Everybody is Your Friend, You Just Haven't Met Them Yet
I was leaving my building in downtown Denver, heading to the dealership in Boulder this morning and I was thinking to myself how grateful I am to have the most wonderful circle of influence that I have in my life. Not just because of the people who had mentored me over the years, but also for the people I had found over my career who cared about me when they didn't have to.
In this business, I have discovered that we don't simply sell cars and complete the necessary paperwork. We end up being three things: a detective, a psychologist, and a babysitter. Our main priority, above all else though, is to protect the dealership. Our second goal is to serve the guest and maximize profitability. So how do we do this when we are working with total strangers, as opposed to the repeat and referral deals? Smiling.
Live for the smile of the day! Put your guests at the heart of your business and constantly strive to scratch their record by injecting a touchpoint and creating a moment. Your ultimate goal should be to have your guests leave your dealership and share the word about your world-class service and come back as customers for life.
We want to cement our customers to us. That's why we sell prepaid maintenance and service contracts. We want to create the exceptional experience our guests deserve. The best way to do this is to start becoming the most positive person in the dealership – make your daily goal to infuse excitement into every deal you can. If you have a genuine passion when you work with people, they will be able to tell. Authenticity is key! Successful business managers know that they have to have readiness & integrity to get the job done correctly beyond the passion.
Have you ever noticed that some people always seem to be "lucky" and other people always seem to "be on the struggle bus"? It's not by accident, usually. Over the last eighteen years in this business, I had realized that when I was a rookie in F&I, I would become easily upset about a deal that didn't go my way. I felt it was my god-given right to sell every one I met something. I've learned that the less pressure I put on myself to sell something, the more people buy from me. I find it is much better to have fun with the process and transfer that energy and enthusiasm over to the customer. When a customer is having fun with you in your office and enjoying "the process," the amount of time you spend with them diminishes in their eyes. The old saying, "time flies when you're having fun," is so true.
Becoming a connector of people is how we make a living in this business. The first dealer I worked for used to always say, "go meet the people." Make friends with everyone you meet. The truth is, everywhere you go, you will meet and encounter people. Why not make sure that everyone you come in to contact with gets connected to you. Meaning you tell them who you are, where you work, and what you do.
Following this simple step, which does take effort, will lead to you building your circle of influence much more rapidly and much bigger than you could imagine. I can't tell you the number of people who started as total strangers walking into my office, walked out, gave hugs, exchanged cell phone numbers, and became Facebook friends. The best part about what we do is the relationships we make.
The real finesse in F&I is managing your relationships. Not only with the customers but with the salespeople, the lenders, and everyone you come into contact with. If you can master your ability to connect with others somehow, you will master this profession just as surely. Every deal is an opportunity to make a friend.