Buying a car is a major financial investment. As we know, many buyers come to the dealership “ready to battle”. Homework is done, they know what they want, they know what they are willing pay and have a pretty good sense of what their credit score is. However, not everyone is so prepared. The process is overwhelming, frustrating and confusing.
For this audience, I advise to take this as an opportunity to ease the anxiety and create an experience that is stress-free, encouraging and hopefully ends with sending them home in a new set of wheels. Leverage the credit and financial attributes that you have at your disposal to offer a more consultative approach. This method will help you provide better service, understand their buying power and can help you present your best inventory options to suit their needs and wants.
Once introductions are completed, and you’ve followed your initial sales process of swiping the driver’s license to create a CRM entry, take this opportunity to run a soft credit report that will give you a starting point on how you drive the conversation and possible vehicle options. As you know, a soft credit report does not have a negative impact on a person’s credit score – no social security or birth dates are required to access this information. Information provided will include credit score, payment history, debt management, and any potential derogatory marks against their financial history.
Once armed with this information, take the time to do some investigative questioning that will help you filter through your inventory options for consideration. Even if your customer isn’t fully prepared as others are, they do have a type of purchase in mind, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Use their credit information and your needs assessment to steer the conversation that is both favorable to the customer and the dealership.
Finally, don’t assume they understand the pros and cons between a New or Used purchase. Take the time to highlight their options – as they will find it helpful and considerate on your part. Understanding the benefits of each option may enlighten them that can receive more value and benefits with a used purchase opposed to an entry-level new one. Areas to consult include:
- Value and Depreciation
- Cons – A new car’s value can depreciate by as much as 30% as soon as you take it home; and by as much as 50% in three years.
- Pros – With care and maintenance, used cars can increase in value.
- Safety and Insurance
- Cons – New cars have higher insurance premiums than older vehicles.
- Pros – Good driving and credit records can help reduce insurance payments.
- Monthly Costs
- Cons – Repairs may be needed sooner, unless it’s a certified pre-owned car.
- Pros – Free maintenance may be available following the first few years after purchase.
- Down Payment
- Cons – Poor credit may require a down payment that is unaffordable for a new car.
- Pros – With good credit you may be able to purchase a new car with no money down.
No matter what the end purchase is, if you take the time to learn what your customers’ needs and aspirations regarding their purchase; you can present yourself and the dealership as a trusted resource who is eager to help them make their dreams come true. Sounds simple I know, but never underestimate the WOW factor and what a little extra care can do to your customer loyalty and retention efforts.
 TransUnion Infographic: Comparing Car Costs: Buying New vs. Buying Used?