Getting prospects in your door is one battle – getting them to purchase service contracts is another beast. In these challenging and changing times, here are a few tips on how car dealerships can optimize the F&I process for improved penetration, even in an online environment.
Selling Service Contracts to Prepared Buyers
Stay-at-home orders in many states mean that car buyers are spending a lot of time online, even more so than normal!
Prospects are usually already prepared when they walk into a dealership – they’ve done their research, they’ve searched for dealers in their area, and they may know what they want before they introduce themselves. Many spend hours searching for prices and dealerships online before even leaving the house.
Adding a service contract, or anything else from your F&I menu, to an already large purchase is a major hurdle with most buyers. As we’ve said, they’ve already done their research and they know the size vehicle payment they want.
Your team should be well aware of the benefits of a service contract on a used car. If your F&I department is transparent in explaining exactly why adding products – such as a service contract and GAP insurance – can benefit your customers, it can lead to more sales. With so much information available at a prospect’s fingertips, it's important to meet their expectations and answer this question: “What am I signing up for, it is worth my money, and what are the real benefits?”
Used Vehicles and Service Contracts
Customers want to know what they’re buying. An educated buyer is a confident buyer, and if your F&I menu is streamlined, clear, and easy to access on your website, you could be cultivating a lifetime customer.
Adding a FAQ section to your F&I page tells customers your team is not only experienced and transparent, but quick in answering questions, too. It can effectively help shorten the F&I transaction time as well.
The legal site Nolo.com created a list of questions for customers to consider before they purchase a service contract for a used vehicle. Here are a few things you should be able to answer for your customers:
- Does it duplicate current warranty coverage?
- How much does it cost and how long does it last?
- Is there a deductible, and if so, how much is it?
- What repairs and services does it cover?
- Who will perform the repairs?
Since most customers already search for their next car online, they may walk into your dealership with these exact, or similar, questions. It's important to have ready answers, and it’s the job of your F&I team to guide them in making a decision. This helps in creating transparency between the F&I department and the consumer, and furthers the image that you're not hiding how the service contracts you offer work.
Additionally, it may be worth it for the F&I team to prepare documents and images for your website that explain the benefits of the menu products you sell. Spend some time putting together explanations that can be understood quickly. Customers want information displayed clearly – not giant paragraphs full of industry-specific jargon. A few, short, explanatory videos can add a personal touch to your FAQ page, as well.
Used vehicles present more of a repair risk, which means selling service contracts for peace of mind is more attractive and sounds better than simply pushing for additional coverage.
If they know all the benefits of the various products before signing on the dotted line, it translates to less work for finance managers, since they’ll spend less time answering questions. Since prospects can explore the benefits of adding a service contract on your site, once their interest is piqued, your team can concentrate on explaining the details and more easily make the sale.
Maintaining Loyalty With Ease and Transparency
To keep customers coming back, it's important to maintain transparency before and after the sale – especially if something goes wrong with the car. A customer that purchases a service contract and has trouble filing a claim may feel cheated out of their hard-earned cash.
If it can’t be handled through your service department and a customer needs to file a claim, you should have an easy online process to do this. A customer that’s forced to fumble through the claim process not only won’t be happy, you risk losing them.
Another key point is maintaining consistency from your site to your showroom. When a prospect walks through your doors, your sales staff should be continuing the conversation, rather than starting the entire process over by disassociating themselves from the online conversation. In this respect, your online space should be treated as an extension of your physical location, not a separate entity.
Locating Auto Sales Leads Online
A clear and transparent website is key in transitioning prospects from the virtual world to your brick-and-mortar location. Having information readily available online about your F&I products allows prospects to discover the benefits of purchasing a service contract themselves, so your finance department can spend less time selling, and more time coaching.
At Auto Credit Express, we know a thing or two about online optimization – we’re a top online subprime lead provider for dealerships across the country. If you’re in need of motivated prospects who are looking for a second chance in car financing, or new or used car leads, give us a call at 888-535-2277 to start the conversation, or contact us online here.