F&I winner prefers paper and pen to iPad
Wilson: "A lot of people don't have computers."
Dina Wilson is director of finance for the Cumberland, Md., dealerships of Timbrook Automotive Inc., with Buick-GMC, Kia and Nissan new-car stores, plus a used-car store, Timbrook Auto Outlet.
In a panel discussion at an F&I conference last month, Wilson said she prefers a relatively traditional approach to F&I. She won an award at the conference based on a persuasive but low-tech product presentation for extended-service contracts.
Wilson said she often introduces herself to customers in the showroom before they come to the F&I department, but she doesn't do a formal interview ahead of time to find out which F&I products they may want, even though that's what some F&I trainers advocate.
Bucking another trend, she said she's against most salespeople trying to pitch F&I products in the showroom beyond mentioning them and then only if the salespeople are trained what to say.
"People walk into my office all the time and say, 'I already talked about it with the salesman, and I don't want it,' but they often left my office with the extended-service contract," she said at the conference, which was hosted by Bobit Business Media.
Wilson spoke with Automotive News Special Correspondent Jim Henry.
You like using paper to make your product presentations instead of an electronic menu?
I prefer a paper menu vs. an iPad. I'm just not a big fan of that. People are visual. When I have a paper menu, I write all over them. I'm drawing pictures. I'm explaining something so people can understand.
I think it also gives me the opportunity to go back and get that one more product. "Mr. Customer, I'm surprised you didn't take GAP, and here's why."
So some customers don't like it if you hand them an iPad to browse the products?
Where we live, we deal with an older group of people. It's more of a retirement area — not that we don't have some young people. Of course we do. But for a lot of people, I think that would be kind of intimidating. A lot of people don't have computers.
Is that part of being a Buick franchise, which has a reputation for appealing to an older demographic?
We have Buick, GMC, Nissan and Kia in new cars, so we get all kinds of people. And I'm at the used-car location, that's where I am. I can fill in at our new locations, but this is where I am most of the time.
I was surprised to learn that sales penetration for service contracts is higher for used cars than new cars.
I think most people think a new car is where somebody is going to buy those, but in used cars, people want to be protected.
In our used cars, some on the lot still have some of the manufacturer's warranty on them, and some don't.
People don't want to be forking out a lot of money later, when they can be protected for another $20 or $30 a month. It's peace of mind. People are really buying peace of mind.
Do you do much new-car leasing? Between the domestic franchises and your location, I'm assuming you don't.
We have a few. We do leasing, but you're right, not that many. Some people as soon as you say "lease" in this area, they look at you like you've got three heads. "Why would anybody want to do that?"