Most of us like to have choices in life. We want to choose where we work, where we live, how we live, and so on. When considering a new vehicle, it’s no different. Think about the time customers spend doing their homework. They put in the time because they want to make a good purchase decision.
Consider the choices we offer customers in F&I. How easy or difficult we make it for our customers to decide on the product choices they have can have a significant impact on the customer’s experience in the F&I office, the decisions they eventually make, and your performance results.
Great F&I managers understand that their job is to help the customer focus on their needs and make an informed decision when choosing to enroll in the products we offer, or not. The great ones do this by being suggestive rather than pushy. They also make it easy for the customer to choose.
If you want to achieve better outcomes in F&I, I might suggest a little psychology when presenting choices to the customer.
Use the Power of Three
Three is a magic number when it comes to deciding. As it turns out, when presented with too many choices, most of us will simply choose not to decide. Too many choices can complicate things and can create a fear of making the wrong choice. This fear can lead us to postpone the decision altogether.
Why are three choices better than one or two or four? Three options work best because it is the smallest number of choices that allows us to mentally weigh the pros and cons of each choice. There is less to remember, which makes the decision less complicated, allows to eliminate a choice quickly, helps to lessen the fear of making a bad choice, and makes the best choice between the two remaining options clearer.
If you stop and think about it, three shows up everywhere in marketing — good, better, best or even premium, value, and basic. Three stands out in entertainment, literature, and culture. We have all heard the phrase, “third time’s a charm.” Who hasn’t watched the Godfather Trilogy? Or read The Three Little Pigs to our kids or enjoyed the comedy of The Three Stooges?
In F&I, most menus will have six to 10 products in the left column — that’s a lot of choices. If you are going to present that many products to a customer, I would strongly suggest you create categories of products for the customer to consider, instead of that many individual products.
An example might be VSC, T&W, maintenance, and key become the Mechanical/Drivability group; paint and fabric and paint-less dent repair become the Environmental group; and GAP and theft the Financial group.
As you move through the menu, you can add, pair, or eliminate any of the three categories of products. Now the customer is considering three options, instead of eight products. This approach can lead to increased multiple product enrollments.
The power of three also works well when working through customer concerns or objections. If the customer is considering multiple products, it is reasonable to assume that a payment concern may arise. When working through a concern, put the power of three to work by getting into the habit of always offering the customer three possible solutions to their concern.
In a payment example, the three choices could be including the products selected plus an additional six months of term, the products selected with no additional term but an additional $2,500 down, or the products selected plus an additional 12 months of term. In this example the customer is presented with three choices that include the selected product at an acceptable payment. This works because the three solutions are not complicated, it may allow the customer to eliminate one of the choices quickly (additional $2,500 down) and decide between the remaining two. Always providing three options when handling a customer concern isn’t easy, it takes some thought and practice, but the results are well worth the effort.
If you are looking increase your performance in F&I, put the power of three to work in your process and make it easier for your customers to choose.
John Tabar serves as Executive Director of Training at Brown & Brown Dealer Services.