For pretty much everyone who walks in the door, we flip the process. Rather than have them look at vehicles, we bring people inside to get the application going first.
We spend time finding out their wants and needs. We do a budget worksheet; we go through their budget to find out their disposable income at the time. We may take it to management who goes through the inventory list.
If they need a minivan, we start with the vans. We work with our customers to figure out what’s their down payment per price they can spend, what the payment will be, and which vans fit their budget. Then the salesman goes out and shows them. We start with three; we always try to give them three choices. Then if we need to we can add another one from there.
What if a buyer is in a hurry and doesn’t want to have to wait for the whole process. What’s the fastest way to drive away in a car or truck or van?
We’d rather lose the sale than just try to put them in something just because they need to leave. We know that doesn’t ever work long-term. What the customer can actually do is show up with all their steps, be very direct with what they want. A lot of customers will say, “Oh I don’t know, anything will work, it’s just a car.” If they say, “No, I need this, this, and this,” then we can go through the application quick; that speeds up the process a lot.
What they can do ahead of time is hop on our website or stop by our office in Jerome or Twin Falls to get an application to fill out. Our salesperson will text or call to set up an appointment. The customer will have everything they need to bring with them. That really speeds up the process.
Should someone try to get financing before they come to Country Auto?
Not necessarily. It’s really best for ‘em to come in. If they did our online application, then we’ll try to approve them once they’re inside; this way we can take time to find out their true wants and needs, and match everything up to their budget the best we can.
If they try to go to banks and get pre-financed that way, a lot of them will get discouraged because they’ll be turned down, or a banker will say ok, but they’ll give a loan for 67% of the value, which is unrealistic.