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Dealer, Know Thy Lender

I spent a couple of days last month at the Washington DC edition of the 4th annual ADM conference.  This was the first year they had split the conference up into different markets, but I was still able to learn quite a bit from chatting with the 9 dealers and the lenders in attendance.

Luckily the assembled cast represented the full spectrum, from polished special finance professionals looking to hone their skills to a dealer principal who knows that he needs spi fi but doesn’t know how to get it up and running.  When I came back to the office here at Carloan.com and started reading through the notes I had taken, the generally accepted ingredients for success were:

  • The store must commit to sub prime from the top down
  • Have the right cars
  • Have the right banks and understand their programs
  • Constantly train your people

This seems so simple on paper, but every dealer I speak to that tells me they can’t make special finance work is deficient in one of these areas, often without realizing it.  Lenders really seem to be the biggest stumbling block, and the differentiator between successful special finance shops and those that struggle.  This was pointed out in stark detail as I listened to three folks discuss the same lender.  All three were from the same state, but all had very different experiences.

Dealer A said that they couldn’t get a deal hung with the bank to save their life, Dealer B said they were OK, but didn’t buy a majority of the deals she sent, but Dealer C swore by the bank and said that if not for this bank their secondary department would be in trouble.  Same state, same bank, same program, very different results, so why such different results?  Dealer C knows the bank’s programs inside and out, and structures his deals to fall in their sweet spot, while the other two structure their deals generically and shoot them to a few banks hoping for a good call.

If you haven’t spoken to your bank reps in a while, take a few minutes to pick up the phone and call them.  Find out what their perfect deal looks like, and how you can tweak what you’ve been sending to get some better calls.  Remember, those folks get paid on how many deals they book, so they want your business and will take all the time necessary to help you understand their programs.

 

Bob Harwood is the National Sales Manager for Carloan.com.  Carloan.com has been generating auto finance leads and special finance leads since 1989.

Bart Wilson
Even in this age of electronic approvals and internal scores the importance of relationship with lenders can't be overlooked, and its a two way arrangement. Deals are sent to banks that have delivered for the dealer in the past and are willing to work with them.

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