Many car shoppers zero in less on the sticker price and more on what the monthly payments will be.

Scribbling numbers on a piece of paper and sliding it over to a customer is a traditional way for a car salesperson to present payment-plan options. A more modern way is to do it digitally, says Dealer.com, touting enhancements to its customer-relationship management software.

The firm says its updated Pencil Tool simplifies and speeds up negotiations, allowing dealers to accurately and quickly show several different payment options after entering a vehicle’s price and other data, such as the trade-in allowance.

“Customers tend to be more interested in the monthly loan or lease payment, and this lets the dealer present several options that are neatly printed out and easy to understand,” says Alex Snyder, Dealer.com’s senior director-product design, who oversaw the system upgrade.

“Pencil Tool figures out what’s the hot spot,” he tells WardsAuto. “The customer says ‘yes’ to a deal faster.”

The enhanced software eliminates the need for repeated data entries, says Snyder, former e-commerce director at his family’s Checkered Flag dealership group in Virginia.

Another Dealer.com CRM upgrade is a digital desklog. It allows dealership management to track customer contact throughout the buying process.

“These CRM components are a major leap forward for us,” says Rick Gibbs, Dealer.com president and chief technical officer, noting that dealer input helped shape product development to meet real-world needs.

Quicker access to information will “help us sell more cars,” says Matt Browning, partner with Browning Automotive Group.

Dealer.com says a growing number of dealers are using CRM features to expedite negotiations, satisfy customer demands for greater transparency and eliminate the need for a salesman to tell a prospective, “Let me step out and talk to my manager.”

sfinlay@wardsauto.com