Jargon and acronyms are rife in the automotive sector so it’s not surprising we end up talking our lingo to consumers who are unlikely to have a clue what we’re on about. It can be even worse when it comes to vehicle finance with consumers expected to fathom out a barrage of information.

Dealers need to make a concerted effort to talk plainly when ‘talking Turkey’ to minimise confusion.

Keep it simple

People can often struggle to cope when presented with too much information and often switch off. Research from mapping and analytics software providers, ESRI UK, found a third of us are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available. Whilst specifically looking at digital data, the research found 35% of people felt stressed out trying to keep up with ‘information overload’.  According to the science, our brains become overworked when trying to process excessive information, leading to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to confusion, memory loss and a state of restlessness. It’s important to still present customers with all the facts, but make sure you’re giving it to them in a clear and concise way.

Explain acronyms

Better still, avoid using them at all. Automotive retail is peppered with acronyms, which are particularly prevalent in finance – HP, PCP, PCH. You may think an acronym is obvious or easily explained, but chances are your customers won’t. Try using the full name the first time to ensure the customer understands, and then shorten it afterwards. A top tip is to watch your customers’ faces for any signs of confusion and make sure you explain things again if they don’t seem sure.

Don’t bombard customers with information

Mental fatigue can often disrupt and influence a customer’s decisions, especially during the long car buying process. Customers might even give up their search for the perfect car just to complete the process quicker. The finance element is a fundamental element of this process and it is usually comes toward the end of the conversation. With that in mind, consider how much information you’re giving customers and whether they’ve absorbed it all properly. Their concerns might be around having too many deals to choose from, additional costs or feeling under pressure to make a decision. They might need to take a break or talk about their finance options another time when they’re feeling refreshed and able to concentrate on the details.

But do explain all the options

Having said all that, you do need to explain all the options. Most customers considering finance will be looking at PCP or HP (see note above on acronyms), keep explanations straightforward but answer any questions fully and clearly. However, they may not have considered other options so if payments and lifestyle make it favourable, put it forward.

Time to think

Whilst most people will turn up at your dealership with firm views on the car they want to buy and how they intend to fund it, providing different options to consider is fine, more than that you are obliged to check that they are matched to the right product for their circumstances and give them time to consider their options. Even if they are sure they want to take advantage of dealer finance, there’s still plenty to take on board so give them space to mull it over.

Follow up with an explanatory email or video

Following up with an explanatory email or even a video to run through the finance options again is good practice. Video is being used extensively in dealership communications so a short explanatory video on different finance methods can both act as a refresher and relationship builder. Take a look at our PCP page for example, where customers can find a simple video explaining how the finance works. If you're a MotoNovo dealer, speak to your Account Manager about getting this and other videos for your website.

Be prepared to explain again

Some people may need further explanations in order for them to make their mind up so be prepared to take calls or facilitate a further meeting. It’s easy for us, we do it every day but for customers, some of whom may never have used automotive finance products in the past, it’s complicated.

Just remember the rule of thumb: keep it simple when talking turkey.

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