The Industry's Leading Source For F&I, Sales And Technology

Article

Lights, Camera, Action!

September 2013, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gregory Arroyo - Also by this author

The third installment of the  Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS)-sponsored F&Idol contest touted several firsts. For the first time, two participants won multiple product categories — both whom work for the same dealer group. And for the first time, female producers outnumbered their male counterparts as category winners.

In July, readers of F&I and Showroom magazine were asked to submit their best on-camera pitch in the following categories: Vehicle Service Contract, Tire & Wheel, Key Replacement, F&I Product for Lease Customers and an open category. Entries had to be less than five minutes in length, and contestants were required to address at least two customer objections on camera. 

Submissions were reviewed by a panel of seven judges, including Bob Corbin of IAS, F&I and Showroom’s Gregory Arroyo and Mad Marv Eleazer, F&I trainer Rick McCormick of Reahard & Associates, Great Lakes Companies’ Steve Veldkamp, Reynolds and Reynolds Co.’s Terry O’Loughlin, and United Development Systems’ Randy Crisorio. 

In a surprise outcome, a single contestant from Michigan claimed two out of the five product categories and tied in a third, resulting in $2,500 in cash winnings. A second category, hailing form the same Michigan-based dealer group, won one category outright and tied for another, bringing his total winnings to $1,500. The third category winner makes her home in Maryland. She received $1,000 for winning the Vehicle Service Contract category. Here’s a look at this year’s finalists, one of whom will be selected by attendees of Industry Summit 2013 as the winner of the 2013 F&Idol title and $2,500.


Stephanie Cooper, F&I producer for Cumberland, Md.-based Timbrook Automotive, won the Vehicle Service Contract category and a $1,000 cash prize.
Stephanie Cooper, F&I producer for Cumberland, Md.-based Timbrook Automotive, won the Vehicle Service Contract category and a $1,000 cash prize.

Stephanie Cooper

Store: Timbrook Automotive, Cumberland, Md.

Years in Business: 4.5

Years at Current Dealership: 4.5

Claim to Fame: She averages 1.3 products per deal and claims a 51 percent acceptance rate on service contracts. 

Keys to Success: I attribute a great deal of my success to Owner Fred Timbrook, who believed in me and presented me with such an amazing opportunity to work for his family of dealerships. At Timbrook Automotive, we take an honest and up-front approach to dealing with our customers. We treat everyone with the same high standards. I’ve also received a great deal of support from Colvill Omanwa at Resource Automotive, Finance Director Dina Wilson, Sales Manager Dave Lindsey and a strong sales team. Lastly, consistency is important, and my product presentation is the same on every deal. We follow a process and the process works.

Vehicle Service Contracts

Customer Objection: The payment is too high.

Cooper: I understand. You are probably on a budget, correct? Can I share something with you? Are you familiar with affixed versus variable payment? Your variable payment is going to represent your payment without the platinum plan coverage at $450 a month. Four years from now, let’s say your air conditioner breaks. It’s July and it’s hot; how much do you think that air conditioner will cost you? [Customer responds, “$3,000.”] Yes, probably $3,000. That month you’re going to pay for your air conditioner, which is $3,000, and your $450 car payment. So you’re actually going to spend $3,450 that month.

Let’s compare that to a fixed payment plan. Your fixed will represent your payment with the platinum plan at $480 a month. The difference in this situation is that we’re going to pay that $3,000 for you. Do you see it will be easier to come up with the $480 that month than $3,450? Would you like to take advantage of Option A or Option B?

Customer Objection: Well, the warranty is enough.   

Cooper: I can understand that. Kia does have the leading industry warranty as far as manufacturers. Let me ask you a question: Let’s say you’re leaving today and your vehicle had no warranty. How much of a discount would you want off the price? [Customer responds, “$5,000.”] If you’re willing to spend $5,000 for the 10-year, 100,000 mile limited, powertrain coverage, doesn’t it make sense to pay $2,699 for seamless coverage the entire time you own your vehicle?


Jeremy Johnston’s prepaid maintenance pitch won in the “Other” category for the second year in a row. The F&I producer from The Suburban Collection also tied in the Tire & Wheel category.
Jeremy Johnston’s prepaid maintenance pitch won in the “Other” category for the second year in a row. The F&I producer from The Suburban Collection also tied in the Tire & Wheel category.

Jeremy Johnston

Store: Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, Mich.

Years in Business: 11

Years at Current Dealership: 3

Claim to Fame: He averages just short of two products per deal and claims a 35 percent acceptance rate on prepaid maintenance. His PVR is just north of a thousand.

Keys to Success: Johnston said he is always in direct contact with the service department and with the CRM system. He considers it a great tool because he can see how much customers save when they opt for the protections he offers. Additionally, Johnston is a big fan of Grant Cardone and listens to his closing CDs four times a week.

