Growing From the Inside Out!
Sales is a numbers game. However, many times we get things backwards. We focus almost exclusively on results (outside) to the neglect of the process (inside) that produces them. I remember the first time I said to an owner who had just made very clear their desire for the numbers to increase; “so you want more apples on the tree.” I explained further that you don’t get more apples by yelling at the tree or beating on the trunk! You get more apples when you provide the ingredients to improve the health of the tree — working from the inside out.
Healthy things grow. Unhealthy things die.
To see an increase in F&I production there must be an honest diagnosis of how healthy the current process is. Substandard numbers are a symptom of a deeper problem. The two most important health factors to analyze are trust and comfort levels. If our process doesn’t build high levels of trust with customers, we encounter high levels of resistance. Three words are the basis for building trust with every customer: Transparency-Transparency-Transparency!
Be real! When your customer sees that you genuinely enjoy what you do, and most importantly, are genuinely interested in them, that differentiates you from most other “salespeople” they have encountered. The buying process becomes fun for them and they can’t remember that happening in a long time. Now they can relax and engage in a healthy conversation that reveals their need for your products. They become a customer thirsty for your solutions.
Be informative! A customer should never have to wonder what comes next. Clearly explain what you are going to do, in what sequence, and how long it is going to take. If they are unsure of the process as it progresses, any trust built earlier evaporates. Since we do the same thing every day we make assumptions that customers know what will happen. Communicating to them along the path to the sale will create a guiding environment versus asking them to follow us blindly. One builds genuine interest in what we have to share and the other builds resistance.
Be specific! General statements scream to the customer that we may be exaggerating, or even worse, not telling them the truth. Specific information backed up by independent 3rd party data not only makes what we say believable, it makes the customer think and reevaluate their objection. We shouldn’t say to a customer replacing a tire and wheel is “expensive” or “around $1,000.” Instead we should show them the exact price from our service department.
To see an increase in F&I production there must be an honest diagnosis of how healthy the current process is.
Comfortable customers buy … buy more … and buy faster.
With every customer interaction, we either demand the customer adjust to the way we like to walk through the process or we adjust to theirs. Customers feel comfortable when you adapt to their needs and that demands we learn more about how customers like to buy and provide a process that accommodates their preferences. We always say when a customer is laughing they are buying. Laughter is a sign that the tension often felt in a selling situation is being removed and the level of comfort is rising.
Focusing on building trust with customers and providing a relaxed, enjoyable process is a sure way to see an increase in the desired outcome. It will put more apples on the tree! Yes, we must still be good at selling. However, if the trust and comfort levels are low, so will be the F&I production level. To get more results, focus on a healthy process. Apple trees don’t struggle to produce apples, it’s natural … and a healthy process will make selling at record levels just as natural. Sell on!
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This blog article was also published on Agent Entrepreneur.