I need an email address. What are the miles? Is the wife on the title to the trade-in? The insurance card is expired. Where’s the etch number? What color is the vehicle? Is there a PO Box I need to make sure is on all the paperwork? I could continue, but as you are probably standing over a trash can eating your lunch while reading this article–I’ll be brief: welcome to finance.
As a business manager, our job is protecting the dealership first and foremost. Secondarily, we must generate the revenue the store needs to operate and stay in business. We need to be efficient, accurate, personable, etc. One of the biggest challenges that business managers face is missing or fragmented information. In most cases this is not because the salesperson intentionally omits it from the checklist on the front cover sheet of the deal jacket. Neither is it because we haven’t trained them on the paperwork process.
In fact, this is probably the same issue with the same salesperson on almost every deal. The problem is, each salesperson has a different deficiency. One of them will do the whole deal correctly, expect he never remembers the in-service date. The other salesperson will do the whole deal correctly, except the miles are missing or wrong, every time. Collectively, every deal can be an ordeal.
The ‘Why Behind’ is not the concept of asking people to do the paperwork a certain way. Instead, you are educating them on not only what needs to be done, but why it matters–how it ultimately impacts the business. I know that the old school method is to not allow the salespeople to ‘camp out’ in finance. However, a lot of business managers are overly protective of their space and their offices. I would encourage you to invite the salesperson into your office for a variety of reasons.
First of all, they can genuinely help you better understand the guests you are about to work with by sharing information with you about what these folks are all about. The reality is, the salesperson just spent hours with two people who went back and forth and up and down–I want to hear from the salesperson what the issues are, what to be aware of, what they said, their demeanor–all the little nuances that you pick up during a sales process.
Moreover, I want the salesperson in my office with me–watching me–observing me as I break down and process a deal jacket. I want them to see me get ‘stuck’ on a screen in my DMS when it needs the etch number–and yet the etch number isn’t written down on the deal jacket where it is supposed to be. I want them to see me ready to hit print on the temporary permit–but I don’t have an invoice and no-one put a color in dealer socket so I can’t continue. I want them to see me stopped while submitting an online enrollment for OnStar because I don’t have a cell phone number or, better yet, an email address.
None of these issues are life-threatening. The deal will always ‘get done.’ These are the things that slow the deal down by forcing the salesperson to make endless trips back-and-forth from the business office to the customer or the car, gathering the details they should have already handled.
So instead of simply asking, telling, or yelling at your team to get you what you need–SHOW them why it matters, and what happens when you don’t have what you need when you need it. It’s a good thing once in a while to let a salesperson experience the pain of getting ‘run around,’ but it is time-consuming and frustrating to all involved. The best thing to do is to create a checklist–teach your process–and then hold people accountable.
When there is understanding behind the ‘why,’ it tends to become a habit.5