Mind Control F by: Mad Marv or decades manufacturers have been trying to change the way people think in order to sell more products. The belief that luring a competitor’s customer base with tantalizing ads with specific background music will bolster their bottom line. It’s all designed to change the viewer's perception of not only the product but the brand they’re trying to establish. Some have succeeded to the point that their trademark names have become household descriptors. Think Kleenex, Q-Tips, BandAid, Scotch tape, Vaseline, Sharpie, and you get the picture. These are examples of marketing genius at its finest and at just the right time in history. It’s almost as if the public has been brainwashed into using these terms. Most actually believe these brand names are in the dictionary when in fact they’ve been lulled by marketers and viola! Even the US government tried tactics involving mind control dating back to the 1950s in an effort to be ahead of other nations in the area of defense albeit blindly so. Sales folk use persuasive skills to invoke customer interest in their products not unlike other manufacturers though in a dealership, it’s usually conducted in person. But no matter how good we become there simply is no way we’re ever going to control the mind of the customer if we behave ethically. That being said, the best in this business seeks to understand the human condition where it pertains to desire for our products and how these best fit their needs. Whereas a salesperson will use rapport and focus on customer emotion, F&I must determine customer need and fashion a presentation around that. Dan Mason did a fine job in his article this issue about using word pictures the customer can see themselves experiencing. This works well because it invokes a time when the customer needed our product and didn’t have it. While we don’t want to use awkward presentation techniques, there are times when a gentle reminder of how important our products can truly be. Now, I’ve had many conversations with FIMs who believe they can actually control the situation with a customer. Even one who actually wrote on a social media page that no one leaves their office without buying something because they’re so talented. Now, I hardly believe anyone is that persuasive and it’s more than likely this person’s disclosure methods are questionable and chargebacks are probably high. “the difference between good and great at anything is often only a small amount of extra effort...It’s often that second or even third extra effort they exert that separates them from others on the field of play” So, if we’re unable to control another person’s thoughts, how can we become more effective? The answer probably lies in the finance manager’s ability to create a desire for our products. Because if we can’t they probably won’t buy it. This is where product knowledge comes into play and using that knowledge in a way that speaks to their particular needs. You see, the difference between good and great at anything is often only a small amount of extra effort. Think of some great sports stars you admire. It’s often that second or even third extra effort they exert that separates them from others on the field of play. Performing good is often acceptable and praised by the status quo so most of us dwell or at least linger there. And isn’t it easy to accept the praise of our bosses when we’ve had a good month knowing in the back of our minds we could’ve done better? That’s just fooling yourself. The real question is “How much more could I have done with just a bit more effort?”. Taking another run at a product or trying just once more could very well be the key that unlocks the door. I’ve told plenty of FIMs ‘the most important thing you can do is become a product expert’. Read every enrollment form and learn each benefit. I’d wager there’s plenty of you who don’t know things about the products you offer customers that might make that difference. While you may not be able to actually change their minds, you can most certainly rein in your thoughts. Commit to having more self-control when the deal isn’t going your way. I challenge you to put away your pay plan and start focusing on what’s right for the customer. How can we become better at this? Simple. Start listening with both ears like Dan Mason talks about in this issue. He describes the best a finance pro can do is master the art of customer care when administering F&I products. This is a winning strategy and anyone can do it. Talk less and listen more then adjust according to what you learn. Good luck and keep closing. 14

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