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The Under-Appreciated Customer

Every dealership’s fear is that customers are coming to the store and leaving after being overlooked and underappreciated. Most owners would pitch a fit if they knew that their staff was mishandling business and not taking care of people who have a true interest and dire need to buy a car from you.


This happens every day in thousands of dealerships across America. The biggest group of people it happens to are the customers deemed as “special finance” customers. This group doesn’t need to be ignored due to their income level. Whether you want to believe it or not, over 58 percent of Americans live in poverty. Most of them – even if they climb their way out of poverty – will never repair their credit enough to overcome the “special finance” classification in our industry.

I am blessed with the opportunity to work and represent our agency in 26 states. While keeping up with all of this rigorous travel around the country, I constantly see poverty stricken neighborhoods, and many times they are located near airports. One thing I’ve noticed in these areas is that most every single driveway at least one car and usually if you catch it at the right time of day there are two vehicles per household.

The reason I bring this subject up is very simple. The recession of 2008 and current sluggish economic climate has changed the face of our country, possibly to a level we may not get out of for at least a decade. This post is not to brag about which of the dealerships Strong represents that sold X amount of cars in their special finance department and made X amount of gross from them. It is simply to make a point that if you have never ventured into special finance business or at least entertained it then this year is the perfect time for you to investigate.

It is not for everybody and some stores are perfectly content and profitable without helping these customers. But, in the quest to be better every day, you are missing opportunity if you do not at least make an effort to sell cars to this market.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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