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PRO Insights2019-03-11T18:19:23+00:00

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Star Wars Lessons Worth Applying to Your Finance & Insurance Department 

 

 

The chronicles of a galaxy far, far away are filled with nuggets of implementation worthy wisdom.   
  
There are plenty of reasons why most of you like Star Wars. Laser guns, spaceships, secret organizations, alien races, cosmic battles make it so captivating. But Star Wars brings so much more to the table. The many plots and the unforgettable characters in the saga continue to teach lessons worth applying. Be it Luke, a farm boy who rose to become one of the greatest Jedi of the galaxy, or the feisty, capable leader Princess Leia, most of you will come to relate to a Star Wars character in some capacity.  
  
As you closely observe characters, you will find a lot to take away and apply in your F&I (finance & insurance) department for good. Though the movie characters are not real, you can glean the following real lessons from the epic saga.   

  1. A Good Crew is Everything:
     
    The Ghost’s crew in the animated show Star Wars Rebels have all come from vastly different walks of life, but they have become a tight-knit crew and found a family through their missions to fight the Empire.
        
    Your takeaway: 
        
    As the manager or director, ensure that you have a solid team to help you attain your mission. An efficient team has the right people in the right role. Additionally, find ways to engage, motivate, and develop your staff. Engaged employees are more likely to remain employed with their organization over a more extended period. Your department will perform better when you set new goals and do what is required to give staff every opportunity to succeed.
  2. Realize others see the world differently than  you  do:  
         
    Obi-Wan said, ”Luke, you are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
    A customer may have different needs and requirements than what  you  perceive. Asking questions to understand customers’  needs will help clear out  your assumptions and  better  serve them.
          
    Your takeaway:  
          
    Every consumer has a unique need. Assuming what your customer wants based on  previous  experience can drive your customer away. Empathy and listening skills  impact  the level of trust a buyer has in the sales person.  Furthermore, empathy plays a significant role in a customer’s overall experience,  thus influencing the  CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index)  and loyalty.  Custom finance and insurance products serve the customers’  needs and further enhance their ownership experience.
          
    Why  identifying  customers’  needs matter?  
         
    If  you  are indifferent to the customers’ needs, they will take their business elsewhere.
    Often,  customers get puzzled with the options they get. As an effective manager,  you need to ask  the right questions to help  the  customer discover their needs and  offer products that would be valuable to them.
    Identifying  the  customers’  needs  correctly would allow  you  to cross-sell  products that would further enhance customers’  overall experience.   
  3. Embrace the traits that make you stand apart.  
      
    Chancellor Palpatine was granted emergency powers to use the newly discovered clones in the fight against the Separatists, launching the Clone Wars. No matter if you are like other dealers that offer identical products, your commitment to serve your customers better is the power that will set you apart from your competitors.
      
    Your takeaway:  
        
    Expand your F&I portfolio and offer custom packages to build a value proposition. For example, create a customized and exclusive bundle of F&I products and value-add offerings that will grow sales  and tie  your customers to your dealership.  That would significantly boost the prospects of making a second sale.
  4. Keep  your mind open to new possibilities:  
      
    Ezra Bridger, the apprentice of Jarrus, kept his mind open to new possibilities and continued his efforts to become a Jedi despite his struggles.
        
    Your Takeaway:  
        
    Some dealerships are unknowingly operating in a way that can have them running afoul of regulatory and compliance guidelines.  Efficient, recurrent training can help your team remain current and keep you compliant.
       
    Why  upgrading  your compliance knowledge matter?  
    • The F&I department manages a range of responsibilities and needs to safeguard the dealership by meeting specific requirements such as identity fraud, the right ways to run consumers’ credit checks.   
    • Updating  your compliance knowledge is critical to keep  you  aware  of  the new  laws  and  regulations.  For  instance,  when  auto dealers were held accountable  for  illegal,  discriminatory markups,  the  policies were revised  and tightened  as a result. Therefore,  being open to regular training  will keep  you  updated on  compliance  revisions.   
    • Furthermore, with proper compliance training,  your sales team will enter the field with more confidence resulting in more efficiency and success.  
  5. Our thoughts and actions  impact  our future.  
       
    Focus is a core belief of the Jedi training. This statement is more than Obi-Wan waxing all yogi ”be here now,”
       
    Your takeaway:  
         
    Making customer service your core focus will help you stand out from your competitors. A customer-friendly focus will not only help you retain your customers but will also improve your Customer Satisfaction Index.
         
