Don’t Interrogate Car Buyers in F&I – 3 Ways to A Better Interview

Don’t Interrogate Car Buyers in F&I – 3 Ways to A Better Interview

Selling anything requires knowing exactly what the hot buttons are for your customer. What do they want? What are they afraid of? When buying a car the F&I department has the same challenge and must find a way to get the answers they need to these and other questions to sell more. How does this happen?

The interview.

Interviewing customers often helps the F&I managers know exactly what products they can sell and what picture they can paint to help close the deal. It’s a conversation that can happen at the salesperson’s desk or in the F&I office.

But what happens if this goes bad? What if it becomes an ‘interrogation’ instead of an interview?

There are 3 tips to conducting a solid and valuable interview every time…

  1.  Be Ready – Don’t waste the buyers time. Chances are the customers have already been at the dealership for an hour or more and coming into the F&I office usually makes them more anxious to hurry along the process. Show them you are prepared and that your questions will actually help streamline the experience for them.
    Be focused and yet conversational. Remember…this is not an interrogation.
  2. Listen More Than You Talk – It seems like such a basic thing but so many F&I managers rush through the questions without listening at a deeper level to the answers. When asking about the buyer’s driving habits or their ability to pay for unexpected repairs, really focus on the little details they may provide. Every buyer has a different ‘story’ and knowing that can be the difference in selling a VSC or not.
  3. Watch for the Little Things– The F&I interview is critical to knowing what to sell and how to sell it. But there are some red flags that your F&I staff should be looking for that can derail the best efforts to get this information.

Look for closed posture body language when they sit down. This usually means they are NOT going to be interested in giving you any personal information that can help you. They just want to sign and go. Use a personal story or even a little humor if you can to help them lighten up.

If the customer takes a defensive tone to answering questions, change your approach. Let them know you are simply trying to figure out what products can help them in the long and short term, nothing more.

If their responses are short and direct, empathize by letting them know that buying a car can be a tedious process and that you believe in making it easier. This can ease their defensive posture. Everyone looks for understanding even in sales situations.

The interview process should be fluid and focused. Never let the buyer feel like they are on the spot or rushed. Master these tips and selling will be much easier.

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