29 Oct Changing the F&I Stereotype for Good
For decades, car buyers have walked into the F&I office with a sense of dread and were always viewed with a wary eye and unfortunately, the reputation was well deserved.
Yes, times have changed. Regulatory compliance, layers of new paperwork, audits, and lawsuits have forced most F&I managers to clean up their collective act. How do you, the dealer, help change the stereotype in the eyes of your customers?
Here are some easy to implement strategies that will cast a new light on your F&I team –
- Proper Training – Gone are the days of just shadowing other F&I managers and picking up all of their bad habits. If your F&I managers are well versed in the latest professional sales techniques, compliance, and have a true grasp of buyer behavior, their presentation will result in higher sales.
- Know the Rules – If you want to erase the stereotype of the crooked, sleazy F&I manager, then simply execute an honest deal. Don’t stuff payments. Don’t hide products or misrepresent the value of a warranty. Disclose everything that needs to be disclosed. Answer questions from your customers honestly. Be transparent. Customers demand it now.
- Connect at A Higher Level – A proper customer introduction and interview are essential parts of the onboarding process for F&I and usually are aided in part by a strong sales staff. But there is one additional step that can make a big difference in how your F&I manager is viewed. Simple and effective conversation.
This helps the customer let their guard down and relax enough to help give some important insights for the F&I manager to zero in on to help sell them the RIGHT product. Connect with your customers and they will not only buy from you, but your CSI will increase as well.
- See F&I as the Pros They Are – The most successful dealerships with the highest PRU and CSI have F&I managers that are treated like true professionals, not just another ‘salesperson’. They are involved in training with sales staff and they are expected to carry themselves as any other manager would, with authority and integrity.
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of human behavior would tell you that if you treat someone with indifference, you will get the same in return. Treat your F&I managers as the valued professionals you want them to be and they will rise to that expectation. Too many dealers forget this step when building an F&I department.