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Mike Hirschfield

Mike Hirschfield CEO

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Special Finance: Holiday Season Slumping Your Cash Down?

The Holiday Season is here! The temperatures are dropping, the daylight hours are dropping, and if you are like many Dealerships…the cash down on your Special Finance deals are dropping as well.

Cash down is everything, As we all know, the only reason ANY deal doesn’t go down the road is cash down. Lender advance too low….you need more cash, Dealer profit too low….you need more cash, customer payment too high….you need more cash. Cash down cures all ills.

Below are three tips to help you get more cash down this Holiday Season, deliver more deals, and make more money!

1: Stop Believing the Customer CAN’T Put Any Money Down

Every year around this time customers take their normal excuses on why they can’t put any money down and replace them using “well Christmas is just around the corner so we can’t put any money down.” This is a great excuse. It’s right up there with “were just looking” and “we need to think about it.” Unfortunately, many Special Finance Managers believe them and accept the idea that they really have nothing to put down.

Of course, no customers is going to want to put any money down this time of year, but that is irrelevant. What matters is not what the customer wants to put down, but rather what the customer can put down. What if it was 20 degrees outside and the customer’s heater went out costing $1500 to replace….would they freeze or find a way to replace the heater? What if they are put in jail and told they can either pay a $1000 fine or serve 90 days….would they just sit there or find away to get the $1000 and get home to their family? When something is important enough, people tend to find ways to make it happen. Your special finance solution is no different. If it is important enough to the customer, they can and will find a way to put money down, secure financing, and take delivery.

2: Look at Your Sales Process

Sales Process is the #1 reason why Dealers struggle with down payments. Dealers often begin by asking their customers questions like: what do you want to drive, what do you want your payment to be, and how much do you want to put down. These same Dealers than wonder why the customer responds with unreasonable answers including $0 down or near $0 down. Listen, your customers are no different than me or you. No one wants to put any money down! So stop asking them.

Your sales process needs to educate the customer on their problem, your solution, and why it’s important. Remember the solution is the financing not the vehicle. Getting a customer’s credit working for them rather than against them is a lot more important than any specific vehicle.

Your sales process needs to get the customer focused on their needs versus their wants. Customers are far more motivated to solve a problem and take care of a need than merely satisfy a want. Your sales process needs to add value in the financing and leverage the approval itself. The approval is ultimately what the customer needs, and leveraging the approval is one of the most effective ways to increase down payments.

At the end of the day, your customers should be working as hard as you are to secure financing and put the deal together. If they are not it is time for a new process, increased down payments, and new found profits.

3: Get Creative

When all else fails…it is time to get creative. If you can not move your customer on down payment with adding value in the financing and selling the finance opportunity, than you need to give them another reason to move.

Maybe a relative is willing to provide the down payment as an early Christmas gift…Maybe there is a second trade to cover the down payment…Maybe a wage advance from the employer can cover the down payment…Maybe there are un-used student grants for the second semester that can over the down payment…Maybe the customer has something of value at home (that when sold) can cover the down payment.

Maybe you can extended their first payment date so they can “afford” to put more down today…Maybe you can make the customers 1st payment for them so they can “afford” to put more money down today…Maybe every special finance deal during December is built to include a  $500 Walmart card so they can “afford” to put more money down.

Of course, rules and regulations vary by State and Lender so be sure to check with the appropriate parties before implementing any of these practices.

Michael Hirschfield



Michael Hirschfield
Cornerstone Dealer Development, LLC

Direct: 920-422-4007
Fax: 888-395-0427



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