Texas Dealership Explores Preliminary Credit Inquiries to Better Guide Customers

LAS VEGAS — Powersports dealer Dream Machines of Texas is working to implement “soft” credit inquiries to give customers an idea of loan rate and term, Finance Manager Hope Hill told Powersports Finance at AIMExpo.

“[Consumers] want to know what they will qualify for without having a fear of ruining their credit,” Hill said. “I’m hoping that [soft pulling] will help sway customers to commit to an application sooner or more often if I can give them an accurate view of payments. Every customer wants to know (and will ask) what their rate and payment would be before they put in their personal information.”

Customers don’t often have a clear understanding of their credit score, Hill further explained, and they like to know what kind of payment they are in for before the deal has been calculated. When Dream Machines does follow through with this request, it either goes too high — which “scares the customer off”— or goes too low and promises something that can’t be delivered. Thus, it is trying to find ways to efficiently utilize soft pulling.

To start, Farmers Branch, Texas-based Dream Machines had planned to make iPads available on the showroom floor for customers to submit preliminary information, like name and address. The dealership could then use that information to soft-pull credit, and would also be able to follow up with customers.

However, the dealership put that plan on the back burner after it was approached by some of its lenders with an alternate suggestion.

“Our development has kind of stalled [for the kiosks] because I have somebody that is talking about soft pulls,” Hill said. “I have some lenders that are looking to do a soft-pull and then an auto-approval, and then they will pull the credit when the deal funds. If somebody else is going to do it for me, I just put the stops on [the kiosks] to see what it was going to do.”

Dream Machines of Texas is a new- and used-motorcycle dealership that primarily sells Harley-Davidsons. The dealership works with MB Financial, Marine One Acceptance Corp., and local credit unions through CUDL.

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