|Wow, I just turned 28. Has it been that long? Six, almost seven, years in the special finance industry. I know several people who have been dedicated to the special finance industry for a lot longer than that, but they are rare. Special Finance for most seems to be a “stepping stone” for bigger and better things in the dealership; a place most just “stop off” before rising to the next challenge. Numerous times I have been offered a so-called promotion to conventional finance or to a desk manager position. No thanks! Why, you ask would I pass up conventional finance for special finance? Simple—I would rather have a customer tell me “Thank you” for that 21 percent interest rate they just signed for, than have someone tell me that 5 percent is too high.|
I have said several times in various ways that special finance needs some consistency. When I say that, most people think of the banks and sales finance companies that we use on a daily basis. While I can readily think of a couple that change their programs more often than I change my hair color, the consistency needs to start with us in the finance office. The individuals I referred to earlier, who view special finance as just a way up, are all too often the same individuals who ruin a portfolio or two, damage a relationship or four, put “Special Finance Manager” on their resume and go on to ruin the habits of a few sales professionals. Your reputation is all you have in this special finance industry. You can work as many places as you want and meet as many people within the dealership industry as possible, but if you ruin your reputation with a bank or two, you might as well start stocking shelves at the local Piggly Wiggly because your time in special finance will be short.
While we are car guys/gals first, we are also representing the financial institutions that your dealership uses within the walls of your dealership. We have to align our “car guy” thinking with the thinking of a bank or other financial institution. There is never any one deal worth your career or your reputation. I don’t care how big the gross profit or whose friend the customer is. Ruin your reputation, and soon the only question you will have to ask is, “Do you want fries with that?” So put your scanners and exacto knives away, and earn your money like a true professional. WORK FOR IT!
There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you are one of the best in the industry and you do it by guarding your reputation with integrity and character. Watch your portfolios, respect your buyers and your banking institutions and guard them as much as you do your dealership. After all, you are speaking for them when you assign a contract to them. Remember, when dealing with these banks they don’t owe you anything. By the same token, they realize you don’t owe them anything, but working together to make a profitable deal for both only improves your reputation with the only people who really matter in this business – the banks. If you aren’t trusted, it doesn’t matter how many dealerships you go to work for. If you can’t get a deal bought without being scrutinized to the hilt, then you will never be successful. Tell them the truth, and make sure it checks out the way you represented it. The worst thing that could happen to anyone in this industry is being caught telling a lie to the bank. That one deal you could have assigned somewhere else without telling a lie, could have cost you four or five deals that were clean as a whistle. It’s just not worth it.
Just do the job the right way, and everything else will take care of itself.
Vol 2, Issue 9
Auto retail veteran and F&I products expert Paul McCarthy has joined AUL Corp. as vice president of national sales.