In addition, working at several dealerships has inspired Johnston to mold himself into a combined total of everyone he has learned from. At his dealer now, he believes he has the best staff available, with top-notch managers and great resources. When discussing tire-and-wheel protection, Johnston says it basically sells itself if you can relate it to the customer’s experience.

Other (Prepaid Maintenance)

Customer Objection: That sounds expensive to me.

Johnston: That is a lot of money, Sarah. Let me justify $899 if I could, please. Sarah, every time you bring your car in for an oil change, this means that over the next eight visits, you’re going to spend about $360. For safety inspections, the first one runs $80, the second one runs $100, the third one runs $80 and the last is $100. Right there, we are at $360. This means you’ll spend $720 on oil, lube, filters, tire rotations and safety inspections.

And if you need to replace a wiper blade, that’s $160. Belts and hoses will cost $100. If you need a brake replacement on your vehicle, that could be over $200. Your clutch is another big one at $400. Sarah, you’re looking at spending about $1,600 over the course of five years. Sarah, $899, doesn’t that make sense just to take care of it today?

Tire and Wheel

Customer Objection: I think that’s pricey.

Johnston: I can see where you’re coming from. Sarah, do me a favor. Sit back and relax for a second. Have you ever traveled on Hall Road? OK, then close your eyes. You’re driving into work and it’s a nice 62 degree day out. You’ve got your radio up listening to house music, sunroof down, windows cracked a little. You look over and you see a nice looking guy checking out your car. You look back at him, give him a little nod. Then you look back and notice the car in front swerve a little bit.

That lady just swerved out of the way of a pothole. You had your eyes off the road for a second. You just damaged your nice rims on the vehicle. Take a look at this, what’s that number? That’s [referring to spreadsheet on the desk] $1,031.27. That’s what your rim is going to cost you — and that’s one rim. Now remember, you can use this as many times as you want. It’s $699 the way you have your loan set up, or $9 a month. That’s less than a couple gallons of gas a week to protect your $1,000-plus item on your vehicle. What do you think about $9 a month to cover your rims and tires?  


Candy Serra became the first F&Idol contestant to win two categories and tie for a third. She serves as an F&I manager for Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, Mich., which is operated by The Suburban Collection. 
Candy Serra became the first F&Idol contestant to win two categories and tie for a third. She serves as an F&I manager for Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, Mich., which is operated by The Suburban Collection. 
Candy Serra

Store: Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, Michigan

Years in Business: 18

Years at Current Dealership: 3

Keys to Success: Serra gives credit to The Suburban Collections F&I Director Gary Allgeier. When she first started in finance, she remembers Allgeier talking to the team about the 300 Percent Rule: “Present 100 percent of the products to 100 percent of the customers 100 percent of the time, period!” It’s a rule she’s followed ever since.

Serra says she tries to be as thorough as possible when working with customers. That’s what she’d want if she was on the other side of the desk, she adds.

Your Comment

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
Your Name:  
Your Email:  

Blog

So Here's the Deal

Ronald J. Reahard
Sold But Not Closed

By Ronald J. Reahard
An F&I manager from Atlanta had a service contract sold to a cash customer — that’s until he went for more. The magazine’s resident F&I pro weighs in.

(Video) Measuring Up

By Ronald J. Reahard
Top trainer has a three-part answer for an F&I newbie who wants to know how he measures up against his peers.

It's OK to Be Nervous

By Ronald J. Reahard

(Video) Have a Real Conversation

By Ronald J. Reahard

Done Deal

Gregory Arroyo
What's Really Behind the Subprime Pullback?

By Gregory Arroyo
One F&I insider says there’s more to the subprime pullback than the recent uptick in delinquencies. He says regulators are the real reason finance sources are so risk-averse.

What’s Your Take?

By Gregory Arroyo
The editor provides an up-close look at the topics he hopes to cover during his Industry Summit 2017 panel session. He’d also like to hear your take on these hot-button issues.

Connecting the Dots

By Gregory Arroyo

See You in Big D

By Gregory Arroyo

Mad Marv

Marv Eleazer
The Little Things

By Marv Eleazer
Reading about one of the first-known cybercrimes gets His Madness thinking about how small issues can morph into big problems.

Industry Summit: It’s Worth the Investment

By Marv Eleazer
Reflecting on the returns of a well-trained service technician, His Madness has a message for dealers who think F&I training isn’t worth the investment.

6 Ways to Deliver Exceptional Service

By Marv Eleazer

Doing Our Part

By Marv Eleazer

On the Point

Jim Ziegler
Sharpen Your Survival Skills

By Jim Ziegler
‘Da Man’ has a plan you can use to survive the collapse of the car business and remain profitable through the dealer apocalypse.

Sales Rock Stars Still Exist

By Jim Ziegler
Da Man says $40,000-a-month sales rock stars still exist. He says you’ll find them on YouTube and Facebook Live.

The New Stooges

By Jim Ziegler

Is Your Quick Lube Driving Away Business?

By Jim Ziegler