Long gone are the days where we make it difficult for the customer to obtain their credit information with regards to auto loans. Yet, the last thing many dealers want to do is provide their customers with their credit score and potential buying power. The idea that it is best to have the customer come in having already completed a credit application; offering that their approval is “pending” and they need to speak with the finance manager. Please do note, though, that this is not to say and or offer that it is not a good idea for the customer to complete a credit application, either. However, more often than not if the customer tells the sales consultant or BDC Agent (for those with BDC’s) that they have excellent credit and when they do complete the credit application - prior to arriving at the dealership - it often winds up being a different story which could wind up messing up the deal.
Here are some of the top reasons to offer your customers a soft credit pull on your website!
Customers Have More Access Today to their Credit Scores Through Various Tools
Credit Karma is one of the largest tools out there today where the customer can track their finances and credit score (and this is not promoting them, either). That said, in many cases, the customers are getting pre-approved before they start their online buying journey. With Credit Karma, it even offers the customer a list of potential lenders and their respective loan amounts. That said, it does not hurt to have the soft credit pull option on your site; allowing the customer to look at the inventory that fits in their prospective purchasing power. Rather than the customer taking the time to look at the inventory that they otherwise might not be able to purchase. The other added benefit of providing the customer with this information is that s/he might feel more comfortable completing the soft credit pull themselves; offering more accurate information. The concerns, though, with providing the customer this information is worth noting. The idea that more variables need to be considered when the customer is seeking approval. One of them is the customer's trade-in, which can and will affect their payment. However, it still does not hurt to have this option available for the customer.
What the Soft Credit Pull is Not Replacing. The Customer Still Needs to Come Into the Dealership.
Of course, the customer still needs to come into the dealership, no? More than 88% (study by Roadster) of the customers still want to test drive the vehicle before purchasing it. However, perhaps the customer would be more inclined to make the purchase sooner rather than later because they have a better understanding of what their buying power is - not to mention, by having an understanding of what s/he can purchase it can save a lot of time at the dealership; time that is very important to the customer. It is a known fact that the customer mostly becomes disenchanted during the time in which they have to wait for the finance manager to close their deal. But by having as much information available as possible, it affords the finance manager a better chance in upselling service contracts and warranties.
Bottom Line: Dealers who make the buying process the easiest for the customer will have a better chance of closing prospective the deal. We also know that “transparency” is a buzz word that is still widely discussed on the dealer level. With that said, this is both a meaningful and relevant way to be transparent to the customer.
Do you offer a soft credit pull on your website? If so, have you seen a positive impact? For those that do not offer a soft credit pull - what is holding you back?