A case for using single staffer for sales, F&I

One employee per customer.

That’s the way that Barry Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep- Ram does it.

At the Ephrata, Wash., dealership, the sales staff handles financing. Store owner Denver Morford wants his customers to work with the same employee throughout the entire transaction to build a relationship and customer retention, he says.

The practice zeros in on the salesmen’s role as “the public face of the dealership in the eyes of the customer,” Morford said.

Because of that image and push for a long-term relationship with the customer, salesmen have a perspective different from those who are not on the front line, such as finance managers or even general managers, Morford said.

Salesmen aim to build long-term rapport with a customer and will handle the finance process with that in mind, he said.

“When you take a salesperson [and say,] ‘You can only do steps one and two; ignore everything else,’ it handcuffs them,” Morford said.

When a salesperson assists a consumer through the retail process but then hands him or her off to someone else for financing, it interrupts the process, Morford said.

“They’re leaving a lot of risk with a third person coming in with no rapport and a cold view of what’s going on,” he said.

By working with one person throughout the entire deal, “the customer totally wins,” Morford said.

That single salesperson feels ownership in what he or she is doing. “They’re professionals in the entire transaction,” Morford said. “Like a professional consultant, not just a salesman looking for commission.

“To me, knowledge is power. When a salesman is able to do everything, they feel more valued. They feel more a part of things, and it makes for a much stronger individual.”

Morford says his sales staff benefit from the hybrid approach because it lets them know their jobs go beyond selling cars.

When customers remember and value a personalized, single-employee process, they ask for the salesman specifically, and the salesman establishes a network of loyal, returning customers. The staff is helping to build the entire business with that network, Morford says, “to make sure that customer comes back every time."

You can reach Hannah Lutz at hlutz@crain.com