Getting to “Yes”….By Going Through More “Noes”

Sales experts for decades have preached that most sales are made after the 3rd to 5th attempt, yet in the F&I Department many managers never get past the second “no.”

The landscape of the auto industry has changed considerably and will continue to change. When F&I first entered the dealer world, the focus was on selling financing and credit insurance. The F&I of today markets everything from service contracts to exterior protection products and all things in between. It is not uncommon for a customer to be offered six or more different F&I products in an effort to maximize the customer’s ownership experience, improve the dealer’s retention, and build much-needed profitability in the deal.

The presentations of these products have also seen major alterations. From step selling to paper menus, to highly interactive web-based and tablet systems that virtually allow the customer to guide themselves through the entire purchase process. There is certainly no shortage of different presentation systems available.

Listen, while many systems have been proven to produce “better” results in F&I, if you are truly interested in dramatically increasing your department’s gross profit by selling more product, it is going to take more than a new presentation system. In the end, whether you are an F&I Manager that lets the customer navigate themselves through the buying process with videos and other interactive material; whether you are an F&I Manager that personally adds value by conducting a thorough presentation before explaining the finance & product options; or whether you are an F&I Manager that goes through all the options and then adds value as needed……you are going to hear the word “no.” It is what you do at that time that will determine your success and overall profit in the deal.

Strategic closing word tracks are great tools for the F&I Manager. They provide common-sense analogies and real-world scenarios that the customer can relate to. Nevertheless, just because a technician has the “best” tools doesn’t make him the “best” tech. Trainers across the country load up the tool chests of F&I managers with dozens of closing word tracks and other valuable material, but much of this training never realizes fruitful production at the time of delivery. In fact, many F&I Managers only utilize one to two closing word tracks per product. The main reason for this is all training efforts are typically centered on developing the “tool” rather than developing the “technique.” With all of today’s technology F&I is still a people business. In the real world, F&I Managers often find themselves struggling to connect with there customers and keep the conversation going long enough to comfortably and confidently venture past the initial “noes.” They in-turn give up and print the paperwork. In order to dramatically improve your F&I Department’s gross profit, building a detailed roadmap on how the F&I Manager transitions through each “no” is paramount! This should be done with strategic and thought-provoking questions that produce curiosity, and engage the customer emotionally; allowing the F&I Manager to continue to add value and ask for the sale multiple times without harming the relationship or the dealers C.S.I. Memorizing an exact path to go through at least 5 “noes” per product ought to be the bare minimum.

In summary, there are many closing word tracks. In fact, we at Cornerstone Dealer Development have a Top 20 for service contracts alone. Ultimately, the word tracks need to fit the personality and overall approach of the F&I Manager to be effective. However, the word tracks aren’t nearly as important as how the F&I Manager is able to engage each customer emotionally and use each word track, seamlessly transitioning through each “no” to get to the “yes.” Cornerstone Dealer Development works hands-on with F&I Managers to select a minimum of five closing paths per product that fit the managers “style.” We then work with the manager until a customized mental roadmap is mastered so that they can confidently and consistently transition through all five if and when required, all while keeping the customer fully engaged.

Again, the fact that most sales are made after the third to fifth attempt isn’t a new concept. No matter how good your presentation is, you are still going to hear the word “no.” If you set yourself up to go through more “noes” you will end up with more “yeses,” sell more product and increase your F&I department’s gross profit. 

How much more profitable and effective could you be if you were positioned to always ask for the sale one more time without sounding redundant or your customers feeling pressured? 


Mike Hirschfield is the CEO of Cornerstone Dealer Development, LLC. Mike helps teams and individuals build personal influence, become trusted advisors, and leverage personal solutions that are aligned with their customers’ most powerful buying motives. Mike helps teams and individuals grow their sales & profits by developing their ability to ✔Connect ✔Compel and ✔Commit their customers to take action and buy now! 

Follow Mike on Twitter @FoundationToWin

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