Customers that want to see numbers before test driving

Vincent R
Lately I've been getting a lot of prospects that want to go over the numbers before even test driving the car or truck that they want. I'll do a credit app with them first because they want to know how much of a down payment that they will need. Usually they won't want to tell me how much they have. Then after showing them, they want to know the payments and not even want to drive it yet. So if we go over the payments they will have other objections like the payments or the interest is too high. I just had a serious buyer leave because he would have ended up paying a total of about $10,000 in interest over the 4 and a half years of his loan. Though he already had 3 car loans in his name which is why we needed $10,000 down. But I DID have him talk to my manager before he left. I suspect that customers want to go over numbers quickly in order to save everyone's time. How can I overcome this?
Dustin Lyons
Try taking control of the situation by turning the questions around on them. You should be asking them what kind of payment range they are looking for and you should be the one suggesting the numbers. By asking questions you can maintain control of the situation and lead the conversation. In the car biz, we have to make sure of a couple things, one is that customers get the car that they want, and another is that the price/payments work for them. Building value and justifying the price/payments is much easier when the customers drive and fall in love with the car first, but at the same time there are a lot of customers that want to make sure something is in their budget before they fall in love with it. I get it, you be the one to lead them and take their budget and point them to a car that fits it. If they don't tell you the information you want right off the bat, try building more report and then asking them the same questions in a slightly different way. I love all your questions Vincent and it seems that you are always really trying to improve. If you ever want to call me and chat please feel free, I would be happy to share some of the things I have learned over the years and some of the things I used to train my sales team.
Vincent R
Thanks, Dustin I would appreciate that. Sometimes I think I get a little too over analytical about this stuff.
Frank Marshall
Wanting to see numbers up front is usually a sign that the customer is concerned with their ability to buy. Conversely, qualifying a customer who is extremely confident in their ability to buy may insult them. Remember this: Everything you need to know to put a deal together is found in the present transportation situation (ie, the trade). So... I agree with Dustin's comments about the exercising more control, and this is an art learned. Here's what you need to be able to do in your head without discussing on the lot (no fender trading allowed). Know approximate payments on each car assuming an average term and interest rate. Some salespeople live by the "drop the last two numbers and double it" rule. For example, a $30000 car you drop the last two digits... $300, then double it, $600 is an approximate payment on the car. Now, here's the next thing you need to know: Does their trade have negative or positive equity? Let's say you discover that they are probably tanked $5000 in their trade. Add the $5000 to the $30000 and now you can guess the payment will be about $700 a month. Could be better, could be a little worse, but that will keep you from putting them on the wrong car and looking foolish. How do you find out all the above info though? It's in the greeting and the fact finding phase. Ask questions like: What's brought on the need for a new vehicle? What did you like about it, what did you hate? And most importantly get these questions in: So, did they treat you right on your payment last time? And more directly if needed: What was your payment like on that vehicle? and no matter what they say follow up with "wow, how did you end up getting to that amount per month?" You're trying to determine their car financing behavior in the past. If you know the payment is lower then expected then they probably put cash down or had equity in the trade last time. Good chance they may do it again with you. You should be able to approximate used car trade-in values in your head to know whether it's close to the payoff. If you think you have a credit challenge or financing challenge (like too much negative equity, bad credit, etc), work within the framework of your dealer's system of handling this. Your managers may allow you to pre-qualify them wtih a credit app up front, but be careful doing this. I always opted on the side of possibly wasting time and just moving forward building value. The reason is, is that if pre-qaulify people I am going to miss opportunities before thinking the whole thing through from every angle, and you don't want to do that. If a customer begins their visit wanting to see numbers first, just lay it out on the line with them like they are with you. "Ms. Customer, I appreciate you wanting to save time. To save you the most time possible and to make sure I steer you toward a vehicle you like that fits in with what you're trying to accomplish, may I ask you a few questions about your current situation?" Then ask whatever you like - what is your payoff, what is your current payment, which lender did you use last time (this can be as sign of good/bad credit). You should be able to put them on the right car and then move along the road to the sale on your terms, get them in the ether loving the car and enjoying buying rather than just making an intellectual decision - you are doing all the hard thinking for them and earning your commission. good luck
Lauren Moses
Vincent. Great question and it's something that more dealerships are struggling with more and more. With prices being blasted all over the internet what stops them from search Joe Blow down the Road and seeing that theirs is $5000 cheaper and wanting to sit down right out of the bat to see if you will drop your price that $5000. Just to find out that yours is a higher end model versus Joe Blow's being a base line. Try asking them to show you the vehicle that they were looking at. This way it actually gets them out to the lot and gets their hands and bodies on the vehicle. Talk to them and ask questions to make sure they are looking in their price range. For instance with our GMC's, If I have a customer come in and say that they have a small family and are looking for something bigger than a small car, but don't want to spend more than $35,000 I already know I need to put them on a terrain provided 5 seats is enough. If they need a 7 passenger then I need to put them on an Acadia but it will have to be a lower model and they will have to raise their budget a little, but if they love it then they wont mind raising the budget. Sometimes a simple "Would you like to test drive this one? I would hate for us to work numbers on one vehicle for you to drive it later and find out that you hate it. Then we would have to start the process all over again and that means that much more time." will convince them to go ahead and take even just a short test drive.
mark rask
I agree with frank

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