An uninsured customer walking through your doors is the first sign of a potential headache, and costly time-waster for dealerships.
It’s inefficient and frustrating to spend hours on the sales floor before moving customers into the finance and insurance stage, just to learn they aren’t insured or have a lapse in coverage.
If you’re familiar with a trustworthy insurance agent nearby or have a licensed agent office within your dealership—and if it’s within normal business hours—your sale could possibly be saved, assuming the agent can find coverage for your customer that day.
But that may require the customer to leave the dealership, and having a customer leave the lot is not an optimal situation. After visiting the referred local agent, uninsured customers may reconsider the purchase altogether once they learn how much the insurance premium will add to the monthly car payment.
Or, they may visit other dealerships to try their luck with someone else.
Instead, the smart way to handle uninsured customers is by taking care of them directly from the sales floor before the F&I process even begins. If your dealership is regularly visited by uninsured customers, you are likely in need of a strategy for handling these difficult-to-close prospects.
Rather than encouraging your customers to leave your business to obtain insurance, you may have more success by working with a national insurance agency that can quickly and remotely quote and sell a policy while the customer is at your desk, either over the phone or online.
Here are four important considerations when dealing with uninsured customers.
1. Not licensed? Don’t talk.
No one without a license should be speaking with customers about insurance. Instead, provide your customers with a kiosk or other device (such as a tablet) where they can access a comparative insurance-quoting platform, enter their information, and compare rates from multiple insurance companies.
Or, if it makes them more comfortable, have them call the agency directly and compare quotes with a licensed agent over the phone. To streamline the comparison process, innovative insurance agencies designed to partner with dealerships will have the ability to pre-populate their quoting platforms with information you have already collected about a customer and the vehicle.
2. Don’t let customers leave the lot
The last thing you want is for customers to leave your dealership feeling discouraged and unable to purchase their dream car because they could not find insurance coverage, or because they found a policy but hated the price.
Through a remote agency, your customers can be served at your dealership after regular business hours and on weekends, and in other languages if needed.
It’s important for customers to do their insurance shopping on the sales floor and not in the F&I office, which wastes valuable time you could use to sell products like warranties and extended service contracts. There are several ways to smoothly integrate insurance shopping without interrupting the sales process.
Place a tabletop kiosk on the desk while the salesperson goes to run numbers after negotiating the price. This way, customers can enter their information privately, making it a more comfortable experience for them and increasing your odds for a sale. Another option is to provide a private area where customers can contact an insurance agency call center to get their policy issued.
4. Keep the experience positive
Above everything else, do whatever it takes to maintain a positive customer experience. Uninsured customers are a combination of first-time buyers, people who have gone without a car for a period of time, or have less-than-perfect credit records.
Whatever their reasons for not having insurance, by creating a positive experience from sales to F&I, you will boost your customers’ confidence in your dealership—and stay a step ahead of the competition.
Tom Capp is a senior vice president of business development for Answer Financial, an insurance comparison platform and agency. Featured in A.M. Best’s Review, Insurance Networking News, and Auto Remarketing, Answer is one of the largest auto and home insurance agencies in the U.S. Answer has 20 years of experience helping its strategic partners build revenue-generating programs through a variety of phone, mobile, and digital implementations. Answer Financial is part of the Allstate family of companies.
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