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Dealership Desking

A Guide to Desking for Maximum Profit

You know what car shoppers really hate? Feeling like they’re being scammed.

When a salesperson runs to their manager during desking to ask if they can discount the vehicle, reduce the down payment or change the terms, most buyers automatically assume the dealership is trying to take advantage of them.

So, how can your dealership counteract these incorrect assumptions on the part of the buyer? Let your salespeople take more control of the desking process.

This is a win-win for your dealership. Any time your salesperson moves away from the desk, the buyer has a chance to do more research on their phone. And if your salesperson doesn’t come back from their chat with the manager with the exact terms the buyer wants, they’re often up and out the door.

Today the ideal desking process would increase pricing transparency, speed up the car-buying process for customers and improve satisfaction` scores. But it’s also critical that your desking process helps your salespeople obtain the highest possible gross for every deal.

Want to ensure your desking process delivers maximum profit? Here’s how.

Negotiate Terms, Not Price

A common mistake I see during the desking process is how salespeople set up the first pass. Right out of the gate, are you presenting 48-, 62- or even 78-month terms to your customer? If so, this doesn’t leave you with many secondary options.

On the first pass, it’s smart to go shorter. That way, you’re negotiating on terms rather than price. If you present the longest terms and the customer doesn’t like what they see, then you’ve got nowhere to go with your second and third passes, other than money - which costs you profit.

Starting with shorter terms gives you more room to negotiate and the customer will like what they see on the second or third pass, when price comes down. And you’ll like what you see in the final profits.

Options Rule

The more options you present, the more likely the customer will see an option they like and make a purchase. Ideally, you want to generate and present at least 6 options immediately, but trust me when I say more is better. So if 6 options are good, 12 or 18 are exponentially better!

This is where a strong desking tool is critical for the best outcome. Your desking presentation should show customers side-by-side comparisons of multiple lease and payment options. If the customer wants to change the monthly payment or down payment scenario, all the salesperson has to do is plug in a new number, and multiple new options appear.

Additionally, salespeople should be able to use their desking tool to structure the deal however they want, whether by selling price, max profit for negative equity, max advance, desired payments or lowest rates.

Integrations are Critical

Perhaps the single greatest factor that impacts the quality of your desking process is how well your desking tool is integrated into your CRM, DMS and third-party rates and incentive providers such as Market Scan.

Logging in and out of alternate systems takes too much time, and wasted time costs you money. When integrated with your DMS and CRM, a desking tool allows salespeople to present A/B comparisons, multi-quotes, one-payment worksheets or four squares. These should all be visible on one screen so you don't have to go from tab to tab in order to cobble together payment information. Additionally, you can pre-screen customers and run credit and compliance, all from a single screen in your CRM.

Not only does jumping from tab to tab waste valuable time, but it increases the likelihood that a salesperson will miss an incentive the customer qualifies for, or that crazy-good new deal from your manufacturer. An integrated desking tool automatically selects the best programs available based on the criteria that you enter.

Let’s face it, when something gets missed, it’s generally the dealer who loses money. By using a desking tool that allows salespeople to make better decisions in less time, provide more accurate information and lessen the chances of making an error, you give your dealership a distinct competitive advantage.

Deep integrations into the DMS also allow salespeople to easily structure deals that take into account state and local taxes, as well as consumer information such as insurance, vehicle add-ons and even communications preferences, such as “do not email.”

Bottom line: an integrated desking tool not only speeds up your desking process, but also makes it more accurate by eliminating redundancy, human error and overlooked details that cost your dealership money and deals.

Ask your desking tool vendor how many fields are integrated between their software and your DMS. There should be at least a hundred integrated fields to maximize data capture for use in the desking process.

Desking is one of the most crucial processes in car buying. It represents the gap between serious intent and a decision to purchase. Make sure your desking process is fast, transparent and accurate; but most of all, make sure your salespeople know how to leverage your desking tool to deliver maximum profit to your dealership.