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Dealers want advice and relationships

Capital Bank is analysing feedback from dealers after the first of a nationwide programme of forums focusing on the decline in point-of-sale finance.

Initial findings show that dealers are eager for more assistance as they try to build finance revenue to offset the effects of tight car sale margins.

The main needs are simple: dealers want consultancy and advice that impacts on their bottom line. And they have also expressed a wish to build long-term relationships with finance houses.

That will happen only if finance companies win dealers’ confidence.

Sewells’ 2006 report into finance companies revealed widespread disillusion-ment with the frequency and quality of contacts.

Dealer feedback demonstrates they value strategic counsel from experts who know how to improve their business. They want advice on topics from helping to tackle skills shortages, reduced margins, new legislation and competition from direct lenders, to profitability and negative equity.

Dealers explained their finance needs to Peter Cottle, senior director at Capital Bank, and Iain Prescott, Capital Bank’s regional director for Scotland.

They said their choice of lender was based on the wider range of services that could benefit their business. These include wholesale funding, sales training and other sales resources.

Equally the ability to improve customer retention by being proactive was seen as a high value ingredient of any dealer and finance house relationship.

The dealers also discussed contracts and the benefits of long-term contracts, which they said could be beneficial to both sides. But that was dependent on the provision of the right measurements and evaluations to ensure the relationship remained mutually profitable, active and forward thinking.

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