A couple walk into a dealership finance office seeking the rock-bottom monthly payment, which means they're resistant to buying F&I products.
How can the finance manager get them to listen to the menu presentation and potentially sell them as many as three products?
Steve Veldkamp, training director for Great Lakes Cos., a Kalamazoo, Mich., supplier of protective coatings sold in F&I offices, tells dealerships to use a "question mark close."
Typically, dealerships use a product menu that includes a base monthly payment. The finance manager points to the base payment on the menu and acknowledges that's the lowest payment available.
But it doesn't end there. Here's how the rest of the pitch works:
-- Tell the customers they don't know the true cost until they sell or trade the car, add up everything they spent on it -- gasoline, maintenance, repairs -- and divide the total by the number of months they owned the car.
-- Turn the menu over and write the base payment and three question marks beside it. For example, write "$325???."
-- Tell them that $325 payment comes with three question marks.
-- Point to the first question mark and ask: "What happens to this payment when your car is in need of repairs?"
-- Point to the second question mark and ask: "What happens to this payment when you hit a pothole, damaging the rim and tire?"
-- Point to the third question mark and ask: "What happens to this payment if the car is stolen or totaled and the insurance will not cover the entire balance you owe?"
-- Under the base payment -- in this case, $325 -- write a payment that includes the cost of a service contract, tire-and-wheel coverage and a guaranteed asset protection plan. Let's say the payment is $375. Place three question marks beside the new payment.
-- Tell the customers: "This $375 eliminates the question marks. When the car is in for repairs, the payment doesn't change. Hit a pothole, nail or other road debris damaging your tire and rim, and the payment doesn't change. If your car is a total loss, the payment doesn't change."
-- For emphasis, each time you tell them the payment doesn't change, cross out one of the three question marks beside the $375.
-- Now the close: "Even though the $325 may look like the lowest payment today, in the long run, it's not the lowest when you add up the potential costs."