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Congratulations: you’re closing deals, walking your customers through the shopping process, advising on different models and options, and doing test drive after test drive. Now that your client is ready to sign on the dotted line, do you have an attractive financing plan to seal the deal? Unless you have a loan and lease expert on hand, working through the numbers side of the loan process as a dealer may prove to be challenging. Even if you have an in-house financing expert, are you also connected with an experienced outside lender?
Today, we’re going to talk about how dealers can build strong relationships with professional automotive lenders to increase immediate sales and improve long-term customer service. We’ll also discuss the multiple advantages offered by these relationships.
One of the oldest ways to meet lenders is still one of the best ways—at industry events such as trade shows and conferences hosted by organizations like the National Automobile Dealer’s Association. This is also where lenders seek out dealers like you! So, how do you evaluate potential lenders that you meet? You’re the one who’s in the “buying position” now. Ask a potential lending partner the same questions that your own buyers would ask of you. Do they offer an educational, advisory, and informative approach to financing a loan? Be wary of anything that appears to be too self-promotional as you are seeking a long-term business partnership.
Another way to meet automotive lenders is online. Start by browsing sites such as the National Automotive Finance Association, the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals, and the Vehicle Finance Division of the American Financial Services Association. This is a great way to contact lenders and keep abreast of the newest products and services coming out of the lending world—information that will be very useful in the sales process with your clients. Check out the “groups” function on LinkedIn and Facebook, “like” their related pages, and start contributing to discussions to make yourself known. It’s also a good idea to search for the top hashtags related to automotive lending on Twitter, and follow those lenders that might be a good fit for your dealership.
The most obvious advantage of striking up a good relationship with a lending partner is the ability to close sales with your potential customers. Working out what your customer can afford is crucial come closing time, and making it easy for customers to finance their wheels makes the process quicker and painless. Some lenders can also provide other key services to dealers:
Without a doubt, striking up a relationship with an automotive lender is the best way to ensure that the financing aspect of your sales process is in good hands. Be sure to select lenders that can and will help you identify new customers as well as existing ones who are back in the market. A seamless sales and financing process is just wise business for your dealership.