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Certification & Training

F&I’s High-Value Role in the Dealership

June 2006, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Ronald J. Reahard - Also by this author

“People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy!”

— Jeffrey Gitomer, The Little Red Book of Selling

 

The real key to success in any endeavor is to become valuable. The more valuable you are, the more successful you become and the more money you make. Want to increase your income? Get promoted? Own your own dealership? Then become more valuable.

 

Your ability to sell products — and ultimately your income — is tied directly to your value to your dealer, the sales department, your lenders, and most importantly, your customers.

 

I can always tell when I’m in the presence of valuable F&I managers. I can tell by the way they treat customers, by the way they treat their lenders and by the way they treat their teammates. Their primary goal in every interaction is to help the other person, not just themselves.

 

Support the Dealership, Train Your Teammates

Certainly, an F&I manager’s income per retail unit determines to a great degree his or her value to the dealership. However, customer satisfaction with the F&I experience also dramatically increases (or decreases) an F&I manager’s value. No matter how much income an F&I manager generates, no dealer today will tolerate dissatisfied customers. Successful dealers know it’s not just about making a lot of money one month; it’s about creating customers for life.

 

You greatly increase your value when you help protect the dealership. This is done by ensuring everyone is familiar with the laws and regulations regarding credit information, payment quotes and interest rates. Everyone involved in the sales process is responsible to comply with Reg. Z, Reg. M, the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Patriot Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Credit Practices Rule, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, etc.

 

Not only must F&I professionals be familiar with these laws and regulations, but they should continually train salespeople and managers to ensure they are also in compliance when obtaining a credit application, pulling a credit bureau report and negotiating the sale or quoting payments. A huge part of being a valuable F&I professional is continually training your teammates to protect the dealership from potential litigation.

 

One of the best ways you can increase your value to the dealership is to become AFIP Certified by the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals. The AFIP Certification Program consists of college-level courses focusing on the federal and state regulations that impact every dealership and F&I manager on a daily basis. These courses are designed to ensure F&I professionals are familiar with the legal and ethical guidelines they need to know to perform their job within the confines of the law. AFIP Certification clearly demonstrates your commitment to your profession, intent to comply with all laws and regulations, and ability to conduct yourself in accordance with the highest standards of ethical conduct.

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