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Jared Hamilton
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Billy Reynolds

Billy Reynolds Regional Vice President—Southeast

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Read This Before Choosing a Desking Provider

If you’ve been in the business for a long time like I have, you’ll remember when every dealership desk had a built-in ashtray. When I’m in a dealership and the desk manager pulls out a green Sharpie and a piece of paper to work a deal, I flash back to that time. We’re not smoking in dealerships anymore, so why are so many still using pen and paper instead of a digital desking tool?


I know what you’re thinking: “That’s the way we’ve always done it and it’s profitable.” That may be true when it comes to the uneducated buyer but, in our increasingly digital world, those buyers are becoming few and far between.

The modern buyer knows exactly what a car is worth before they ever step foot on your floor. If you try to keep numbers close to your chest, they’ll know you’re hiding something. That’s no way to build trust.


The average shopper knows so much ahead of time that they visit an average of only 1.2 dealerships before buying. You give that buyer an old-school experience and they’ll never give you another chance to earn their business. The old-school store is that 0.2 that doesn’t get the deal. 


Old habits are hard to break. The good news is that the right desking tool can help you deliver the transparency that today’s buyers demand and structure more profitable deals in less time.


For the next few minutes, let’s pretend I’m in charge of evaluating and hiring a desking provider at your store. Here’s what I would look for:


Auditing in real time


I want a tool that prompts salespeople to enter all the deal information before they approach the desk. It’s a waste of time to go back and forth when a salesperson says they’re ready to go but hasn’t collected all the necessary details, like if the buyer has a trade and if tax credits apply, or even contact info that includes a zip code. Searching for the answers to these questions slows down deals. Give me a tool that automatically alerts the desk manager when information is missing, so they can hold their salespeople accountable to collect everything needed to accurately desk the deal before approaching the desk.


Accountability and consistency


I want to know how my desking managers are writing deals. Who immediately discounts the deal right away? Who goes back and forth with the customer and holds onto gross profit? I want a tool that allows me to review deals by employee so I can hold them accountable for who’s working to hold onto the most profit. I also want to account for consistency. If I train my salespeople in how to negotiate, but my desk managers don’t follow that process, I lose the equity in that training. A DMS desking tool isn’t going to tell me, but the right digital tool will.


The best rates — period


My people are pulling captive rates out of the and writing deals, but are those the best rates? What if a third-party lender is offering a special rate that will lower a customer’s payment without discounting the sales price? Or what if there’s a lower rate out there that will help the customer afford additional back-end products? The CRM isn’t going to show me special rates from my non-captive lenders. I want a digital tool that does so I can transparently build the most profitable deals.


Integration with my CRM


I want a desking tool that is housed within my CRM. Why? It’s an easy way to ensure your salespeople and desking managers use it. If the only way to desk a deal is by entering deal information into the CRM, guess what? Everyone starts using the CRM.


All the bells and whistles


I want to make it easier and faster to build and present accurate deals. That means I need a tool that highlights the best rates and incentives, gives side-by-side comparisons, generates an accurate tax number and is mobile so I can work a deal in the dealership’s parking lot if I want to capitalize on the customer’s excitement immediately after a test drive, or at the customer’s home or office  The bells and whistles help generate profitable deals for a healthier bottom line and meet the needs of modern buyers for greater customer satisfaction and higher CSI. Everybody wins.


I’ve worked deals with a green Sharpie and with a digital desking tool. The right digital tool always wins. It’s faster, more accurate and, ultimately, more profitable. Use my list as a starting point when evaluating desk providers and challenge them all to a desking duel. If your Sharpie wins, it’s not the right provider.






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