The future belongs to the empathetic F&I professional. In an industry that is all about relationships, it is critical to humanize each conversation to understand and build connections with every customer. Customers will exit this crisis more apprehensive and vulnerable, so it's essential to have a mindset that's willing to serve. They are looking for someone who understands how they feel and cares about their job, which is to provide for them. When they find that person, they will be more willing to buy what they need from them. Here are three things to guide us to a more empathetic process to help customers.
Starting every conversation with an unrushed effort to gain a customer’s perspective will make the remaining parts of your process more successful and appreciated.
Ask Every Customer How They Have Been Affected
The conversation needs to start with a genuine question about how they have been affected by the crisis. Asking the right questions has always been a great strategy and gift to our customers. Most people have fine-tuned their ability to pinpoint genuine companies that care about their customer base. It is easy to distinguish dishonesty within the first two minutes of the conversation. Starting every conversation with an unrushed effort to gain a customer’s perspective will make the remaining parts of your process more successful and appreciated.
Focus on Their Needs, Not Your Wants
Customers need our products more than ever. However, you must bring their wishes to the surface so they can see, recognize, and understand that you see it as well. The customer's need for a product should focus on the discussion in moving them to buy, never the benefits of the product itself. Open-ended questions should be in abundance before we present any of our products. People buy solutions to their needs, not solutions that work only to benefit others.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Instead of taking the time to understand a customer's situation, your ego finds a way to fill in the blanks with what you think they need. Be honest, none of us are that smart. Assumptions cause you to disregard the thoughts and feelings of customers. That is going down the wrong path. Their credit report, application, appearance, and interaction with the salesperson may make you formulate assumptions about that customer. However, once we meet them, we may gain an entirely different perspective about them and their situation. The main problem we face uncovering customer needs is assuming the facts before recognizing the truth. Shortcuts are pay cuts; they also leave a customer feeling unappreciated and unprotected to events that may occur during ownership.
Get out of your head and get into theirs. If you treat a customer with empathy and respect, you will have created a customer for life.