much as the sporting world — stood in awe of the magnificence that is the Patriots organization.
Now, I’m no football fanatic. I rarely ever watch a game. I can’t tell you the difference between a play option or a screen pass. But I recognize greatness when I see it on display.
Call the Right Play
Like many of you, I’ve attended numerous training sessions over the years to up my game, but I discovered something about those closes being taught: Seems they never quite worked the way the trainer said they would when I returned home. … That is, until I stopped trying to sound like them and began reconstructing the closing method using my own thoughts and vocabulary along with real-life examples.
But not everyone is going to be a good candidate for the VSC. People who have a consistent history of trading every two or three years with low miles on the clock probably aren’t interested in hearing your 99% close. The same is true of GAP: Customers financing 40% of the book value or invoice aren’t good candidates.
And as you know, some F&I managers get all hung up on the core products of VSC and GAP. So when they meet someone who isn’t a good fit for these products, they stammer and ramble.
As a pro, you should have something for everyone available when they walk in your door — including paint-and-fabric, prepaid maintenance, and key replacement, to mention a few. You should also be such an expert on the coverage that brochures aren’t needed.
If you don’t know the answers to some of these basics, then I suggest you pick up an enrollment form and read the darned thing from cover to cover so you will know.
There are going to be times when you feel like the Patriots did against Atlanta and defeat is breathing heavy down your neck. If you haven’t trained, prepared or have a game plan, then you’re only going to be persuasive with A-type customers. And we all know there aren’t enough of them to make a month, much less a living.
To win, you’ve got to be prepared for the ones who can convince lesser managers they don’t need or want what’s being offering.
Finish the Game
Brady’s words to his team on the sideline rang true. He knew they had what it took to defeat the Falcons, but it had to be dug out of them. They believed him and went on to achieve historical greatness that night.
Those Patriots were already at the top of the heap. They didn’t need to prove anything to anyone except themselves. At that moment in time, all those past playoff wins, including four Super Bowl rings, didn’t matter. He knew that, in those clutch situations, stats are worthless. It only matters what you do and how well you do it. Brady knew they were better than the scoreboard was reading, and he was determined to prove it by inspiring them to grab another gear and get back in the game.
And like Tom Brady, those F&I trainers’ jobs are to inspire creative critical thinking on your part. You can improve and rally during a slump, but it takes effort.
My challenge to you with this article is to adopt a more rigorous self-training regimen during your downtime so you’ll be better prepared the next time you meet a tough C or D customer. We all know they demand you build value and use your best closing skills.
They’ll feel better that you truly persuaded them, and you’ll beam with a sense of pride and confidence that you’re equipped to deal with the next difficult customer with style and ease.
The real difference between people who falter or dominate during a clutch situation is dedication to practice, solid conviction, and a thorough working knowledge of the products. Last, but not least, believe in yourself and be your best every time you sit with a customer.
Good luck and keep closing.