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6 Tips for F&I Managers

February 2008, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Ron Reahard

All of us seek role models, and we expect our role models’ lives to be an example of what they speak. Like it or not, co-workers and customers will believe what you do long before (and long after) they will believe what you say. Too often people who call themselves “managers” will say one thing, but do another. Leaders lead by example. They believe in what they say, they live what they believe and they become successful because their actions clearly demonstrate their values.

Like it or not, we’re all role models. As an F&I manager, your sales force will quickly determine whether you truly believe in your products, or whether you’re just trying to squeeze extra money out of customers. Being an F&I professional requires that you possess the qualities of someone worthy to be a role model: a positive attitude, a commitment to your craft and a genuine belief in your products. You can always tell you’re in the presence of an F&I professional by the way he or she treats every customer, as well as every co-worker. His or her primary goal in every interaction is to help the other person, not just themselves.

F&I professionals never brag about how much money they made on someone. F&I professionals know that when your focus is on helping customers, you don’t have to worry about making money; you’ll make more than you ever thought possible. To be an F&I professional, there are six things you need to stop (or start) doing, because whether you like it or not, you’re a role model.

1. STOP Disparaging Your Products

It’s amazing how many times I still hear F&I managers describe credit insurance as “choke and croak,” environmental protection as “mop and glow,” and theft deterrent products as “etch-a-sketch.” Denigrating your own products to anyone tells everyone you really don’t believe in them.

Remember, every F&I product we offer has real value for the customer. F&I professionals can reinforce this belief by telling the customer, “At this dealership we only offer F&I products we believe in.” You must demonstrate your belief in F&I products daily. It’s easy to tell whether or not an F&I manager really believes in his or her products. He or she buys them — all of them! If you don’t buy all of the products you sell, you’re telling every salesperson in the dealership you don’t believe in them.



  1. 1. Diane Dube [ February 05, 2013 @ 10:21AM ]

    Question for you I need an honest opinon. I have completed my employement with IBM after 18 years. My past experience at IBM and other companies prior has been in a sales environment as an Administraton Manager and Facility Manager with strong Customer relations and interaction. I love working as a team and looking for a different career and wonder if this F &. I position would be for me. I am very interested but before paying the course I really need to know if age is a factor in this industry. I am 62 but very energetic, some people say I have the personnality for this kind of job. Please tell me if I could work past 65 as an F @I ? Thank you for your opinion on this subject.

  2. 2. Bryan [ September 10, 2013 @ 05:41PM ]

    If I were to walk into IBM and ask for the best gig in the house without previously working for IBM or the industry as a whole, I would definitely not be considered for the position. This is a profession that most of us work most of our CAREERS for. Don't be tricked by the ridiculous articles on Yahoo, auto professional take our career very serious and it is laughable that you believe your experience would qualify you for the position. Like any other PROFESSION, you start at the bottom, prove yourself and then hope someone recognizes your efforts. Don't waste your money for the class and stick with something you know, too late in the game for the Finance and Insurance profession. Good luck with future endeavors.

  3. 3. Action Jackson [ November 10, 2013 @ 04:06AM ]

    Well said my friend. Start growing your business with these 6 pillars. A stronger foundation, you will not find. Never forget that today is a gift, don't waste it.

  4. 4. Brandon [ February 03, 2014 @ 07:36AM ]

    Diane. I am a professional as well. I went to an F&I school in Scottsdale, Az and had an F&I Director job 2 months later. Now I am a GM at a very successful dealership. Bryans answer reflects the old school car guys attitudes. They are afraid. Afraid of innovation. Afraid of compliance. Yes they take their careers serious, that doesn't mean you don't and won't. The new school of thinking is weeding the old school out of the business. If you made it in IBM you would probably be able to take Bryans job from him if you wanted to.

