Published on Friday, 15 July 2011
If you've ever purchased or leased a new vehicle, the first person to congratulate you (besides the salesperson) is the Business Manager.
A Business Manager plays a number of key roles within a new car dealership. He/she handles all of the financial, legal and administrative requirements of the vehicle transactions. From a customer's perspective, they add value to the ownership experience.
Car buyers should understand that there are really two sides of the Business Manager's job: an administrative side, and a product side. Both are equally important in terms of ensuring that transactions are conducted in a timely and accurate manner, and ensuring that the customer's ownership experience is all that it can be.
On the administrative side, the Business Manager reviews the customers' credit applications and credit reports, and discusses the various finance options to meet their needs. She oversees all financial arrangements and compliance-related issues and then prepares the delivery documentation, including the preparation of the loan documents, Ministry of Transportation paperwork and other legal forms required by the province.
The other role of a Business Manager is to present customers with an array of products that are meant to add value to the ownership experience.
As an example, let's take extended factory warranties. Customers sometimes wonder if purchasing this product will add value to their ownership experience.
That depends. What if a customer plans on keeping a vehicle for eight or nine years (which is the average for new vehicle ownership in Canada)? What if the customer also plans to drive twice or three times as many kilometres than the average motorist?
That changes the scenario. The manufacturer's warranty would probably expire at the three to five year mark, meaning that for the remaining years of ownership, the customer would be responsible for all subsequent repair costs, which could run into the thousands.
In such a case, a Business Manager would suggest that the purchase of an extended warranty – at a pro-rated cost of a few dollars per month, and which is entirely transferable – would be a wise and prudent investment.
A Business Manager typically asks many questions of each customer, and spends time outlining the features and benefits of the various products. These presentations may take 15 or 20 minutes, but they are necessary.
I would suggest that car buyers research the products that are likely to be discussed with a Business Manager — products such as credit insurance and extended warranties.
When customers are sufficiently informed about their options, they make better decisions. When that happens, customers are more inclined to feel good about their purchases.
During this stage of the selling process, the Business Manager also hopes to accomplish something else: build a relationship with the customer. When a trusting relationship is formed, the dealership receives more positive endorsements and ranks higher in customer satisfaction surveys.