I Already Found the Car I Want!

Helping a lead navigate a private party quest… 

You have a sub prime lead in your hand, but the customer has made it perfectly clear that they do not want to purchase a vehicle from a dealership. They have in fact found a used BMW and ONLY want to get financing for that car.  This is a young person, getting their first car, and is a little over ambitious. . The lead makes less than $2,000 a month, and the BMW, even though it’s used, is about $40,000. It would be close to a miracle if someone with a 500 credit score and such a low income level was able to get direct financing from a bank to purchase this vehicle. It would be amazing if a dealership could even finance a deal like that. Now, rather than badger the customer by insulting their intelligence, try and be helpful and supportive. Sure, they may be a little rude to you, but try and grit your teeth and smile. Remember, this person isn’t going to be able to get a loan for that car and once they find that out, they’ll start to explore other options. Let other people give them the attitude so when they look back, they remember you being non judgmental and helpful.

Not all dealers will allow you to do this, but an excellent way to get some quick sales to sub prime buyers that have found a car is to have the vehicle purchased by the dealership then financed through one of their banks. Offer this to the customer, tell them that you may be able to help them get the car that they want, but that the dealership would have to inspect the vehicle first to be sure that they will not be liable for any massive problems (which can help sway the customer towards a car already at your dealership), and verify that they will absolutely able to finance the customer before purchasing the vehicle.

Let’s go back to our auto lead that makes $1,800.00 a month. After you’ve established that you may be able to help them get financing, help them over the phone. Try not to take a message, or tell them that you’ll, “Look into it,” and call them back. Give them one on one, real time service. Punch in a few numbers, say that you haven’t even run the customers credit yet, and explain that if they took out a 5 year loan for that BMW they had their heart set on, at an interest rate for someone will good credit, let’s say 10%, that the monthly payment would be almost $900 a month. Then mention that they still have insurance, full coverage since it’s being financed, and that with their age and the high price of the car, that the insurance payments could be almost the cost of the monthly payment. Add that together, that’s just about every cent of their income. That doesn’t leave any spare change for things like gas or general maintenance. Explain this in a subtle way and while you’ve been crunching those numbers have a separate column ready so you can spout off some quick facts about what you CAN do for them.

“You know, I can get you into something similar here for about $200-300 a month. I mean it’s not going to be that BMW, but we have a decent section of some good used two door sports cars. I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to help you today, but if you decide that you want to get something later down the road I’ll be here and I already see that we can get you financed for something around $10,000.” Now, it might seem bad to say that you are not going to be able to get their dream car, but if you say it in the right tone, one that relays, “Wow, that’s an amazing car, YOU have absolutely fantastic taste,” and sympathize with them, there will be a sense of camaraderie between the two of you. At the end of the call,when you’ve said that you can help them, don’t push for a sale. If they ask you any questions about what you have on your lot, of course answer those, but do not insist that they come in to see what you have to offer. This will break any trust that you have built up so far. Make sure they have your number, wish them luck, and end the call. “Do you have any more questions? ..Ok then, you have my number, and it was nice talking to you, if you change your mind just give me a call. Thanks again, goodbye.”

You may be upset at this point, thinking, “But you ALWAYS want to set an appointment on the first call! Don’t tell them anything until they come into your office! You’ll never hear from that customer again!” With some customers that is the truth, but not for all. You have to know when to use the take-away technique. A scenario like this is perfect for it. You want them to go to their local bank, and you want them to call another dealership. Why? This customer has such outlandish hopes that a salesman somewhere else is going to rip them apart. Think of the condescending attitude and general rudeness. Then when the customer realizes that they did have their heights set a little too high, they’re not going to want to go back to those rude dealerships, they’re going to want to go to you. You are probably going to be the only one who didn’t laugh, treated them with respect, and already told them what you can do for them.

This helps get your sales up in the long run. You might not hear from that customer for another month or two, but they’ll remember you. Not all sub prime leads are going to be a sure thing. Remember that a successful sub prime department isn’t about getting a sale ASAP or not at all, it’s about building customers.

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About dealerautoleads

I'm a blogger on the east coast who has worked in the automotive industry for the last 20 years. View all posts by dealerautoleads

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