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Mad Marv

The Slump Cure

October 29, 2010

It happens to everyone. You wake up one morning and realize your numbers have tanked — your profit per vehicle retailed (PVR), profit per contract, and service contract and GAP acceptance rates. Even worse, every customer you see seems to go by the same name: Mr. or Mrs. No. When this happens, it’s highly likely your month-end commission check also will have hit the skids.

Making matters worse, your general manager or dealer is on your back about your inability to get deals approved and funded in a timely manner. The salespeople are losing confidence in you, so the turnover percentage has dropped, and you’re wondering what the heck is going on.

How did you fall into this slump? What caused you to veer off course? Well, it’s time for some self-analysis and honest introspection.

The first step is to acknowledge that something has to change. Next, you need to take responsibility for your own actions. With that out of the way, let’s delve deeper into the source of your problems.

Much like the game of baseball, F&I is all about numbers. If you have a strategy in place and you’re consistent with your presentation, results will follow. So, first things first, have you disregarded this time-tested philosophy? If you have, then it’s an easy fix. If not, let’s keep going. 

Sometimes, slumps are born out of those moments when our personal lives creep into our professional lives. It could be a troubled relationship, financial woes or any number of other things that might be pressing upon your psyche. The key here is to separate your personal life from your professional one.

I know, easier said than done, but I don’t know anyone who can focus on the task at hand when his or her mind is distracted with troubles. It’s up to you to decide if your most recent performance is going to be the status quo or if you’re going to work your way out of your slump. No trainer, self-help book or guru can do this for you. This is something you have to do on your own.

Now, there are other factors that might be affecting you, such as the dissension of staffers or co-management. Let me offer you a few words of reality: It ain’t going to get better by itself.

So, now that we’ve looked at possible sources of your slump, let’s talk about how to get you out of one. First, are you still monitoring your performance? It’s easy not to when you hit a rough patch. I’ll also bet you’re not rehashing borderline deals with your lenders or being very effective at working the customer for better deal structure.

To turn things around, you must first commit yourself to changing your mind-set. Next, revisit the things that made you successful in the first place. It’s highly likely you are using your menu ineffectively or without enthusiasm, which means you’re probably resorting to canned word-tracks. If that’s what’s going on, stop! To be successful at presenting the menu, you need to be yourself, use your language and speak in terms the customer understands.

Speaking of the menu, one of the worst things you can do is use it discriminately or ineffectively. If you don’t have one, I suggest you stop what you’re doing and get busy implementing one at your store. If you don’t know where to begin, I’ll be happy to recommend a few companies.

One other thing, simply having the customer sign a declination/waiver form is NOT selling F&I.

Another thing you can do is pull last year’s reports to see how you’re faring. This exercise will help you identify areas of weak penetrations. From there, you can examine your processes to see where things might need to be improved.

The intent here is to get you to once again demand excellence from yourself. To do that, you need to expect to improve and then inspect what you expect. That means analyzing every deal you complete, making notes to yourself on what can be improved, admitting your mistakes, acknowledging your successes, and, most importantly, praising the people who helped. Remember, you don’t operate on an island, so change your attitude to one of solidarity with your staff.

Remember, you’re the only person who can change your situation. And that all starts with attitude. When times get tough, remember that you got promoted to the F&I office because your general manager or dealer saw something far above average in you. You are one of the best of the best, so start demanding more from yourself once again.

Marv Eleazer is the finance manager at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Ga. He can be reached at marv.eleazer@
bobit.com.

Comments

  1. 1. Kristi [ November 09, 2010 @ 09:44AM ]

    Wow. Did you write that specifically for me? Thank you. Very much what I needed.

  2. 2. Alex Robinson [ February 22, 2014 @ 09:33AM ]

    Thanks for another great one, Marv. Think conferencing with other people and training never hurt, either.

  3. 3. Mad Marv [ February 22, 2014 @ 12:43PM ]

    Great to hear from you again, Alex. Networking with like minded people is one of the best methods of quick and effective training. It's straight to the point and it's real time. That's why I spent a lot of time with others when I get the chance.

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Author Bio

Marv Eleazer

Finance Director

Marv is no insider. He’s an actual F&I manager with more than 20 years of experience. Get his from-the-trenches take on the industry every month at fi-magazine.com.

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