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Feb. 9, 2009 – Considering a two-touch process for F&I

February 9, 2009
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These articles recap some of the opportunities uncovered by Gart Sutton & Associates’ powersports specialists during consulting visits. These are followed by recommended actions that address the issues. Our goal is to provide ideas to help improve your dealership.

Dealership Details

This is a multiline dealership located in a city of 50,000 with a drawing area of around 400,000. It has an excellent, freeway frontage, high-traffic location. They had been a part of a group of dealers owned by a large corporation and had a poor reputation for customer service. In March, they were purchased by the current owner, who previously owned several unrelated businesses. The new owner has been remodeling and upgrading the facility and signage.
In the first part of the series on this dealership, GSA consultants provided analysis on the overall dealership. This second part provides analysis of the sales department.

Sales department

The store is currently undergoing a remodel. It has a new, high-quality ceramic-tile floor and they are in the process of painting the walls and slat wall. The showroom has no focal points or traffic paths. There are no lifestyle or theme displays of units, clothing and accessories. These would help customers better visualize and take mental ownership of units and accessories leading to additional sales. They are installing daylight, color-balanced showroom lighting. This will improve the vibrancy of the colors of the units and clothing. The window displays have no themes and are not well lighted. They have an excellent waiting area, but it does not have a view of the showroom or accessory displays. Providing accessories catalogues and photo albums of customized customer bikes for customers to study would lead to additional sales opportunities.
The sales manager is very enthusiastic. However, he is not reinforcing the sales process. Salespeople are cutting corners and moving through the process too fast. More time needs to be spent in establishing rapport and uncovering customer needs. Ongoing sales training, coaching and counseling from the sales manager will improve sales and customer satisfaction.
They are following a customer path process. The customer spends time with a parts specialist and the service department prior to the final F&I presentation and delivery.
Salespeople try to get the credit application. These are not always complete. Often the unit sale has not been closed at this point. The
two-touch F&I process was discussed. Once the unit sale is closed, the salesperson introduces the customer to the F&I manager. This gives him a chance to work on finance conversions and properly complete a credit application. Once he has addressed rate and payment questions and completed the application, he returns the customer to the salesperson. The second F&I touch occurs after the customer has been to parts and service and is ready for the final F&I presentation.

Action Items

  • Provide coaching counseling and training as needed to ensure the sales staff is following the sales process.
  • Slow the sales process down. Ensure the sales staff is spending adequate time in the greeting, building rapport and interviewing portion of the sales process.
  • Ensure 100 percent of the customers are turned over to the business (F&I) office.
  • Utilize the 48-hour follow-up log to ensure all new unit purchasers are contacted within 48 hours of the sale.
  • Utilize the two-touch F&I process for cash or outside financing deals.
  • Develop and implement a salesperson F&I checklist to ensure thorough paperwork preparation.
  • Use an appraisal form on all used units.
  • Set salesperson goals for prospect calls and appointments.
  • Develop theme displays, focal points and traffic patterns for the showroom floor.
  • Develop and implement a delivery checklist to ensure thorough and consistent deliveries.
  • Complete accessories inventory assessment to determine application/stocking potential.
  • Provide F&I training for sales manager. psb
    Gart Sutton has been a leading provider of on-site dealer consulting, dealer 20-groups, online financial composites, accounting rescue services, and OEM and dealership training solutions for nearly 30 years. For additional information on these services, visit www.gartsutton.com

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