by George Angus
We make almost all of our F&I income on finance deals. Right? Of course we do. When a customer goes somewhere else
to finance, we lose the opportunity to make our finance reserve, credit insurance, and many times, our service contract
Our goal has to be to have as many customers as possible finance at the dealership.
If we try to rely on captive finance, (those customers who intended to finance with the dealership when they bought the
vehicle), we will lose a large amount of potential profit. Our goal must be to convert as many of those outside finance
deals as possible.
The first ingredient to converting these customers is proper turnover. You must see these customers before they go to
their lending source. If you wait until they show up for delivery, with a check in their hand, you won’t have much chance of
changing their mind. If you are able to see every bank customer before they go to the bank, you will be able to convert
most of these customers.
The key to bank conversions is information. Period. For the most part, people are not loyal to their banks. If you can
meet, or certainly beat, the banks rates or terms, the customer will convert.
The question is: How do we get accurate information as to the bank terms and rates?
The most natural thing to do is ask the customer. This is also the wrong thing to do. If the customer does know the bank
rate they will probably give you a lower rate to see if you can match it. This is called lying. Or, if the customer has not
checked the bank rate we are forced into a rate discussion that allows the customer to become a rate shopper. We need
an effective way of getting this information quickly and in a way that will stop the customer from feeling a need to go rate
You need to deal with the rate question and satisfy the customer’s doubts as to your rate and terms.
The best way to get this information is through two publications that you can purchase. These publications are The
Roberts Report, 1-800-448-3767 and The Lenders Guide, (The Green Book),
1-800-992-6661. These publications come to you monthly, and give you all the information you need for every bank and
credit union in your area. The cost for this service is about $190 per year and is worth every penny.
The technique with these publications is simple. You simply ask for the lien holder information. When the customer gives
you the bank name, you explain that part of your job is to research the best rates and terms for your customers. You
then show the customer the rates and terms offered by their bank, using the book, and offer them equal or better rates
and terms with your lending source.
People are not loyal to their banks. If you can beat the banks rates or terms, they will convert.
This makes them captive finance buyers. You can now present the menu of options and let them choose the best option
for them. We have found this to be a very effective tool for F&I managers around the country.
The two publications have specific areas that they cover and you should call them both to find out which of them reports
in your area.
If you tell them that Team One recommended that you call, they will send your first sample issue free of charge.
Do yourself a favor and capture these bank buyers. They buy products at a higher rate than captive buyers and are an
important income source.
George Angus is with Team One Research and Training, a research and training company that specializes in scientific,
research based program development and training programs for the automobile industry. George has trained thousands
of F&I professionals and develops programs and techniques with the top performing F&I departments in the country.
Team One can be reached at 1-800-928-1923 or on the web at www.teamonegroup.com
This article is a recent example of George's reporting of information derived from
researching, training, and working with the leading F&I managers in the US and Canada.