Riddle me This O by:Dan Mason ne of the most difficult tasks we have is helping customers get out of their own way. This is mostly attributed to the fact they have predetermined ideas of how business is conducted in a dealership. Either they’ve had a previous bad experience or have heard horror stories from others about bad practices. Unfortunately, it still exists in some stores. So, how do we help our customers get past this? The answer is simple. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should be doing twice as much listening as talking. Riddle me this? What is so fragile that when you say its name you break it? Silence. Let’s talk about the psychology behind this idea. There’s a difference between a statement and a question. A statement does not require a response. If none is required, there is no need to think. If there is no need to think, there is no emotional response. A question requires a response. In order to respond, it requires thought. If we ask the right questions, the thoughts will trigger an emotional response. How does this work in F&I? First, stop doing a customer interrogation. All you are doing by interrogating your customer is putting up a wall, not tearing one down. The interview was created to assist in setting up the menu. Yet instead, it’s caused many finance managers to become focused on being menu experts instead of relationship and product experts. When they come into our office they are typically on guard and defensive. Put them at ease by saying “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” You will see a big change in their body language. It’s almost magical! Their shoulders drop, they may exhale or sit back in their chair as well. As they start talking, it is critical that you sit back, relax, and listen. Don’t start typing or working on your computer. By stopping to pay attention to them, it shows that you care. One of the biggest mistakes made is when some finance managers begin their presentation. Many launch into expert mode and want to tell their customers everything they know. This is a bad mistake! When we roll into expert (tell) mode, we run the risk of losing the customer’s attention. I mean we all love the sound of our voices, don’t we? So, how do we change this? Instead of droning on when objections surface with canned responses, use stories and questions! By asking the proper guided questions, it creates a conversation. The vehicle they are purchasing is tangible. Customers can’t wait to show off their new ride to friends and family. Riddle me this? What is so fragile that when you say its name you break it? Silence. But, I’ve yet to see a customer show off their new service contract to a friend or much less, even mention it. So how do we build the same value in a non-tangible? For starters, we offer risk management products and the value lies is having protection in case the customer faces a problem. Asking the right question to trigger an emotional tie-in to the products you offer is a good way to overcome a doubter. Let me give you some examples. “Mr. Customer, you said earlier that you work late at night. Picture yourself leaving work at 11:00, it’s 10 degrees outside, and your battery is dead. What would you do?” It’s critical to wait for your customer to answer. This triggers the emotional response we are looking for because their thoughts go to a time when they had a dead battery. “One great thing about this service contract is that it comes with battery jump-start coverage. Instead of worrying, just simply go back inside where it’s nice and warm. Give us a call and we are going to send someone out to get the car started for you. Doesn’t that sound much better?” Here’s another example. “Mr. Customer, picture your wife driving down the highway and the car blows out a tire. How safe would you feel with her changing that tire? The great thing about this service contract is that it comes with flat tire assist. Your wife only needs to give us a call. We’ll send someone out to change it getting her back on the road safe and sound”. When you tell this story with her sitting there, guess what she’s thinking. ‘He’d better get this coverage or he’ll be sleeping on the couch’. What you’re doing is taking your customers on a mental tour of the product. That’s how you make an intangible item tangible. This is also the time to take the information you learned from your customers when you asked them to tell you a little about themselves. This shows that you care and that you listened. As GP Anderson says, “Scratch their record” by letting your customers know that this is not the same process they’re used to. Become a better professional by listening more and speaking less. Ask great questions, tell great stories, and don’t forget that silence is golden. Have fun! 4 Dan Mason is the Asst VP National Sales Director for Principal Warranty Corp.

5 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication