Scenario: A man visits a Midwest dealership looking for a cruiser class motorcycle. The salesperson asks about his favorite local places to ride and learns he is new to the area, having moved for his new job. The man has done his research, decided on a bike, and the bike is in stock. Continuing the sales process, he completes a credit application. The credit results are not good – nothing catastrophic, but the score is below the manufacturer requirements and alternate source minimums. The prospect is surprised at the news. He explains he has paid down balances incurred while he was unemployed and always had decent credit in the past. A co-signer is not available, as the customer is single and new to the area. His down payment is fixed, as he has incurred costs associated with the move. The prospect leaves the dealership embarrassed and disappointed.
What now: Every turned down credit application should be followed up on. This has never been more important or timely than right now. Weather it is the guy in the above example or the laid-off carpenter with the 475 score from last April, make the call. Why?
- An empathetic phone call goes a long way to lessen the sting of a bruised ego, reverse the embarrassment felt by the prospect after being rejected and remove the “I am not going back there again” mindset of the customer.
- -Personal economic situations are changing for the better. The odds are that this prospect is in a better position to make the purchase today than at any point in the last 24 months.
- If he is not in position to buy that new bike today, suggest a used alternative. He might have improved his financial picture but also adjusted his expectations and may be ready to act now.
- If not ready now, he will be ready at some point, aided by our improving economic picture, and the likelihood of him looking to you at purchase time has improved greatly.
What was learned? A little empathy goes a long way, especially when dealing with issues as sensitive and personal as our egos, finances and passions. The changing economic times provide an opportunity for those in the industry willing to make the effort.
Most observers agree that we are near or at the bottom of this extended recession. As evidenced by the most recent Federal Jobs Report, people who are employed are more likely to keep their jobs. Meanwhile, the market for the unemployed is starting to improve.
The point is right now is the time to take advantage of this situation. Remember it wasn’t the passion for powersports that was reduced during the recession, just customers’ abilities to satisfy it.
The stack of “turn downs” is full of improving financial stories and could hold the key to improving your dealership’s sales story in the year ahead.