The art of desking a deal

December 27, 2023

Respect the past, but prepare for the future to provide a better experience.

While flash catches the eye, it’s the desk that captures the deal. We all understand the crucial role desking plays in the sales process. It’s where terms take shape, rates find their footing and down payments come due. With the salesperson in constant motion, bridging the spaces between wants and realities, it’s this central process that truly drives a successful sale.

A great desking manager isn’t just a title or a role, but an art form, meticulously crafted over years of experience. Each decision adds depth to the process, while strategy gives it its unique contours. As important as it is to have a great desking manager there lies an underlying challenge in the very fabric of the job. The pressure to close a deal can sometimes tempt even the most seasoned managers towards the temptation of closing the deal on terms that don’t have a chance.

There are a number of reasons why this happens. Sometimes, it’s based on the belief that if they get the customer on paper with a signed bill of sale, even when the terms are a long shot at best, that will take the customer off the market, shutting down the shopping. This offers the dealership the opportunity to revisit terms at a later date if the application isn’t approved. 

On the other hand, sometimes it’s not about strategy but just an honest mistake. Most sales managers are not familiar with all the intricacies of lending rules, especially the ones about advances. So, without meaning to, they might set up a deal that’s just too deep in the red. 

Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. This approach effectively hands the baton of closing the sale over to the business manager, which is not their area of expertise. 

Their offices are typically busy and not equipped for the challenge of revisiting deals that need adjustments or even potentially switching out vehicles.  Sending these deals into the box puts the business managers in a tough position where they are suddenly being relied on to complete tasks they are often ill-equipped to do. Not only does this put the sale at risk, but it’s also not a great experience for our customers.

Remember, for most folks, auto financing is like a different language. Many customers approach dealerships with a touch of apprehension, unsure about terms and worried about making a bad deal.

So, when they’re told that the deal they shook hands on isn’t the real deal, it can feel like a breach of trust. And that feeling can stick making it harder for them to return to or recommend that dealership in the future.

The path forward requires two pivotal shifts. Firstly, an unwavering commitment to ongoing training and education, ensuring that sales managers are well-versed in dynamic lending rules. We are already seeing this trend appear in auto groups across the country who are investing in F&I training for sales management.

Secondly, it’s time to turn the page on old practices. Today’s customers are armed with more information than ever before. With an array of tools at their fingertips, they can access unprecedented levels of information, underscoring their demand for transparency.

To stay ahead in this fiercely competitive market, winning customer loyalty is key. And that loyalty? It’s forged through exceptional customer experiences.

So what’s the best game plan for a path forward? Continuous learning and adapting.

Let’s get our desking managers trained up on lending practices. Let’s ditch the tricks and treat our customers to honest deals they can drive home happy about. In a world where one bad review can travel faster than a Ferrari, trust is our most valuable commodity. Here’s to selling with integrity, closing deals that stick and driving our business into a future we can all be proud of!


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