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Are Your Sales People Asking The Right Subprime Credit Questions ?

Statistics show that somewhere between 30% and 60% of those walking onto your lot have subprime credit.. A few simple questions can help determine if you are talking to a customer who has subprime credit and needs sub-prime lending.

This will make a tremendous difference in your closing ratio. Working with the right Finance Manager who is trained in the right methods can greatly increase the profitability of your dealership. That will increase the rate at which you sell your sub-prime and used inventory.

  1. Where did you purchase your current vehicle?
    In most cases, the subprime credit customer will not have a problem sharing this information with you, but the answers can tell you a lot. For example, a customer that went to a dealership known for special finance, there’s a good chance the customer may still need some help with their credit.
    If the last car purchased at a dealership that does not do subprime ,you know there is a good chance you are dealing with a prime prospect. What if they  purchased their car for cash outright? That is another sign they may have little to no or bad credit that may need the special handling of a Finance Manager.
  • Was it a franchised store like Chevrolet, Ford or Chrysler or a Buy Here Pay Here dealership.?
  • Why did they choose that place to go ?
  1. Which company financed your current vehicle?

Make sure your salespeople have a list of the subprime lenders. A good follow-up question might be “What other finance companies did you look at when purchasing the vehicle?”

  • For example: Did the subprime credit customer use a deep lender such as Westlake Financial or Credit Acceptance or did they go through a captive lender such as General Motors or Ford Motor Credit ?
  1. What is your opinion of that finance company?

The third question is a real giveaway. When customer tells you they do not like the current finance company because they call all of the time, take that customer directly to your finance manager. We all know finance companies only call for one reason – to collect payments. Those of us who make our payments on time never hear from our lenders and most likely have no positive or negative opinion of the lender.


Once your customer is in the right place, closing the deal becomes that much easier. Your Finance Manager can handle the harder questions involving credit, get scores, and discuss options. Customers fell more comfortable when they are talking not only to some one that can help them but with someone who cares.Not to mention, you did not potentially embarrass a customer by drilling them about income and credit as soon as they walked in the door to make the right determination.