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Getting to yes on a lease

In the F&I office, it's all about getting the customer to say yes and sign.

Ideally, that's for a well-structured loan with other F&I products as well. But sometimes it means getting the customer to say yes to a lease.

A lease doesn't have the profit potential of a loan. But cash sales hold even less profit potential. If a cash customer can be persuaded to switch to a lease, that's better for the store -- especially because that customer will be coming back to the dealership in 36 months or 24 or whatever.

Here's a factoid that might help persuade a wavering lease customer: It's getting easier to get out of a lease if you have to, say, because of a sudden transfer to an overseas job.

Customer credit approvals on lease transactions through the end of July stood at roughly 76 percent, says Swapalease.com, a site that allows leaseholders to get out of their lease by finding someone else to pick it up. Historically, anything above 70 percent means that credit approvals are not a major problem in getting out of a lease if a customer needs to.

Nobody goes into a lease expecting to have to get out of it. But if that's a worry in the back of a customer's mind, here's something to tell them. And it may be the news they need to know to say yes.

You can reach James B. Treece at autonews@crain.com

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