Often, when giving presentations to customers, F&I managers focus on product features and benefits. They talk about what it is, how it works, what it costs…And when those customers aren’t interested, F&I managers are left wondering: Were the features not thoroughly explained, was the product too expensive, did the customer not understand the benefits? Chances are, in many cases, it’s none of these reasons.

According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95{137f86425451f0eed4391b215cab1f0aedcc26ced4aeb45d9a5267c3194b8614} of all purchase decisions are actually made unconsciously, based on emotional responses to the product — but most people find logical reasons to explain that decision, instead of recognizing it as a gut reaction. In fact, Professor Zaltman notes that many people do this so automatically, they don’t even realize they are doing it at all.

Let’s review that stat one more time: 95{137f86425451f0eed4391b215cab1f0aedcc26ced4aeb45d9a5267c3194b8614} of our purchase decisions are emotional! With this is mind, changing up your product presentation based on understanding your customer’s mindset, concerns, and priorities for their new vehicle is key. Is safety their top concern? Appearance? Protecting their investment? Each answer leads to a different approach… and none of them starts with a list of features.

Emotion is a powerful tool. But before anyone starts using scare tactics, it’s important to consider what sales expert Perry Marshall points out: There is a difference between an emotional sales pitch and hype. The F&I presentation doesn’t need to come off as if it were a late-night infomercial.

When it comes to making emotional decisions, previous experiences also play a huge part. In his article in Psychology Today, Dr. Peter Noel Murray says, “When we are confronted with a decision, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences which lead to our decision.”

What does that mean? Even the most rational of buyers has likely had some kind of F&I experience, good or bad, in the past. The most successful F&I managers recognize they aren’t starting at ground zero. For customers who have had a bad sales experience or who have heard a friend’s horror story, trust is a large factor the F&I manager must consider. No matter how many great product features are presented, they aren’t going to sway these customers, and scare tactics are only going to strengthen their distrust. To make those sales, the root of the negative emotions needs to be discovered and dispelled, and a new emotional groundwork laid. It’s not as easy as listing product features, but it is much more effective.

Focusing on product features and benefits with a “just the facts, ma’am” approach can work with a consumer who has already made the emotional decision to purchase an F&I product. But for the rest of your customers, you must first understand their experiences, desires and fears surrounding their purchase in order to help them understand why they should care about F&I products. Once you’ve helped them see the “why,” then and only then will they be receptive to the “what.”

This post was written by: Garret Lacour, CEO RoadVantage

Published: March 17, 2016

Original Source: http://roadvantage.com/2016/03/17/getting-emotional/