    Why is it important to focus on customer satisfaction?  
         
    Having the right basket of products that speak to the customer-driven demands combined with an informational, transparent approach to product presentation works to both increase sales and reduce cancellations.  Bundling value add products into customer-driven packages turns into more sales, fewer discounts, and most importantly, happy, retained customers.

How many times have you said to yourself, I want to close the deal faster?

Get ready to discover practical techniques and tips to close more sales faster.

close sales faster

You may or may not have heard about the paradox of choice, but, as a salesperson, you experience it every day. Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, argues that when somebody is presented with a plethora of choices, it leads to two main issues:

Analysis paralysis: rather than making any choice, they (customers) choose to do nothing.

Dissatisfaction: if the customer did choose, they are left wondering whether the other options might have been better.

Imagine when you go to a grocery store and find 26 different varieties of chips, you are subconsciously drawn to a greater choice, but you may ultimately get confused. This is what is known as decision fatigue. There are hundreds of things that must be decided on a daily basis, and the human capacity to consistently make well-thought-out decisions is limited.

Have you noticed why many successful people wear the same outfit every day? Steve Jobs was known for his visionary leadership, innovation, and unvarying signature look. He always dressed the same–a black turtleneck with blue jeans and New Balance sneakers to save his brainpower.

Every decision your customers make uses up mental energy. That means the more decisions your customers are asked to make, the longer and weaker their decision-making process will become. The choice paradox very often materializes in your F&I department when your customers get overwhelmed with the number of choices. It influences the time they take in decision-making.

You have to offer all the products to every customer each time. Consequently, the choice overload drastically increases the time to close the deals. Furthermore, your customer already spends a considerable amount of time deciding on the car type, model, color, engine power, etc.

In that case, you are left with their limited time, attention, and decision capacity to select F&I products. You, as a salesperson, certainly do not want your customers to encounter analysis paralysis. Therefore, here are some valuable techniques and tips that would enable you to be efficient and faster in closing deals.

Have you noticed why many successful people wear the same outfit every day? Steve Jobs was known for his visionary leadership, innovation, and unvarying signature look. He always dressed the same–a black turtleneck with blue jeans and New Balance sneakers to save his brainpower.

Every decision your customers make uses up mental energy. That means the more decisions your customers are asked to make, the longer and weaker their decision-making process will become. The choice paradox very often materializes in your F&I department when your customers get overwhelmed with the number of choices. It influences the time they take in decision-making.

You have to offer all the products to every customer each time. Consequently, the choice overload drastically increases the time to close the deals. Furthermore, your customer already spends a considerable amount of time deciding on the car type, model, color, engine power, etc.

In that case, you are left with their limited time, attention, and decision capacity to select F&I products. You, as a salesperson, certainly do not want your customers to encounter analysis paralysis. Therefore, here are some valuable techniques and tips that would enable you to be efficient and faster in closing deals.

  1. Have adequate knowledge of your products:
     
    The more information you have about your products, the more confident you will be about offering them to your customers. A thorough understanding of products will allow you to be more enthusiastic when interacting with customers and explain to the buyers in ways that will appeal to them. This will build trust and let the consumer understand the decisions they are making, and hence you can close deals faster.
     
    Additionally, product knowledge helps you to explain the value of your products and manage objections effectively.
  2. The choice close:
     
    The choice close is a sales closing method where you give your potential customer two or more choices as a call to action. For instance, if a customer asks about the product’s price, provide the information, and reclose with a course of action- when does your house payment comes due? Would you want your product payment to come payable with your house payment or more towards the middle of the month? Here, the buyer is induced to decide on two administrative options rather than on a significant purchase.
     
    When a consumer asks a question, your knowledge about the product will give you the confidence to satisfy their interest. However, many managers often answer the questions and leave the customers hanging. To close the deal faster, you must respond with the necessary information followed by choice close.
  3. Telling is not selling:
     
    F&I managers talk about their products, give all the information they can, but do not ask many questions to the consumers. Asking questions will lead your customer to discover the need for the product and build value in products. Thus, letting you close the deal faster.
  4. Understand your customers:
     
    In the eagerness of selling your products, do not forget to understand what your customer really needs. Active listening will help you assess how your products can solve your consumers’ needs and improve their lives.
     
