Improve Customer Experience with This Consumer Financing Strategy

When we can effectively answer a question in the mind of a prospective boat buyer, we build a layer of trust that boosts the customer’s experience — AND we take a step closer to selling them a boat.

This idea probably isn’t new to you. Especially if you’ve been in the room for one of Marcus Sheridan’s Dealer Week presentations or read his book, “They Ask, You Answer.”

Let’s focus in one particular question that is especially important these days with the recent climb in boat prices, inflation and interest rates:

“What can I afford to buy?”

Many dealerships don’t conclusively answer this question for prospective boat buyers until fairly late in the sales process. As a result, some folks end up disappointed when they find out they can’t buy the boat they’ve been researching and dreaming of. They may even abandon the boat shopping process. Or perhaps they never reach out to you to begin with because they don’t think they can afford a boat that is actually within their means.

Other customers may pro-actively get themselves an answer by talking to their local bank or credit union, which may result in the dealership losing the lead, the revenue opportunity that consumer financing represents or both.

However, you can offer the consumer an answer to that question before they even think to ask it — and even before you’ve recorded that consumer as a lead — thanks to the online pre-qualification programs available to dealers.

Pre-qualification is defined as: “a soft-pull, web-based solution which places a soft inquiry on the consumer’s file, that does not require a consumer’s SSN or DOB — only name and address,” according to MRAA Education Champion 700Credit.

So, how does this improve the customer’s experience?

  • It can build trust in your dealership as their expert guide to the boating lifestyle ‚Äì often before you’ve met or spoken to your prospect. They get the message that you understand what’s on their mind, and you have the information they want and need at your fingertips.
  • It allows you to deliver more accurate quotes and proposals.
  • It can help you and them to narrow in on the units that both allow them to live their best boating life and fit their budget.
  • It saves them (and you) time when they visit the dealership.
  • It helps them feel secure, as pre-qualification doesn’t require sensitive personal information.

Of course, at the same time that a pre-qualification program improves the customer experience, it benefits you and your sales team too.

Pre-qualification can drive a dramatic improvement in lead conversion — as high as 300 to 400 percent, according to 700Credit, while also shortening the sales process.

This is one of many ways that you can improve the customer’s experience — and your dealership’s results — at the same time.

Learn more about “How to Build a Pre-Qualification Program” by downloading the free mini-guide developed in partnership between 700Credit and MRAA, available here.