This month Equifax introduced a new tool to help lenders gain market intelligence and better relate to their dealership partners. Without a direct connection, it acknowledges one of dealers’ top concerns.
In J.D. Power’s 2015 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, released in July, dealer respondents reported higher satisfaction and higher willingness to boost business with lenders that prioritized their dealerships’ business results.
Dealers scored their lender experience higher on average when they had a focused sales rep compared with when they had no focused support -- 935 vs. 754, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale.
Sixty-eight percent of dealers with a focused relationship in which all key sales rep performance indicators were met said they would increase business with that lender.
Given that result, dealers and lenders will probably embrace products such as Equifax’s TradeSight.
Through TradeSight, lenders see a summary of the dealership, which informs and improves conversations between lenders and dealers, said Craig Sims, auto lending sales leader at Equifax. “Different dealers should be treated differently by lenders,” Sims said. “Dealers want to have smart conversations with lenders.”
Individual dealerships can use the product internally to examine which lenders are offering the most attractive programs or the lowest rates. And dealership groups can analyze each store in the group to look at business from a national perspective.
In July, Jim Houston, director of J.D. Power’s auto finance practice, said that lenders should know their dealerships’ business thoroughly and contact them regularly.
“As a lender, I need to be able to pick up the phone and contact my dealer” to establish a relationship, he said. Dealers will ask themselves: “Does my relationship manager visit me on a regular basis, and when they do, are they bringing value-added conversation?”
A personal, informed relationship is the differentiator among lenders, he said.
It’s not one person at the bank who knows the dealership; “it’s the spectrum of the relationship,” Houston said. The lender as a whole should understand the dealership’s business.
Knowledge of your partner seems obvious, but for lenders that work with hundreds of dealerships, it could be overwhelming. More tools like TradeSight could help bridge the gap.