“The void created by the lack of trust and value will rapidly be filled with deep discounts and missed opportunities.”
The time we spend with the customer in our office will be filled with something, either positive or negative. Will it be a display of salesmanship filled with facts and data, or an engaging effort to get the customer to talk and share their thoughts, ideas, and goals? Two ingredients will always drive acceptance levels, customer satisfaction, and overall profits: trust and value. Any void created by their absence will be filled with deep discounts and missed opportunities. Let’s unpack the value of these two efforts.
Everything rises and falls based on the level of trust you build with your customer.
You can ignore the principles of trust, but do so at your own peril. The effort to gain the trust of your customers must begin when you first meet them. So, determine to meet them as quickly as possible. Spending time in the showroom interacting with customers, before they agree to purchase, will assure that you are viewed as a trustworthy individual. If you wait to meet them later, you risk being seen as merely someone focused on profit rather than helping them have a good buying experience. This is a perception that you cannot afford.
The path to trust is paved with the ability to laugh, listen, and learn with your customers. Laughter breeds comfort. The more comfortable the process, the more open discussion will take place. When you truly listen with the willingness to learn, your customer is much more likely to open up to you. Customers love to talk, and they especially love to talk about themselves. The more they chat, the more you learn about their needs, and, hence, the more you are trusted. When trust goes up, so too does comfort levels, openness, and your ability to help your customer.
Customer value can only be influenced – never controlled.
Perceived value can change throughout the F&I process. So, we must employ a process that focuses on bringing the value of our products alive and making them visible. The most powerful effort to build value is to provide third party input and tangible evidence. A copy of a repair order from a real customer situation speaks much louder than you telling the customer that repairs are expensive.
Customers will not buy products because you like them. They buy products because they like or need them. When you ask creative, open-ended questions to uncover customer needs, you set the stage for building value later in the process. Discovering needs allows you to respond to an objection from the customer, by saying “you told me earlier,” and matching that mutually discovered need to the benefits of a particular product. Basing your presentation on a customer’s genuine need is a powerful and value building sales process that is hard to resist. It’s hard for the customer to disagree with their own statements because they recognize you are trying to help them make good buying decisions. Customer value does not reside in the perception of what the product does, but rather how that product fills a particular need in their unique situation.
The path to selling F&I products is a choice between two approaches: direct persuasion (selling) vs. self-persuasion (helping). Yes, F&I products can be sold with either process. However, filling your process with intentional efforts to build trust and value in the products offered will always lead to higher levels of profits and customer satisfaction. Everybody wins.
Keep climbing and filling your process with trust and value. Your customers will love it … and you will profit from it.