Zero to Hero – How to Set Realistic Time Expectations in F&I

Zero to Hero – How to Set Realistic Time Expectations in F&I

Buying a car takes too long. Or so every customer says while complaining in the showroom.

In F&I, time is often not on your side, either. With deals stacked up on a busy Saturday, it can feel like the day is flying by but in reality, you could feel like you are not making what you really want on those deals. Deals are rushed, you are stressed, and the customers are frustrated…so much so that they take little if anything presented to them off the menu.

Is there a better way to manage the time expectation of the customers BEFORE they even come into the F&I office?

Yep…let’s take a closer look at some small but powerful strategies to help make sure the customers come in receptive and a little less stressed…

  • Sales Can Help: During weekly sales meetings, ask to speak on this. Tell them the talk tracks you would like them to use to get the customers ready for proper time expectations the minute they sign off on the buyer’s order.  If they are unsure what to tell the customers, have them simply call you to come out for a quick 1-2 minute introduction (which in theory you should be doing anyway) and explain to the customers that it may be an hour before you get them in and on their way.
  • Start Online: Digital retailing has been a growing channel within the dealership space since before COVID-19 but more so since. Consider a blog or article on the F&I page that walks the car shopper through the buying process from beginning to end with emphasis on how long parts of the process can take and why. 

Few dealers offer this level of ‘education’ about the buying process and it leaves customers frustrated and angry that it takes so long to take delivery. If they know upfront, it can set proper expectations before they ever come to the lot.

  • Under Promise/Over Deliver: This may sound counter-intuitive but there is an argument to be made for telling the customer the worst-case scenario when quoting how low it will take to get through the F&I process with you. You’ve heard the expression “Under promise, over deliver” …that could work here, too.

The best thing an F&I manager can do to help mitigate the biggest complaint most buyers have about the dealership experience is to help set those expectations as early as possible in the sales cycle and be the hero where you can with quicker service.

It’s always better to deal with disappointment early in the process than having the customer come in even more angry and dismissive of your presentation.