  5. 5. Calli [ February 03, 2014 @ 01:25PM ]

    First off I found this article helpful, for it gave me things to research further and some good ways to grow in the position. I just need some advise... I am 24 and have recently landed a job at a very small dealership as the F&I Manager. Amazing opportunity-right!? Long story short.. The dealership is in a very small community with a population of 2300. The dealership was sold to a new owner, and that was when I was hired on as the F&I manager(oct. 2013). I had no prior experience working in a dealership. I worked at an advertising agency previously selling ad space. Also, it's important for you to know that before the dealership was sold there was no F&I office. The salesman, also the owners of the dealership, sold the vehicles & did the paperwork. Never sold any extended warranties, financed, or leased vehicles. SO I started out knowing nothing with no examples to follow and it's my job to successfully sell products, do the paperwork, line up financing, etc...I feel like I have 25% of the whole puzzle...I'm learning everything as I go, trying to set up processes for everything.. Basically I just feel lost and like I'm hitting a wall. I take F&I training online through GM, study my manuals, and take a ton of notes on everything I do. I almost feel like I have all the knowledge but I am uncertain how to use it, and don't have any examples to follow other than my own.. I also have a ton of free time (the dealership has only been selling 10 vehicles a month) and I don't know how to best use my time. Any help, advise, encouragement would be appreciated.

  6. 6. Jeremy [ March 07, 2014 @ 12:09PM ] me at [email protected] I went through the same thing and after 10 years of experience in a "small" store I can help. There is a lot of potential. Trust me.

  7. 7. joe [ April 01, 2014 @ 09:20AM ]


    what school did you go to? how long was it and how much did it cost?

  8. 8. ingrid [ April 03, 2014 @ 08:17AM ]

    Um...I came to F&I, and the car business after 22 years in the restaurant industry and with a journalism degree. A friend sent me here to sell cars, a move I almost didn't make, then I sold cars for a month and very much enjoyed it and apparently I was pretty good at it too. our lead finance person asked for me to come to finance and our gm agreed, so here I am and I love it. its the gig I have been searching for all these years. a noob myself I can relate, there was a time I thought I just was not getting it, then I decided to just be me, learn the facts and such, understand the financing process, but over all BE YOURSELF, you will come out on top :)

  9. 9. Todd [ April 12, 2014 @ 07:13AM ]

    I believe Brandon went to ADI or the Automotive Dealership Institute in Scottsdale, AZ which is the only school of it's kind in the country. It's a 4week intensive course and from what I've read it costs $12,000. I am seriously considering going there in the future. Their website, facilities and credentials look great. They also offer lifetime job placement assistance in all 50 states. Let me know if anyone has any feedback on this school. I have a Bachelors degree with a major in finance and have worked in the Auto industry a while back for about a year and a half. The F&I position sounds like a perfect fit for me.

  10. 10. Todd [ April 12, 2014 @ 07:15AM ]

    I believe Brandon went to ADI or the Automotive Dealership Institute in Scottsdale, AZ which is the only school of it's kind in the country. It's a 4 week intensive course and from what I've read it costs $12,000. I am seriously considering going there in the future. Their website, facilities and credentials look great. They also offer lifetime job placement assistance in all 50 states. Let me know if anyone has any feedback on this school. I have a Bachelors degree with a major in finance and have worked in the Auto industry a while back for about a year and a half. The F&I position sounds like a perfect fit for me.

  11. 11. Luke B [ May 14, 2014 @ 08:48AM ]

    calli, my name is Luke and I was a lot tech out of college (bachelors in applies sciences) but had to secure a job quickly...I then did sales for 1.5 years and became the internet manager for a year. I then became F and I manager and learned from one of the best in the business. As he is set to retire next month and I will be the new HEAD of F and I (and only being in this office for a little over a year) I should be able to help give you some pointers and go over things with as well. My email is [email protected] Email if you have questions on something and I will be happy to help

  12. 12. Tiffany [ May 30, 2014 @ 07:27AM ]

    I came from the investment world and landed a job in F&I. I was trained at the dealership and they are paying for the AFIP training. I didn't need to go to a class that cost me thousands. Be careful about spending money doing that. If you are personable, honest, and have a finance background you will get hired.

  13. 13. Todd [ May 30, 2014 @ 09:27AM ]


    Thanks for your input. I appreciate it. May I ask how you got your foot in the door for an interview and ultimately the position without any F&I experience? I have over 8 years in the investment industry and about 2 1/2 years in sales. Also would you mind telling me what state you are in? Thanks

  14. 14. Jacob [ July 02, 2014 @ 02:31PM ]

    I went to ADI in 2008 and never got any assistance in finding a job after the course was over. I felt like it was a waste, AFIP is $1000 for their online course and feel its more credible then ADI. If I were you I would do AFIP and apply like crazy be ready to move. I went to ADI and have experience, and been trying to get into the Vegas market for almost a year now. My wife and I decided Vegas is where we would like to end up at but been pulling my hair out just to get me name in front of GMs there. If anyone knows anyone in the Vegas market please get me in contact with them. [email protected]

  15. 15. Todd [ July 02, 2014 @ 03:06PM ]

    Thanks for the input Jacob. I'm curious...are you one of ADI's testimonials on their website?

