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There is no doubt that subprime financing is not the easiest department to run at your dealership. Getting the right customers by buying subprime leads and using subprime marketing is a great way to find the right customers , but that’s not all.There is also no doubt that it can be the most profitable department at the dealership. Without all the right pieces, however, you will never maximize the potential of this part of the industry.

However, what are the right pieces ?


There is a huge opportunity to make lots of money in subprime sales, but you will never find out how close you can go to the edge without training for your entire staff. There are national, regional, and local events that can be a great help. Your lenders and vendors may also offer special training to maximize the use of their products. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.


It is very important to have the right combination of lenders for the prospects in your area. It seems like no two lenders today buy the same customer, especially when you are working below the 550 level. Some lenders even have their own scoring system, which can be a huge benefit. They may buy someone with a score of 460 based on the person’s job longevity, the length of residency at the same address, or if the person has shown improvement in the way he conducts his financial affairs. For example, lower score customers could be financed at companies such as Credit Acceptance, UACC or Westlake Financial and Bankruptcy customers at Prestige Financial or AFS.


The right inventory can vary greatly based on the economic conditions in your area. Over a 30-day period, keep track of the number of sales lost due to not having the right vehicle. If you lost more than a few deals, it is time to make some inventory changes. Remember, gross profit is seldom determined by the selling price. In many cases, it is just as easy to make a $3,000 gross on a $7,000 vehicle as it is with a $12,000 vehicle.

Appointment Setting

This very well may be the weakest link in many stores. It also may be the most important step in the entire process. The person or persons setting your appointments should be trained to work with all types of individuals at every level of credit. You should consider a compensation package that rewards them not only for appointments set, but also vehicles sold. If you do not have the right people inside the dealership to do this, you should hire a professional company that specializes in appointment setting.

Subprime Marketing

Although this is the first step to selling a vehicle to a new prospect, this is last on the list, since your ability to perform in the other areas discussed should dictate who you target for your marketing. It is very important to go after the right target audience. Trigger Mail also called Active Shoppers, Bankruptcy and Data Based response marketing are some of the ways to get that customers that need the extra ” push”.,Targeting those with lower credit scores will achieve a higher response rate, but also a lower delivery ratio due to the amount of applications you are unable to bank in this group. Subprime marketing requires some time to develop The bottom line: don’t waste your money going too high or too low. Find your “sweet spot” and work that group hard.