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Jared Hamilton
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Michael Hirschfield

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Special Finance: Moving Beyond Incremental

We have all seen the statistics regarding the massive size and potential of the multi-billion dollar Special Finance Market Segment. This Group has grown significantly over the past few years. In fact, up to one of every three customers shopping for vehicles today are in need of a Special Finance solution. The opportunity for Dealers is tremendous, yet many Dealers still struggle with this Market Segment. One reason Dealers struggle, is they do not treat Special Finance as a tremendous opportunity. Unfortunately, many Dealers treat Special Finance as merely an incremental opportunity.

A Hyundai Dealership that happens to stock a few diesel pickups to capture incremental business from the occasional drive-by leaving the local Truck Super Center, will never be as successful selling trucks as the Dealer who specializes in trucks and is dedicated to the needs of the truck buyer.

It is no different with Special Finance. Dealers that specialize in Special Finance deliberately attract Special Finance buyers, arrange the very best portfolio of Special Finance lenders, purchase specific Special Finance inventory that yields the largest profits with their lender/customer combinations, and most importantly has a dedicated Special Finance Sales Process to specifically meet the needs of the Special Finance customer.

Incremental Operators are always struggling to find Special Finance deals. These Dealers typically begin by asking a Special Finance customer what they want to drive, how much they want their payment to be, and how much they want to put down. Delivery is almost always dependent upon finding a lender that will approve what the customer wants.

Dealers that specialize in offering a Special Finance solution direct their attention past the “customer’s wants” and focus on the “customer’s 6091f7961a7988be2571d5c5fde88a44.png?t=1needs.” These Dealers understand the psychological side of the business and build relationships with their customers and their lenders like crazy. They follow a Special Finance Sales Process that creates interest and excitement in the “right” vehicle and builds an eagerness in their customer to provide the “right” down payment to maximize the Approval and secure delivery. By properly managing their customer’s expectations, and earning the “trusted advisor” status, their customers become flexible and provide BIG down payments.

Again, delivery for these keen Operators is not dependent upon find an Approval. Dealers that master offering Special Finance solutions have systems and processes in place, and understand that every customer is approved regardless of their credit. Remember, there are lenders you can partner with that have solutions to almost any credit scenario. It is imperative to partner with the right lenders to advance your business.

Their Special Finance Sales Process looks like the following:

  1. Meet & Greet
  2. Set The Expectation
  3. Credit Statement Review
  4. Determine the Payment
  5. Vehicle Selection Discussion
  6. Finance Options Discussion
  7. Tax and Down Payment Discussion
  8. Risk Based Pricing Disclosure
  9. Vehicle Presentation / Test Drive
  10. Numbers / Approval Presentation
  11. Close / Reselection
  12. STIPS / Delivery


There is a incredible opportunity for Dealers looking to add sales and service business by moving beyond incremental and truly focusing on driving profits with this ever growing Market Segment. You do not need a dedicated Special Finance department to be successful. Many Dealers have been successful creating and managing Special Finance deals directly from their Sales Desk, or even their existing F&I Office. The key is having the right systems and process in place. Please reach out to me with any questions or comments.

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