As an F&I manager, you know how valuable a service contract is. It’s a life-saver for most car buyers, both new and used. You know how to pitch every expert value proposition in the book to the customers sitting in your office. Although, every now and then it’s better to keep it simple! That’s why one of the best things to do when first talking to a customer is simply lay out what exactly a service contract is, and how it differs from a warranty. Let’s look at the definition:
“A service contract is a promise to perform (or pay for) certain repairs or services. Sometimes called an "extended warranty", a service contract is not a warranty as defined by federal law. A service contract may be arranged at any time and always costs extra; a warranty comes with a new car and is included in the purchase price. Used cars also may come with some type of warranty coverage”.
Being transparent and making efforts to educate the buyer will automatically build rapport from the customer and laying out the difference between the two terms helps them understand how important a VSC truly is.
Now, as someone on the outside looking in, you would think that this would be 100% penetration for everyone purchasing a vehicle, the same way we all believe in auto insurance in the event of an accident. However, as a finance manager, you know people tend to gamble more with VSCs, even though we all are more likely to experience a mechanical breakdown before we experience a collision.
Thus, for your next F&I sale, try this: Ask the customer sitting in your F&I office why they think auto manufacturers only give car buyers a specific amount of coverage (typically three years), when most people keep/finance their vehicles for six years. Why couldn’t they at least cover the average time of ownership? The reason is that most manufacturers have already tried, researched, and concluded that the second set of three years would simply be too costly to cover.
Why is it too costly to cover? Because those remaining three years is when the vehicle starts wearing down, requiring repairs, and actually needs that original warranty! So, if it’s too costly for an auto manufacturer (a multi-billion-dollar company) to cover the cost of those repairs, wouldn’t it be too costly for the customer as well? This proves that a warranty in no way can substitute a VSC. Therefore, a VSC is a practical, affordable option for most car buyers.
Many responses to this point include a counter statement about how the customer personally knows a mechanic, etc. My reply to this? Advancements in technology. Many decades ago, my first car was a 1982 Toyota Corolla. When I needed a repair, I could simply open the hood and figure it out. Have you looked under a hood lately? It looks like 20 MacBooks glued together and you need a NASA like command center just to read “codes”! Unfortunately, the days of having a “handy neighbor” or small-time mechanic are gone.
Those are just 2 of my main points, and even though I could write a book on them all, I think they’re two of my best. Next time you’re making a F&I sale, let your customer know just how important a VSC is. Not just for their peace of mind, but to gamble with the odds in their favor!
Rob Lo is a District Manager for Vision Management Group and serves the South Florida area. For over a decade, he has been influential in the automotive industry, being the recipient of many certifications, awards and world class training. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.