You're busy. The phones are ringing, deals are closing, and you know you'll have no relief until after the first of the year.
Ever notice that's typically when a customer waffles? They either stop just as you're wrapping up the paperwork, decide to "think about it some more" or return the car hours after they had happily driven away.
"You'd be surprised how quickly that can happen," said Stephanie Cooper, a finance manager at Timbrook Automotive, which has stores in Cumberland and Oakland, Md., and Keyser, W.Va. "I just had a client who wanted to back out. We sat down and talked, and he decided to move ahead. Some of that is just buyer's remorse. When they talk it out, they usually feel much better."
Whether finances, family pressures or even the styling of the car are at the root of a customer's last-second reaction, it's vital to have a plan so staff respond appropriately. That's why dealers and veteran finance managers have solid practices and processes in place even though instances of a customer backing away from a deal are somewhat rare.
"If they are moving along in the process and then say, 'I want to stop and go home and think about it,' that's fine," said Kevin Collins, president of Bill Collins Ford in Louisville, Ky. "And on the occasion when a customer goes through the process, takes delivery and then decides to return it, we take it back."
Auto dealerships take pride in professionalism and make deals transparent, so it's rare that dealerships have more than occasional cases of clients backing out, Collins said. Still, it's vital to assure customers that they are free to make the decision while uncovering the reason for the shift. Taking the client to a quiet office and calmly talking with him or her is the best way to protect the dealership's reputation, no matter the customer's decision, Collins said.