At the beginning of 2017, industry experts expected the powersports market to see growth. So far, that forecast has not panned out, with dealers reporting sales down in comparison to last year. In this soft market, it’s time to focus on maximizing every possible sale.
The good news is, more lenders have moved into the powersports space. With more financial offerings available, dealers will have more opportunity to finance as many deals as possible.
So, where should dealers focus their efforts in the coming months?
For the next half of 2017, dealers should focus their efforts on enhancing lender relations and increasing product penetration.
In order to finance as many deals as possible, dealers need strong lender relationships. While more lenders have entered the market, dealers must convince them that there is money to be made in powersports. One marker to evaluate is a dealership’s “Left on the Table” income – the percentage of deals that never happen. To improve the index, consider approaching the situation from a banker’s point of view.
Let’s start with down payments. Some lenders have begun to tighten their subprime lending requirements, requiring cash down payments. This is an opportunity for dealers to manage the customer’s expectation – before the sale goes off the rails. If you get a customer to the desk and they lack an understanding of current-day loan requirements, they are more likely to walk away from the deal once you show them the numbers.
Train your team to qualify customers early in the sales process. Before looking at that shiny new bike, ask how much the customer plans to put down towards their ride, their current job status, what they budget for a monthly payment, and how long they expect to keep the bike.
Remember, bankers are detail freaks. Your team should be prepared to gather all the information necessary to answer any question from a lender before the lender thinks to ask. Understand your lenders’ requirements. Schedule sit-down visits to discuss everything from look-to-book to contract stipulations. Get everything in writing so your team can reference the details at any time.
During this process, you will see trends in what your lenders are looking for when it comes to rates and stipulations. Use this information to create a rate matrix for your team to use as an easy-to-reference guide on determining which lender will approve any specific customer.
Whether you have a dedicated F&I team, or operate with a small staff working the entire process, it is possible to increase your product penetration by simply focusing on the basics – menu selling.
Menu selling has four basic components:
- Defined transition to F&I
- Obtaining signatures
- Risk discussion
- Benefit presentation
In the transition to F&I, your team has the opportunity to provide an overview of the finance process and set expectations for how long the process will take. This will help alleviate the trend of consumers watching the clock during this process.
Specifying a time for the signatures helps ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly. At this time, the dealership team member has the opportunity to verify that every document has been presented to the customer with appropriate signatures, file it accordingly, and ensure that all necessary documents are complete.
In the risk discussion, the team member provides an overview of any manufacturer warranties that come with the motorcycle, while highlighting all the components that lack protection. This will help build value for the F&I product presentation. If your dealership specializes in pre-owned motorcycles that are outside the manufacturer’s warranty, you can highlight the fact that the vehicle comes with no protection to begin the risk discussion.
During the benefit presentation, your team member highlights the F&I products offered, tying them in to the risk discussion and any other information gleaned from the customer during the sales process. Your team should be trained on dialogue selling and active listening, to take notice and remember cues provided by the consumer that can be used during the benefit presentation to build value, overcome objections, and ask for the sale.
After your team has gone over each product, they should present the menu as a clear way to disclose product offerings, and serve as a final closing tool. A good menu helps your team present the products effectively and compliantly, enabling the dealership team to dot all the “I’s” and cross all the “T’s”. Confirm pricing verbally, including the base vehicle payment and rate using the product menu. Then, re-affirm that the consumer can take delivery at the agreed-upon base payment. Next, they should provide an overview of each product discussed, making use of the menu to ensure consumers know the protection options available and the cost breakdown.
By taking these approaches to strengthen lender relationships and implementing a formal menu selling process, dealers have the opportunity to ensure maximum back-end profitability on every bike sold.
Glenice Wilder is the vice president of Powersports for EFG Companies. A 33-year industry veteran, Glenice is responsible for growing and developing EFG’s action and powersports market channel. She combines her passion for motorcycles and her dedication to serving EFG’s customers to develop solutions that consistently exceed their expectations. Glenice acts as a strategic partner to assess her clients’ areas for improvement and how EFG can fill that role. She provides insight in how to increase productivity by pairing the right products within the right markets for the greatest return on investment.