There are some things that a customer will say that make your heart leap with pride. When I was a sales person on the floor, I knew that I had done a good job identifying my customer’s needs, matching them to the car that met those needs and making sense of the numbers when my customer would say, “I’m going to have to go home and get my checkbook. I didn’t intend on buying a car today.” That’s just a job well done. We have a hard enough time selling customer’s who intend to buy, it’s really the top of our game to help a customer who legitimately did not intend to purchase.
In F&I, the equivalent to that phrase about the checkbook, for me anyway, is the customer who walks out of my office and says, “No one ever explained it to me that way before.” Oh, the bliss!
I had a customer a couple of weeks ago who was trading in a 7-year old Passat with about 47,000 miles that they had bought new. The driver, the wife, was a school speech therapist in a small town, and the only driving she did was from home to one of the schools in town; 3 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools. They were looking at a Hyundai Elantra, new, and were considering a lease.
The sales manager who worked the deal brought me the folder and said, “These people want to do a 36-month lease. They aren’t going to buy anything.” I took that as a challenge. I went out and sat down at the sales person’s desk where the customers were waiting to finish their paperwork, and started my interview. “You are replacing a 7-year old Passat with…47,000 miles?? What do you do that you only drive 47,000 miles?” She told me her story. “You seem to keep your cars for a long time, would you mind telling me, out of my own curiosity, why you are considering a lease?”
“We don’t know if we’ll want to keep this car for that long” was the reply.
“That is an excellent strategy. If you were to purchase, your term would have to be much longer to achieve the same payment as a lease. You know what your options are with that 36th payment, right? You can sell it and pocket the difference if your vehicle is worth more than the residual, you can trade it in and apply that difference to your next car, or you can refinance the residual and keep paying on the vehicle until it is paid off. If your vehicle is not worth the amount of your residual, you can bring it back and drop off the keys and let the bank take the hit in depreciation.”
“Yes, that is why we are leasing.”
I love educated consumers.
I went through my presentation, using a graph illustration and the warranty handbook from the owner’s manual packet, to demonstrate what is covered and what is not covered. They decided on the 5-year/75,000 mile service contract, prepaid maintenance, the PDR policy, the Windshield and the Road Hazard protection. When I presented my menu and asked her to pick an option, she looked down and chose Option 4 and said, “No one ever explained those products to me that way before.” It was awesome!
Here is what I told her:
That VSC is not just for failures, it is also to keep your car running good, and to make sure that your vehicle always has all new parts on it. Those technicians work on commission and when you tell them that you have the Platinum VSA, they will know that no matter what they find wrong with your vehicle, you will only be out of pocket your deductible. They are going to look extra hard to find parts that are worn out, wearing out or about to start wearing out; anything they can justify to the warranty company fixing, they will fix. Not only will your car run better longer, don’t you think with all of those repair orders from our service department that your vehicle will be worth more when you bring it back in?
The PDR and Windshield policy will keep your car looking new. Every time you bring it in for your routine maintenance, just make sure that you tell the service adviser that you have the PDR and the Windshield protection and he will walk your vehicle and make a note of any damage that can be repaired. Then, he will schedule a time for you to bring the vehicle in to let our PDR and Windshield repair tech pop those dents and dings out, and repair any small chips, cracks and stars in your windshield. That not only keeps your vehicle looking nice and new, it will save you from an excess wear and tear charges if you decide to turn the vehicle in rather than keep it or trade it. Also, since your vehicle will look better at the end of your lease term, won’t it be worth more?
The road hazard protection is the best value on the menu. If you go to a tire store and buy 4 new tires, the technician is going to ask you if you want that road hazard policy. Most policies sold by tire retailers are 12 month/12,000 mile policies that cover only that tire. They will repair tires damaged by road hazard, and if you blow out a tire and it is not repairable, they will replace it with another tire, prorated. And the price of all of that is only $12-$15 per tire. Our tire and wheel policy covers your tire and your wheel, unlimited claims, unlimited miles and is a $0 out of pocket expense to you if you ever do have a repair. It also covers your wheel so if you hit something and bend of break a wheel, it’s covered. If they can fix it, they’ll fix it, and if they can’t fix it they’ll replace it with a brand new tire or rim or both, and we all know that the wheels are much more expensive than the tires. All that is covered for only $27 per tire and wheel per year. (Think about it; $27 x 4 tires and wheels = $108 x 5 years = $540 price of the protection)
I assume the maintenance in the description of the VSC, they are right above and below one another on my menu.
“No one ever explained those options to me that way before.” What a great compliment.