This is an old cliché that has been used in many different situations and scenarios. But having said all that, Learn to Earn may be one of the most significant statements in any endeavor. It is especially so in our Special Finance industry and in fact forms the basis for the second block of my foundation, “Learn and understand your Lenders’ programs.
It was a of couple weeks ago that I last spouted off about the need for commitment, across the spectrum, in any dealership that aspires to share in the profits provided by Special Finance operations. I said, in that article, that a Special Finance professional needs to make a commitment to “learning the lender programs” as part of the commitment necessary to succeed. Since that time, I have talked to quite a large number of folks involved in Special Finance and I asked regularly about their knowledge of lender programs. The most common response was to haul out a binder containing photocopies of all the lender programs that they had at their disposal. “Yup, got them all right here” was the most common answer to my query about familiarity with lender programs.
Well, my friends, that is not what I consider knowledge! Having all the programs at your fingertips is a good start, but far from being enough. You will never become a super star, or even a shooting star while thumbing through your notebook. The skeptics and apologists reading this will be saying to themselves and/or anyone within earshot, “I have desking software for deciding where to send my deals; I don’t need to know the details of all the lender programs.” Well buckaroos, I have seen and worked with most of the desking programs out there and they are all very good! But desking software has the usefulness of a very efficient greenhorn assistant. It relieves you of most the tedium of every day work, but no hardware or software can even think about replacing the insight and judgment of an educated, experienced Special Finance professional.
The successful Special Finance Professional who will, by the way, have a complete and comprehensive knowledge of her/his lender programs, will know where the deal is going during the initial interview. And having made that early preemptive decision, our hero will avoid all manner of problems that crop up in the course of the successful completion of a Special Finance deal. By the time our professional has asked a half-dozen questions, he/she will know exactly who is going to get the paper. The seasoned professional, with knowledge of his or her lenders’ programs, will have the lender selected long before the information is even input into the computer. No surprises on down the road. No backpedaling to get the prospect into a vehicle that fits (usually at a lower profit) the lender after the approval comes back capped. No reselling an increased payment because your software settled on the best deal even if the prospect did not qualify. And, ladies and gentlemen, this knowledge will help you avoid the cardinal sin of shot gunning deals.
In other words, having a complete knowledge of the programs of the lenders in your portfolio, will allow you to control the sale from the very beginning. And control means profit!!
Take the time to learn the details of your lender programs. It will be time well spent and will mean better relationships with your lenders and more profitable Special Finance deliveries. All that will translate to more money in your pocket. So be smart and Learn to earn.
Just my two cents worth.
About the author
Dick Hassberger, of Lake Orion, Michigan is a veteran of over 50 years in the Automotive Financing and Leasing industry, starting his career with the former Wayne Oakland Bank in September 1960. Dick currently represents VOISYS in Michigan. He has held executive positions with Major Banks, Lending Institutions and Leasing companies and has accumulated a vast store of knowledge in the automotive financing industry, which he regularly shares with his client dealerships as well as readers of this blog. Dick was a regular author for World of Special Finance Magazine.