Planting the Seeds of Opportunity

Often a customer will be shopping for a new vehicle, and their available resources and current credit standing is not sufficient to obtain an approval from the lender for the needed terms, but the lender will approve a lesser amount, than originally requested.

The astute sales associate will evaluate the approval, plus the current customer resources and match that up with the used inventory to see if there is a match. While you may have the right inventory to secure the lender approval, the customer might be leery of purchasing a previously owned vehicle.

Customers are often fearful of undetected repairs that could be needed in the near future. The thought of making a car payment and paying for an unexpected repair bill is often an unspoken deal breaker. I call this the fear of the unknown.

What can a dealership do to plant seeds that will grow additional sales? One idea is placing hang tags in the used inventory or posting a notice that tells the potential buyers that “This vehicle qualifies for a____yr/____Mile service agreement. See our business manager for details.”

I hear from some dealerships that the notices fade in the sun. Yes, they do and if that does occur someone should replace them. Others will tell me that the hangtags are removed on the demo ride. My reply is as they should be for driving safety. Should the vehicle not be the one the customer commits to purchase the sales associate should be the one who reposts the tag when the vehicle is placed back on the lot. While these may seem like easy things to do, they are often overlooked and the customer ends up walking away from the sale due to an unspoken fear.

In this market, we simply need to do everything possible to instill confidence in the dealership and in the products. Planting seeds for the protection packages and making full disclosures about the availability and the price is a value added service to assist the customer in a buying decision.

The mere fact that the customer can secure additional protection should eliminate some of the anxiety over considering a previously owned vehicle. The key is to plant seeds for opportunities, not open the door for a cost of sale item. Mechanical protection is an insurance related item and as such always cost extra.

Jan Kelly is the president of Kelly Enterprises. She is an educator, consultant, convention speaker, and writes frequently for industry publications. For information about educational venues or joining an F&I 20 group, call 800-336-4275 or visit

Jan Kelly


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