April '19

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58 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 M any times when working with a dealership, it's vital to know not only what you are selling, but also who you are selling it to. If it is a product that you are trying to get preloaded onto a showroom vehicle, perhaps you should be working with the new car manager or the general manager. But, if it is a reconditioning product, then you may need to work with the used car manager or the service manager. Sometimes, however, dealerships are proactive enough to have an accessory manager who you should definitely spend time talking to so that you can not only gain some sales, but also have a point of contact at the dealership for all of your products. SOMETHING MORE An accessory manager, sometimes referred to as a customer relations manager, is usually the person the consumer talks to right after they are done negotiating the deal with the salesperson, but before they meet with the finance man- ager to do the paperwork. For many dealerships this position is important because it not only breaks up the dead time waiting for the financial paperwork, but also allows the dealership to discuss possible add-on sales for customers to customize their new vehicles. Usually if this is left to the F&I office, the finance manager won't spend (or want to spend) the time or effort talking about accessories that they aren't familiar with or can't make much money on. They already have enough on their plate trying to sell the customer other products such as service contracts, warranties and insurance items. Thus, having an accessory manager makes sense, because they can introduce the buyer to possible add-ons or options before the customer talks to finance. What better time is there to talk about upgrades than when the customer is the most excited, emotionally driven, and can simply add them to their payment versus having to pay out-of-pocket in a few weeks? Many dealerships nationwide have some variation of an accessory manager. Typi- cally, the one- or two-person department focuses on selling the products more than scheduling or even installing them. The sales portion has the highest profit margin, so that should be the first focus of any dealer starting a similar program. WORKING FOR YOU The accessory sales process can take from five to 20 minutes of discussion and then finalization of any purchase before the cus- tomer goes to the F&I office. A great thing for dealerships is that these add-ons are what are called hard adds, which means they are actual products that are integrated into the front end of the car deal and are non-cancellable by the customer. By comparison, the insurance, contracts and warranties that are sold at the back end of the deal by the finance manager are usually cancellable by the consumer. This guarantees the dealership makes money, even if a consumer has buyer's remorse a few days later. In my experience, accessory managers have been particularly effective selling paint protection chemicals, remote starters, window tint, heated seats and basic truck accessories, to name a few. As the provider and/or installer of these add-on accessories, Accessory managers can be an important point of contact at local dealer- ships, helping introduce your products to car buyers. Who Are You Working With? If your dealerships have an accessory manager, that's the place to start. By Josh Poulson

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