Your F&I prospect has a smartphone. Now what?
When Megan Jacoby explains to a customer that a blown-out BMW run-flat tire might cost $600 to replace, she braces for what comes next: "Do you mind if I check that pricing?"
Published in Automotive News, April 9, 2012
Finance Director Megan Jacoby's job starts when her customers pull out their smartphones.
While she's explaining a menu of F&I products to customers at Bob Smith BMW in Calabasas, Calif., some get online via their smartphone to price the products elsewhere, especially service contracts, finance rates, GAP policies and tire-and-wheel plans.
"It's just amazing what's on the Internet now," Jacoby says.
"We want customers to feel comfortable with what they purchased. But we have to be prepared for them to challenge us on it. Your job really starts when those questions come at you."
Here's what Jacoby does:
Sells with the idea that seeing is believing. She has a blown-out tire and bent rim in her office as a conversation starter to sell tire-and-wheel protection. But when she explains to a customer that a blown-out BMW run-flat tire might cost more than $600 to replace, she braces for what comes next: "Do you mind if I check that pricing?"
Comes prepared. While the customer is looking the price up on his phone, says Jacoby, "It's our cue to say, 'You'll definitely find tires cheaper elsewhere, but it is a volatile market.'" She explains that a tire might cost $350 one month but $600 a month later. And she tells the customer tire-and-wheel plans include the cost of mounting and balancing the replaced tire.
Shows actual repair orders. Jacoby also presents repair orders from prior customers as proof of how a single tire-and-wheel replacement can cost up to $1,500. The tire-and-wheel plan costs $1,347 for three years on a BMW 335i, she says. "We're prepared to say there is no money to do repairs to roads. You're going to pay a one-time fee of $1,347 that covers all your rims and tires for three years."
Uses technical knowledge of potential repairs. Jacoby and the other finance managers meet weekly with service advisers to learn about the vehicles. "We cover what each part does in the car, how it can malfunction and what it costs when it malfunctions," Jacoby says. "You have to know your warranty to sell it. We go through the warranty book and we read it in full so that we know what we're talking about when we discuss our warranty."
Offers discounts to close the deal. Jacoby doesn't discount products based on prices customers see online, but she will offer reduced coverage for a lower price or offer an online coupon for a $150 discount.
You can reach Jamie LaReau at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Jamie on