Leverage Credit-First Soft Pulls to Improve Your Dealership’s Results

Shopping for a vessel comes with all kinds of stressors for a consumer – some of which can affect their relationship with the dealer and lender. The decision to require a shopper to undergo a credit verification can be stressful for many consumers – for different reasons!

Consumers worry for various reasons, including:

  • Concern about the score that will come back on the other end;
  • Stress over whether the score will be high enough to qualify them for the boat they really want;
  • And fear that the act of running their credit specifically will “ding” their credit.

As a dealership, you have the opportunity to reduce this stress and worry with a soft-pull credit check.

Why are soft pulls so effective today?

A soft-pull credit check is similar to a simple background check. It allows the dealer and lender to review a shopper’s credit score and financial standing, but it does not impact their credit score, making it an effective tool.

Soft pulls are important to dealers and lenders for multiple reasons. Perhaps a shopper is unsure if they can afford a specific boat because of reduced cash flow amid a softening economy. A soft pull will alert them to their status if they’re pre-approved before moving forward with financing options.

Soft pulls will also strengthen consumer confidence and trust in making the right decision. Since they aren’t locked into anything, customers can resume shopping and even assess varying price ranges. Soft pulls benefit those who may be a little less confident about their credit standing.

Changing consumer preferences support the use of soft pulls

In the current era of digital retailing, consumers expect an experience offered by tools such as soft pull credit checks.

In a SalesForce survey of 7,000 consumers, 53 percent reported they would share personal data in exchange for personalized shopping experiences. Why is this important? Because today’s digitized boat-shopping process is all about personalization. 

Combining soft pulls with a ‘credit-first strategy’ is therefore imperative to the success of every dealer and transaction today. A fully personalized digital retailing system requires accurate monthly payment quoting early in the shopping process. Everything from vessel selection, financing, credit eligibility and trade-in valuations can affect a person’s payment composition. Obtaining credit at the beginning of the digital retailing process ensures a true personalized shopping experience that will help close more deals.

The right credit-first strategy, combined with a soft-pull approach, enables more seamless transactions in today’s digitized world of sales. Soft pulls work in concert with the credit-first approach and do not require a customer’s date of birth or social security number. Using just the customers’ name and address, soft pulls allow an early-stage snapshot of their credit profile, and insights into their buying power before you start building any deal.

Interest rates are changing more frequently currently, so establishing the right credit tier and payment options early in the shopping process will benefit everyone involved and add trust into the process. There is nothing worse than a customer assuming or estimating the payment in his or her mind throughout the transaction process, only to learn just how much fluctuating interest rates may affect the final deal inside the F&I manager’s office at the end.

Where soft pulls benefit other areas of a dealership

Aside from today’s digital shopping process, soft pulls also benefit dealers in the service lane. Combined with solutions that include equity calculators, perceptive dealers are now easily integrating these features into their daily workflows to build additional conquest marketing opportunities.

These additional tools built with soft-pull technology help dealers and service managers offer quick valuation calculations to show customers how and where it might make sense to consider a new boat rather than fix their current unit. This offers benefits to you and your customers:

  1. They make a wise decision with confidence.
  2. You can convince them to buy from you, not the competitor.

Trying to build a digital retailing system at your dealership without soft-pull technology is like building a boat without a motor. It might look nice, but you won’t get anywhere anytime soon.

About The Author: Ken Hill is managing director for 700Credit, an MRAA Education Champion and a leading provider of credit reports, compliance, identity verification and soft pull products. For more information, please visit www.700credit.com.