Running a Soft Credit Check at Your Dealership Can Improve Leads

soft credit check

Help your customers find the cars they need that also fit with their financial circumstances by performing a soft credit check before they’ve even given financing a thought.

Customers often come into a pre-owned car dealership without much of an idea as to whether or not they’ll qualify for financing, or if they do, how much. When they see the lot, their eyes get big, and a bit of giddiness sets in as they imagine finding the perfect ride and closing the deal today. You may not be able to spot these people immediately, but a soft credit check can help.

There are several obvious benefits to a soft credit check. It can help build trust and manage a customer’s expectations. It also shows them that you care about their credit (hard checks affect credit score; more on that in a moment) and that you want to get them the best price possible without them having to sacrifice the car they want.

There’s another bonus, though:

Find out how a soft credit check can actually help you improve your lead management!

Soft credit check versus hard credit check

The most significant difference between a soft credit check and a hard credit check is that the former won’t affect a customer’s credit score. This can be huge for some customers if they’re already struggling with not-the-best credit. Since a soft check implies that the customer didn’t put in a credit application, it doesn’t raise any red flags about a consumer’s potential risk.

One tip: While a soft check works as a sort of background check, you might want to make it clear to customers that you’ll still need to run hard check when it comes time to buy. (A hard check is the only way creditors will approve a new credit application.) However, you can reassure them that a single hard check likely won’t have significant consequences to their score as long as they haven’t had any other hard checks in a while.

Soft checks and lead management

To run a soft credit check, you may only need as little as the lead’s name and address. That information isn’t helpful for lead management, but the information that comes back certainly is. Just as if you were checking your own credit report, the soft check will give you information about open loans and other lines of credit, as well as payment history, collections history (if any), and a person’s credit score.

This information can be very telling about a lead, especially if they’re new. You get a glimpse into their credit history, whether or not they use a lot of credit or just enough, and how many accounts they have open. A salesperson can use this information to better understand which cars might best suit the customer’s circumstances, improving the chances of closing a sale right from the start.

A soft credit check may also be very appealing to your leads, making them more likely to give you their business. Not only will it give the customer an idea from the beginning about what they can afford and what they can’t, but as mentioned, it also shows that your salespeople don’t want to put any dings on a credit report until they absolutely have to.

The process just got even easier

Worried that running soft checks will be a burden? Don’t bother. If you’re an AutoRaptor customer, we’ve partnered with 700Credit, a leading source of credit reporting for the auto industry, to help you run soft checks seamlessly with just a few clicks of a button, in addition to all the other great features our automotive CRM offers.

Not a customer yet? Never fear. Your dealership can integrate a soft credit check system with your website, putting the information you need right at your fingertips and laying a foundation for lead management with any information you collect from a potential buyer. For more information on 700Credit services and integrations, click here.

Everybody wins

Ultimately, running soft checks on leads will simplify the sales process from your end while also giving customers peace of mind that you’re not just trying to make a sale without regard for their well-being. With the background information, you’ll be able to offer customers cars that fit their needs and their budgets, and if all goes well, they’ll be able to drive off the lot even happier than when they drove in.

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Ty W.
Ty W.

Ty was born and raised in the automotive world. He's an enthusiastic expert who writes exquisite content about cars, automotive sales, and dealership best practices. When not writing for AutoRaptor, you'll find Ty on the golf course.