Becky's blog

CASH CONVERSIONS - Engage Early F&I Online

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THE F&I ONLINE SHOPPER - Communicate the Customer Way!

If you think you’re the only dealership getting hit with cash customers lately, you’re not alone! More customers than ever are walking into the dealership with a check for the exact amount.

Why is this happening? The answer is simple: Online financing. And that financing obviously isn’t coming through you.

Many dealers today still don’t want to give customers the option to self-desk. They prefer that the customer wait it out until they get into the dealership to discuss financing options. It’s about protecting the golden goose at all cost.

With many of these dealerships, it might even surprise you that the BDC is left in the dark and given little training when it comes to discussing financing options or answering customer-specific financing questions.

Dealers should consider engaging customers online at the first touch-point or stand the chance of missing out to a competitor. Some signs point to the need to get better with the digital shopping experience in general. Understanding the advantages or disadvantages to meeting the customer on their terms.

Projections show that more than 220 million people will shop online in the United States this year. That’s a big marketplace to attract car shoppers.

It would be nice if all those were shoppers were looking to buy cars. They aren’t. But that number tells you how important it is to understand the digital experience.

Cox Automotive’s latest Car Buyer Journey Study shows that 88 percent of car shoppers start online looking for information. Many of those shoppers stop on dealership websites.

But when a shopper asks a question, only 70% of customers receive a response. And, just 25% of customer specific questions are answered. That means dealers either ignore the customers or use the questions as a way to convince the customers to come into the dealership. It’s a missed opportunity.

A Polk survey shows that 75% of customers would prefer to buy online if they could. Disruptors such as Carvana, SpringBoard,Swap Motors, CarMax, AutoGravity, EchoPark and others have been making car buying a breeze by giving the customer what they want – a digital experience that is simple and easy. Customers not only shop vehicles online, but they also can shop financing options, too.

Creating online financing through your website gives the customer the option to do some of the heavy lifting themselves. The customer gets the ability to determine what they might qualify for, a payment range and terms that are available based on their credit.

Online financing isn’t going away. It will only evolve and grow. If you don’t offer the customer the ability to at least explore these options online by offering self-desking in real-time, what makes you think the customer will stop in their tracks, wait until they step foot into the dealership to do their fact-finding?

Technology simplifies the process by turning over the reins to the customer. It’s what the customer wants. Give them that ability and boost your financing business as well.

Not only do you get the financing business, but you also build a trust with the customer that gives you a better opportunity to sell the customer on other F&I products. Everyone wins.

Check out next workshop, Mastering F&I in a Digital Age. Slated for July 17th, 18th & 19th in Alpharetta, GA! Limited Seating.

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