The Forgotten Side of Sales Training

Selling cars today can be complex. It requires a unique personality, different skill-set, and continuous training. With new requirements and various facets of training tools available to F&I and sales personnel, there is often a forgotten training area: the Deal Jacket.


Deal Jackets are the compilation of the work in selling vehicles and the final product of the sales transaction. Consider numerous forms, disclosure regulations, red flags rule, requirements by federal, state, and the dealership, it can be overwhelming. Deal Jackets are also required by the manufacturers, specifying what should be retained, at a minimum.


Here’s where it gets side-tracked. Sales personnel are not accountants or detailed-oriented. Often the title clerk, biller, or business office try to figure-out details, organize paperwork, and complete forms, but in many cases, they have to return the deal to F&I or sales for corrections or completion. So sales training is critical on content and detailing. I call it the three Ds of a sales transaction—Details, Disclosure, and Documentation. From ‘desking’ to F&I, it is important that each transaction be clear and acknowledged by customers’ signatures.


Here are several essential items that are frequently missing in deal jackets:


1.Checklist (new and used vehicles). It’s the foundation of a deal jacket. When properly used, it details what is missing or needs to be completed. Management should rely in it before approving any deal. Without it, you’re opening yourself up to chaos and increased risks.


2.Incentives, vin look-up search/configurator, screen print-out. Using it ensures: (a) saving time determining available incentives at point-of-sale, (b) less mistakes in passing incentives that are not eligible, therefore not losing money, (c) competitiveness in not losing a deal to surrounding dealerships by offering all the same incentives to customers, (d) guarantee payment if there are issues with manufacturers’ system.


3.Worksheet forwalking’ and disclosing the sell price plus add-on equipment/accessories, discounts, negative equity, trade allowance, purchased services/products, trade/transportation fees, etc. It’s a supplemental document to the buyer’s order and must also be acknowledged and signed by customers and management. Scratch sheets and scribbled pieces of paper do not count as full and proper disclosure.


4.Required documentation for specific incentives programs—loyalty, conquest, military, college grads, targeted lease/pull-aheads, memberships/associations proof, and employee discount programs. They must be obtained from customers at point-of-sale, verified and photocopied.


5.Line-item on buyer’s order for incentives. Clear disclosure that all customer incentives are passed to customers as required; otherwise, they will be debited.


6.Not knowing the 8300 cash reporting rules. Never structure cash deals to avoid reporting requirements and forms. Minimum fines are $25,000; offenses considered a federal crime. There are NADA CDs available for dealership training.


7. Not knowing OEM’s required deal jacket content. Any missing could create a debit to the dealer. Refer to their incentives manual or sales policy procedures for the full list. Some have different requirements; for example, Mazda requires the delivery checklist (signed by customers) and bill of lading.


So make sure your sales staff is fully trained. Regular compliance reviews of deal jackets are also highly recommended. Implementing these items will reduce your risk, increase staff efficiency, protect your bottom-line, and avoid unnecessary charge-backs.


Sherralyn Peterson is an automotive incentive specialist, with 30 years of automotive experience helping dealerships prepare for audits, conducts compliance reviews, performs staff training, and resolves incentive issues. For more information, call 312-310-8380, email, or visit





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