16 May It’s Not All About Dollars & Cents in F&I – Making a Human Connection Matters Too.
The F&I department of your dealership is tasked with making up a substantial amount of revenue every month and in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever to help recover the bottom line.
But that doesn’t mean your F&I staff can’t approach every customer with empathy and a true human connection in a time of intense uncertainty as the country slowly tries to come back to normal. Everyone is anxious and almost everyone has been touched or affected by this crisis in some way.
What strategies can your staff use now that can help increase product penetration, strengthen CSI, and still make buyers feel like you’ve got their back?
- Don’t start selling right away. I know…time is always a problem in F&I. Deals take long enough, right? True, but the little bit of extra time you take to make a connection with the customer will pay off.
Ask how they are faring with the lockdown. Share a personal story about how you are handling it. Be appreciative that they came out in all this craziness to buy a car from you. The ‘selling’ can wait, at least for a few minutes.
- Offer F&I products that are different, that help the customer in a more direct way. Roadside Assistance and even identity theft protection are things that help give the customers help beyond just protecting the car they bought.
- Follow up after they leave the dealership. This is an approach that is used far too little and yet when done properly, can result in higher CSI, lower chargebacks, and increased referrals. Salespeople follow up within days after the purchase…why isn’t your F&I staff doing the same? A call or email goes a long way.
F&I has had the worst reputation over the last few decades. Car shoppers consistently say that this is the part of the process they hate the most. Back in the day it was all about sleazy sales tactics and less-than-ethical product stuffing. But if the F&I focus is on coming from a place of service first, the profits will follow.
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