Menu selling doesn’t just help you stay in compliance with regulations governing the sale of Finance and Insurance. It’s also great for your business and great for your customers. As well as being more transparent, it’s quicker, draws in more revenue and results in higher customer satisfaction
What is Menu Selling?
F&I Menu Selling is a world-proven formula for increasing profitability, insurance penetration and customer satisfaction. It is the mainstream approach towards maximizing returns by giving customers what they want. While compliance is usually cited as the reason for using Menu Selling, the REAL benefits of Menu Selling are that it helps the customer make the right decision.
In the past, it was common for dealerships to present customers with a skewed and limited view of the products on offer. The temptation was always to present the most expensive product in the hopes of persuading the customer to spend more than they needed to; or to present only those products that were easiest to sell. Stricter regulations put a stop to this kind of misleading practice by requiring that dealerships present all finance and insurance products to every customer in every instance.
While necessary, these regulations had the unfortunate effect of forcing customers to deal with large amounts of bewildering and complex information. Although this meant greater transparency, it also created significant customer confusion, as they had to deal with the process of assembling an F&I package from long lists of available elements.
Menu selling was originally an antidote to this overly complex and sometimes misleading structure of finance and insurance agreements. By breaking up the products on offer into convenient packages, it streamlines the process significantly so that instead of long, rambling, complex lists, customers are presented with easy-to-understand packages of products from which they select what they need.
An unexpected side effect of menu selling is a sweeping increase in revenue for the dealerships that use it. Rather than being deterred from making purchases, customers are encouraged by menu-based selling. More confident, they’re disposed to select more products and to sign on the dotted line with less persuasion. Ironically, a methodology originally developed with regulatory compliance in mind has proven to be a boon for F&I Business Managers, improving sales and boosting customer satisfaction.
But why does it work so well?
Transparency, of course, is a regulatory requirement. But it’s also a great aid in getting the customer on your side. In menu selling, all the available products are laid out in a very accessible, easy-to-understand manner. Customers can clearly see what they are buying and how much each package will cost them. This transparency inevitably reduces the pressure in the relationship between customer and Business Manager.
Menu selling isn’t a sales technique so much as it is a decision-making technique. Instead of selling, what the dealer is doing is sharing information so that the customer can clearly see all of the benefits of every product. This removes the pressure on the Business Manager to persuade the customer to buy. Instead, the products themselves do the selling while the Business Manager’s job is simply to present the information and help guide the customers in making the appropriate selection. Studies have shown that using F&I menus can significantly boost revenue; some report that menu selling has increased their revenue by as much as 20 per cent per retail unit. This reduction in customer resistance means that the pressure to sell is removed. The Business Manager is no longer perceived as an antagonistic figure, someone who’s trying to lean on the customer to buy a particular product; instead, the Business Manager is more like an equal partner in finding the right deal.
As a result, the customer is not swept along in a flood of confusing information, but becomes an active participant in the process of selecting the F&I package that’s right for them. This makes for a less wary customer, and one who’s likely to be happier with the final purchase, cutting through the traditional resistance of “being sold to” and making for a smoother process.
Faster, more efficient process
The old ways of selling F&I products were incredibly time-consuming and laborious when compared with modern menu selling. Menu selling can be conducted in as little as 10 minutes, while a traditional F&I transaction might take 40 minutes to an hour.
Added to the process of purchasing a vehicle, this translates into a significant bite out of a customer’s day; no longer acceptable in our fast-paced world. Today’s customer is very time-conscious and responds poorly to a long drawn-out sales process. It’s important to make the customer feel that you think their time is worth something; you don’t want them to feel that you’re drawing out the sales process with unnecessary deviations.
Menu selling is a great way to make sure that the customer in a hurry stays happy. The process of closing a deal when you use menu-based selling is much faster. Since all the product information is laid out in a transparent, easy-to-follow menu of F&I packages, the customer is less confused and better able to understand what’s on offer, leading to a quicker sale. It also takes far less time to present everything that’s on offer, streamlining regulatory compliance.
Because menu selling is much faster than other sales methods, it benefits Business Managers too. By saving time on each sale, more customers can be helped in a given time period. This translates into higher revenue.
Less confusion, more satisfaction
Customer confusion is the enemy of a sale. A customer who doesn’t understand what’s going on will need to interrupt the selling process more often with questions. They’ll also feel less confident in making a final decision, changing their minds more frequently — and perhaps even costing that dealership a sale, as the customer decides to look for more clarity elsewhere. A customer who was confused during the buying process may even end up wanting to unwind the deal at a later date, resulting in major headaches for the dealership.
Menu selling, on the other hand, cuts down the potential for confusion by precisely laying out all the relevant information. Customers find menu selling easier to make sense of, so they are clear on what they’re buying. This clarity also leads to greater customer satisfaction. A customer who knows that they’ve made an informed decision is a contented customer, one who’ll speak well of their experiences to others and be back with more business in the future.
The facts speaks volumes
Menu selling makes more money for dealerships than traditional hard-selling. This fact is not in dispute — both anecdotal evidence and the evidence of studies and surveys have repeatedly confirmed it.
The old methods of simply presenting only the top-selling products or the most expensive items may actually have been working against dealerships, and traditional step-selling is slow and inefficient, turning off customers and resulting in a loss of potential revenue.
Menu-based selling has the effect of encouraging customers to buy more than if they are forced to pick through a list of separate elements. The process of selecting a well-designed package from a menu is more attractive to most customers than cobbling one together from a confusing list of possibilities.
Across Australia, menu selling is giving dealerships an advantage, driving up sales and boosting revenue. With all that menu selling can offer your business — streamlined regulatory compliance, faster and smoother sales, greater customer satisfaction and increased revenue — isn’t it time that you looked at the possibilities?
Australia’s leading F&I Sales Management System
Growing sales and profit in Finance and Insurance is the key to any successful automotive dealership operation. For many dealerships, F&I has become a critical profit-center in today’s marketplace where margins for car sales are paper thin.
For Dealer Principals, managing F&I Business Managers is both demanding and complex; coupled with stringent legislative requirements, high staff turnover, and the need to maintain profitability; the pressure to do well can be great, and there is no room for mediocrity.
Op2ma’s world-class F&I performance management tool – Finance Accelerator™ – is designed from the ground up for the Australian Market to help you meet these challenges. Built on industry best practices, it has helped some of our clients grow their F&I profits by as much as 20%. No wonder it is the leading F&I tool in Australia.
Some of the key features include
- Able to track F&I performance metrics and provide comprehensive reports and dashboards for target and trend analysis;
- Allows for multi-sites/multi-dealers operations, providing click-down view from macro data to individual Business Manager’s performance;
- Has integrated Menu Selling tool to help dealers grow F&I profit and improve compliance under the new Australian Credit License;
Op2ma’s Finance Accelerator™ has helped numerous dealerships discover and exploit F&I opportunities that they were previously unaware of, helping Business Managers grow their F&I commission, and Financiers gain significant market share in the credit market.