12 Dec

Do you want to improve your sales, increase collections and protect your dealership by enhancing compliance? Of course you do. The key to doing all of the above is being consistent.


Do you use a step-by-step sales process or do your sales people just kind of wing it with each customer? If you don’t have a step-by-step process, how do you know what is being said to your customers or whether they are being properly handled? How do you properly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your sales staff?

A structured and consistent sales process helps ensure that each customer receives a complete presentation. Make sure your process includes a proper meet and greet, qualification, presentation of the vehicle and your dealership’s financing program, and introduction to the dealership manager. Your underwriting process should include a thorough application, verification of the information the potential customer provides you, and careful review of the customer’s current budget to make sure they can afford your car payment. For more information on the importance of a high-quality application, read this blog post.

Every potential customer should be logged.  Your UP log should include tracking each customer through the steps in your sales process. There is an old saying, “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” If you don’t track the progress of each prospective customer through your system, you will have no way of knowing where your process is breaking down. With proper tracking, you will be able to see the weak points of each sales person so you can provide additional training. This will improve both their performance and your overall sales results.


Do you have regulated policies and procedures implemented to structure your collections process? Do collectors have guidelines they must follow or do your collection efforts change every day? How can you evaluate your collection effectiveness and control collection expense if you have no standards your collectors are expected to adhere to?

For both compliance and efficiency reasons, you need to have written policies and procedures regarding collections that your collectors are expected to follow. Consistency in both how you address past due accounts and what arrangements you make with delinquent customers can be critical to your collections success. For example, there is a tendency among many collectors to want to resolve your most delinquent accounts first. They sometimes spend so much time trying to track down and contact these customers that they don’t have enough time left in the day to call the newest past due accounts. A better system might be to work the freshest delinquency first because these are the easiest to resolve. A consistent system and written guidelines provides better organization of your collections.

A documented collections process also ensures that all customers are treated in a consistent manner. Standards for payment agreements or account rewrites help promote consistency in your collections efforts. It also provides a framework for evaluating your collectors. If all collectors are expected to follow your guidelines and perform in the same manner, it is easier to evaluate their performance, provide training where needed and improve your collection results.


One of the most important attributes in making sure your dealership stays compliant with the various rules and regulations affecting the car business is consistency. First, consistent sales and collections processes help make sure you don’t skip any part of those processes dealing with compliance. For example, if every salesperson is basically doing their own thing, how do you know if they properly verified the customer’s identity or disclosed your privacy policy?

Second, consistency is critical in making sure you avoid any kind of discrimination. Failure to take every sales customer or conduct collections in exactly the same way can open you up to expensive discrimination lawsuits. Virtually every customer I ever took to court to try to collect money they owed claimed they were being treated differently and unfairly. Because I had structured processes and kept thorough notes of every attempt to contact them, I never lost in court.

Enforcement of compliance regulations is increasing with every passing day. Several of the regulations require written compliance plans. Having written policies and procedures documenting all the processes in your operation will be critical if the regulators show up to inspect your dealership. For more on dealership compliance, click here and here.

Dealerships with clear and comprehensive sales and collections processes are better organized and easier to manage. Employees are actually happier with guidelines to help them understand their jobs better. These dealers tend to sell more cars and collect more money.

Isn’t it worth a little of your time to put your policies and procedures on how you want your dealership to run on paper to achieve better results for years and avoid costly lawsuits?