May '21

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56 • RV PRO • May 2021 rv-pro.com rials in the customer lounge, a stamp at the cashier location to be used on customer pay invoices, and "Water Closet" advertising.) Water closet advertising has been around for years. During my travels, I find many hotels, and higher-end restaurants use the back of the toilet stall doors in the restrooms as advertising space. A nice picture and a tasteful print posted in a clear acrylic frame provides a few minutes of uninterrupted viewing when the customer is in a sitting position, taking care of business, as they say. Perhaps, you can change out the picture and the focus of the advertising each month. For example, one month the focus is service agreements, another month it is protective coatings, still another month is winterizations, yet another month is roadside assistance, etc., etc. You get the idea. The point is to highlight a different department each month. Getting the Word Out When planning out a follow-up plan, the key is for the finance department to send information on the ancillary products prior to delivery. It is essential that the finance department does its best to create a line of sight with the customer in either a real or virtual space when following up on the sent-out material. As with any sales process, you need to relate the ancillary prod- ucts to the customer's individual needs. The key to any sale is conducting a proper customer interview, identifying the customer needs, and presenting your ancillary products as solutions to the customer needs. With the increase in remote customers, the finance department must conduct the interview via telephone or perhaps using Zoom or a GoToMeeting platform. The internet provides an opportunity to share videos with the customer about the ancillary products. If the manager cannot share the videos in real time, perhaps a link to the YouTube videos can be sent ahead of time to customers to view at their convenience. Today's customer wants to know the monthly payments choices ahead of time. Fortunately, many dealers have a menu platform allowing to change the menu on the fly and share the document with the customer in real time. Presenting the protections ahead of delivery does not diminish the need for the finance professional to review the coverages and make a second attempt at closing the sale at the financial delivery. Full disclosure is imperative. The customer has the right to know what they choose to purchase and what they choose to decline. It's important for the finance professional to realize that a "no" from the customer today does not mean never. It only means not today, perhaps because the timing is not right, or the money is not right, maybe the value has not been realized, or the need has not been agreed to by both parties. Follow-up is essential to the dealership's bottom line, the cus- tomer's peace of mind, and the financial rewards of the finance professional. The customer's circumstances will most likely change, as nothing remains the same for long. Follow-up is providing the customer a way to change their mind about your ancillary products. Notably, it may require providing the customer with a different method of pay- ment. As we all know, after the contract has been cashed by the lender, the oppor- tunity for adding this additional purchase to the contract has expired. So, think of what other options are at your disposal. Options could include a zero-interest plan, either by your vendor company or by an independent finance resource. There is always the option of a credit card purchase for the ancillary products. The customer may have had enough time to pay down their credit card debt. And, the customer may have an income tax refund coming in the near future. It's important to state that terms matter. If nine months has expired since the customer purchased their RV, why chat about a five-year plan with the customer? Perhaps a four-year plan is a better financial fit for the customer. Maybe even a three-year plan. Most people are only are interested in purchasing protection for the period of their projected ownership. The more you know about the customer and their RVing habits, the better equipped you are to customize a plan that meets their needs. Let Them Hear from You Here is something else to consider: The importance of having the follow-up notes and a letter signed by different people at the dealership. Different people relaying a message that these ancillary products are important from many different points of view can be helpful in communicating their value to customers. For example, the first follow-up note could be signed by the customer retention manager (CRM). The second note could be signed by the sales business manager (F&I). The third one could be signed by the service manager while providing the hours of service and some reviews from those who have used a service agreement. The next one could be signed by the general manager or owner, letting the customers know that the ancillary products are the tools that the customer has to allow the dealership to make the needs repairs without hurting the customer's monthly budget. These notes and letters can be sent out via snail mail or email. The best business practice is to obtain a signed permission state- ment from the customer at the time of closing as to the customer's preferred method of contact. I have been told recently that people like getting snail mail that is not a bill. Perhaps that is true. Still other customers likely prefer receiving emails. The point is for your follow-up efforts to cover all the various avenues of communication, and to follow up written correspon- dence with a telephone call for best results. "Follow-up (regarding F&I) is essential to the dealership's bottom line, the customer's peace of mind, and the financial rewards of the finance professional. …Follow-up is providing the customer a way to change their mind about your ancillary products."

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