Sales tactics and customer communication took center stage during a rotating workshops Thursday at the Used Truck Association (UTA) Convention in San Antonio.
With sessions addressing future vehicle technologies, upcoming emission regulations, financing and selling used truck warranties, convention attendees had no shortage of opportunities to learn.
The financing and warranty session featured three experts on both topics and offered used dealers in attendance guidance on how to address each with customers during used truck transactions.
Thursday’s experts said one of the biggest missteps they see dealers make when discussing financing is failing to discuss the topic until the closing stages of a sale.
Unless a customer is paying cash financing will always be necessary so dealers should not shy away from the topic when a customer expresses interest in vehicles. The panelists — Ian Sifuentes of Mission Financial Services Group Corporation; Tyler Rowland at McKenzie Credit Group; and Brian Poole, CAG Truck Capital — said asking a customer about their financing plans early in a conversation enable a salesperson to direct the rest of the conversation more intelligently.
This is especially true with new customers who are unknown, or customers that lack the ability to make a large down payment. While not every new customer is a credit risk, customers without a purchase history are likely to require more assistance to get into a truck. The panelists say the earlier dealers know that the better.
Service contracts — not warranties, which legally can only be sold by OEMs said Craig O’Hare with National Truck Protection/Premium 2000 — also deserve an earlier focus in most sales conversations, Thursday’s panelists argued.
O’Hare and Rick VanHove of TruNorth Global and A.J. Johnson at Truck Master Warranty said far too often used truck dealers will wait until they’ve closed a truck sale to pitch a service contract. The trio said this tactic is faulty because it doesn’t include the cost of the contract into the customer’s purchase. The trio said if a customer has a set budget for a truck purchase and uses that entire budget on the vehicle, they may lack the ability to add on a service contract even if they initially wanted one.
The panelists said dealers should ask questions about how a prospect intends to use and maintain a truck during initial discussions and then pitch all service contracts available to the customer at that time. Transparency here is key, the trio added. By showcasing how a service contract truly works — what it does and doesn’t cover, maintenance requirements, how to submit a claim, etc. — dealers can give customers enough information so they can pick the right package for their business and then roll that investment into the entire purchase.
The panel said this not only increases the likelihood a customer buys a contract, but also that they buy a more premium contract and, most importantly, they have a positive experience with the contract once it is underway.