    Listen actively to connect better with your consumers. If a consumer sense that you are explaining off a script, they would take long or, even worse, might not be convinced. Showing empathy will help you close the deal faster.
  5. Simplify your sales process:
     
    The sales process should not take hours and hours of your customer’s time. If you streamline your sales process, you will save time and close more deals. If it is easy and faster, the customer will comprehend it better and make decisions in your favor.
     
    Cut the repetitive talks and tasks to shorten the sales cycle. You could take the benefits of work automation tools and systems to save time, be more productive, and close sooner.

Helping your customers make decisions-faster is critical for your role. If you can hone these techniques, you would close more deals and become more successful in your job.

The modern economy increasingly revolves around human attention. Attention is a resource—a consumer has only so much of it. Reassessing your methods is critical in the attention economy because the choices you offer demand attention and decision-making.

We have been helping the auto industry workforce to boost potential and grow productivity for over thirty years. Get in touch with us today to help you assess your processes and people and increase your profitability.

Case Study 4

A consultative approach transformed the efficiency of a multi rooftop dealership’s F&I department and raised the profits in the long run by over 300%.

Explore how PRO Consulting Team leveraged its expertise to cultivate a competitive work environment by assessing people and processes.

Overview:

A multi rooftop franchise dealership in the Pacific Northwest aspired to attain above-average PVR profit. The PRO team analyzed its people, processes, and operations to make an incremental growth in the profit. The importance of the F&I department escalated more as the economic market conditions drastically impacted profits. However, we determined that the F&I department had many advantages to grow revenue relative to other dealership departments. Leveraging our decades of industry experience, we began to transform the culture of the F&I department and thus its effectiveness. We assessed employees’ competence and personality to identify the best fit for the role and provided thorough training to cultivate a high-achieving environment. Additionally, we developed a strategic compensation plan that enhanced motivation and rewarded higher production of product sales. As a result, the PVR profit increased drastically in the long run by over 300%.

The Challenge:

  • The retail sales volume declined significantly by about 50% due to the economic market conditions, reducing both sales and F&I revenue.
  • Prevailing F&I manager mindset at the F&I department displayed low confidence and resisted changes needed to increase F&I profits.
  • Market stresses and a negative mindset impacted employees’ performance.

The Solution: 

With our years of experience in the automotive industry, we systematically assessed employees’ personalities and potential to place them in the right roles. A mandatory comprehensive training drastically raised efficiency. A strategic compensation plan stimulated a competitive work culture and expanded employees’ commitment to the changes in the F&I department.

The Result: 

  • Due to the transformation of the F&I department, the dealership exceeded its goal of growing PRV profits.
  • A high increase in employees’ motivation raised productivity level, and the profitability of the F&I department doubled in the next year.

Additional Results:

The transformation resulted in creating a positive work culture that benefited both the employees and the dealership in several ways, such as employee retention and increased productivity. Consequently, the F&I department contributed considerably to the dealership’s overall profits and continues to positively affect the auto group’s entire sales culture, especially in uncertain times.

Cultivated a high-achieving
environment

Grew PVR profit in the long run by over 300%

Raised employees’ productivity through a strategic compensation plan

Case Study 3

A comprehensive training program increased customer satisfaction and finance profitability by about 20%

Explore how PRO Consulting Team leveraged its expertise to help a dealership achieve growth by raising employee’s efficiency

Overview:

A dealership hired a new employee with proven track record for their F&I department. With his own way of processing deals and selling products, the employee underperformed relative to store averages, which greatly impacted the dealership’s profitability and uncovered the need for an update on training and process. Accessing the right training for all professionals, including management and not just the finance manager, can make a difference between an average employee or an above-average team. The PRO Team’s expertise rapidly discovered the barriers causing the staff to underperform and provided comprehensive training through role-plays and reverse role plays. It significantly raised the employee’s performance and grew finance profitability by about 20%.

The Challenge:

  • Recovering and refining the skillset so that the manager finds it useful and employs them to grow sales
  • The manager knew the process but faced difficulty delivering in a way that harmonizes with the time pressure he faced.
  • Aligning the best strategy for each customer— applying a step selling approach when a menu or package selling approach could have been better.

The Solution: 

With our decades of experience, we quickly uncovered the employee’s level of knowledge, how well he could reproduce it while selling products, and the impediments causing him to underperform.
PRO Team created role-play scenarios to the most realistic extent possible and then reversed roles to ascertain strategic approaches and tactical differences. That led to the refinement of the employee’s skills and improved process delivery to be most receptive to customers.

