How to improve business with dealers through value propositions

SAN DIEGO — Lenders can increase their business with dealerships by having the sales team define the company’s value proposition, Denise Presley, director of North American sales at ThunderRoad Financial, told participants during the “Sales and Marketing Strategies to Build a Stronger Dealer Base” workshop at PowerSports Finance Summit 2019.

“I think, in the past, companies skipped over this a little and were like, ‘We do everything, we do everything right and we want everything’,” Presley said. “Well, that doesn’t necessarily work for your dealer base. With your company’s value proposition, if your sales team is strong and they know what your value proposition is, they’re going to go in there, talk about it and teach it to the dealer.”

Of course, having a broad value proposition can backfire because most lenders typically don’t do “everything,” Presley added. For example, a lender may not want to finance subprime credit, or there’s a particular type of consumer they don’t want to underwrite.

To better understand and determine the value proposition, there are four questions that a lender needs to answer:

  • What are our company’s products, services and loan products?
  • How do our products and services improve the dealership’s business and profits?
  • Who are our targeted dealerships and customers?
  • What is the advantage of our company versus our competitors?

“What do you offer?” Presley asked. “Sometimes you think this is very basic and you know what your company does. Then you find out that you really don’t, that you’re not talking about that directly to your dealerships and they’re getting frustrated and not sending you credit applications.”

The value proposition also can change as the business develops or grows. In those cases, the targeted dealerships may evolve, so the sales team has to be on top of understanding the company and finding the right dealers. The sales team also must know how the lender will improve the business at the dealer from unit sales to F&I profitability.

Finally, lenders should know how their services compare to the competition and what the competition does well. “I remember when we first started, there really wasn’t a lot of competition,” Presley recalled. “As the business changed, a lot of lenders have realized that selling dreams and cool things to have fun on is very, very profitable. So, what do you do well and who is your competition? But I would take it a step further: What do they do well and how do you compare to that.”

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