The Result: 

  • The training helped the employee perform better and that raised finance profitability by 10% to 20%.
  • As a result of our expert evaluation process and training, the employee increased the customer satisfaction index (CSI) and helped the dealership stand tall in the competition.
  • The training also resulted in less friction in the F&I department which led to a better customer experience.

Additional Results:

Communication is the backbone of sales management. Through the training, the employee learned clear and effective communication methods. Consequently, he could easily qualify the customer’s concerns, making the transactions easy for both parties.

About 20% increase in finance profitability

Improved Customer Satisfaction Index

Reduced friction in F&I department

Case Study 2

A custom reinsurance model increased profit in new ways and enabled a dealership to expand to multiple locations.

Explore how PRO Consulting Team leveraged its expertise to help a dealership create additional revenue opportunities.

Overview:

A multi-franchise dealership had a very basic reinsurance position and could only reinsure one product–service contracts. It was limited and not very profitable because the insurance administrator controlled it. PRO team identified a flexible administrator to help the dealer customize products that would build a unique value proposition and increase profit. Our expertise helped create additional profit opportunities by offering more products for the consumers. As a result, the dealership was able to access a substantial amount of insurance reserves and expand the organization and purchase additional franchises.

The Challenge:

  • The dealer wanted to find a way to expand the reinsurance portfolio and reinsure that into a company to realize the underwriting profits.
  • Additionally, the dealer wanted to have reasonable access to the funds for further investment and growth.

The Solution:

We leveraged our industry experience and diligently evaluated various insurance administrators and product offerings to help the dealer find a suitable insurance administrator. The new administrator allowed reasonable customization of products and create a bundle of reinsurance products.

The Result:

PRO team’s expertise helped the dealer get a customized reinsurance program. As a result, the dealer could offer multiple products for sale to the consumer. That created a unique value proposition and additional profit opportunities at the point of purchase.

Each of those products had insurance reserves available that the insurance company could cede into the reinsurance company. Furthermore, the dealership gained access to funds to procure more dealerships.

Additional Benefits:

Due to the accessibility to reinsurance reserve funds, the dealership attained infrastructure growth and expanded it to new locations in multiple states.

Case Study 1

Transformed a stand-alone import dealership by identifying new profit opportunities and customizing product mix

Explore how PRO Consulting Team leveraged its expertise to help a dealership grow F&I profits by 9% per car and over 90% increase in service retention.

Overview:

A stand-alone import dealership needed a better strategy to increase F&I profit, retain customers and make a second sale. To accomplish this, the PRO consulting team conducted a thorough product assessment and fashioned a unique profit opportunity in the form of a customized pre-paid maintenance program. It increased the F&I revenue and service retention drastically and doubled the prospects of selling more cars.

The Challenge:

The challenge was twofold.

  • First, the dealership struggled to identify opportunities to make a profit in the F&I department that impacted the dealership’s overall profitability.
  • Second, they needed a strategy to retain customers and make a second sale.

A typical approach of selling products for high price was not well received by the customers. Therefore, to grow profit, the dealership needed to focus on selling customized products that served the customers’ needs.

The Solution: 

We leveraged our industry experience to quickly identify that the dealership required a customer-centric approach and offer products that customers needed.
We customized a pre-paid maintenance program that would provide discounted maintenance coverage to the customers. We also added glass and key coverage as a benefits package for the customers to further enhance their overall ownership experience. The process involved a series of training sessions for the dealership staff to sell the products that would add value to both the customers and the sales personnel.

The Result: 

The customized maintenance program and the PRO team’s expertise helped the dealership create a profit center in the finance department and grow profits by 9% per vehicle retailed. It substantially contributed to the overall revenue of the dealership.
The sales department experienced a significant increase in the service retention of over 90%.
Additionally, the pre-paid plan tied the customers to the dealership that opened the door to more revenue opportunities and doubled the possibility of making a second sale.

Additional Benefits:
The customized maintenance program strategy was highly successful as nine out of ten customers returned to the dealership multiple times to use the maintenance plan. Furthermore, it provided more opportunities to engage with the customers, generate more referrals, and considerably reduced the cost of acquiring new customers.

9% increase
in F&I Profit PVR

90% increase
in Service Retention

Doubled the prospects
of Making a Second Sale

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