  16. 16. Jacob [ July 02, 2014 @ 05:28PM ]

    I am one of the testimonials from Oct 2008. Don't get me wrong the class you'll learn a lot but nothing that you can't learn from AFIP and internet for a fraction of the cost. As far as job placement they make you a resume and add job listings on their site and thats about the just of it. As far as interviewing for a position I believe you must be confident, assertive, loyal, and willing to learn thats my philosophy. Yet I am having trouble getting into the Vegas market so maybe I am doing something wrong.

  17. 17. Todd [ July 03, 2014 @ 12:13PM ]

    Thanks for the information. I noticed with a discount AFIP with shipping and handling comes out to $787. The issue is that it seems experience for this role is a must to get your foot in the door. I have about a year and a half of auto sales experience, but it was over 10 years ago. I totally agree about the interviewing traits. How did you get your first job and how much F&I experience do you have? Did you have previous auto sales experience?

  18. 18. Todd [ August 05, 2014 @ 05:50AM ]

    Any tips for a newbie getting into Powersports F&I? I appreciate anyone's input.

  19. 19. Lola L [ August 13, 2014 @ 11:06AM ]

    Hello everyone,

    I am interested in becoming F&I Manager as well. I have B.S. in Accounting and years of experience in Finance field. What is the best training and how to get a foot in the door? Any suggestions, advise? Anyone completed AFIP courses? Thank you so much.

  20. 20. Samantha M [ September 19, 2014 @ 09:55AM ]

    I was recently hired on as the F&I manager for a huge motorcycle shop. I went in to interview for a sales postion and was offered the F&I department. I think presence, timing and the person hiring you to see your potiential plays a huge part.

  21. 21. Caren [ September 30, 2014 @ 09:12AM ]

    Calli's comment really resonated with me; especially the "I had no prior experience working in a dealership..." and "I feel like I have 25% of the whole puzzle...I'm learning everything as I go, trying to set up processes for everything," I have no F&I experience and am currently the F&I Manager at a small RV dealership. The earning potential is there, but I am afraid there are huge gaps in my knowledge and skills base. I realize the RV industry is different from the auto dealership industry, but perhaps your readers could help point me in the right direction. Of course, advice and encouragement would be appreciated!

  22. 22. JEFF [ October 09, 2014 @ 04:29PM ]

    I just wanted to make a few comments to those of you coming from another field,namely Accounting and Finance outside of the auto industry,please understand the F&I position is a sales position... It can and should yeild one between $100,000 and $250,000 per year depending on what area of the country you live,size of the dealership and if you can become a Director or not.That said,that level of income does not come easy... you have to start by selling cars(in my opion for at least 1to1.5 years)know what salespeople have to endure,if you can excel at that(and I mean 18 to 20 cars per month) will be noticed and asked to move to the next level. then listen and learn from others, go to every seminar you can,watch videos read books all of it invest in yourself!! ...success will NOT happen over night,PUT THE TIME is well worth it.

  23. 23. Caren [ November 18, 2014 @ 02:23PM ]

    It seems from various reader comments that a lot of dealerships seem to be hiring their F&I Managers outside of the industry. I think that supports a previous comment posted by Brandon, that said: "The new school of thinking is weeding the old school out of the business." My background is that I have a BA in Liberal Studies (elementary schoolteacher, as yet uncredentialed). I was filling in for two weeks in marketing when I was offered the F&I position at the dealership I'm at, even though I had voiced my doubts to the owner that I'd never done this kind of work before. His answer was, "We're tired of working with people who bring their bad habits and outdated ideas." So there you have it:)

  24. 24. David [ December 14, 2014 @ 10:07PM ]

    As long as the elementary school teacher can learn to overcome costumers telling him "no" a lot it shouldn't be a bit stressful. The dealership's biggest grossing dept is f/i which don't just come easy btw. You must be fast thinking on your feet knowing what a customer is going to say and why. Not everyone is up for the challenge believe me. It takes a certain kind of person to work in the car business. To endure all the long hours, all the weekends, all the kids baseball and basketball games you miss working in this business. And to really be great you work these crazy hours to gain EXPERIENCE. Learn what it takes to be a great closer and then maybe you somehow get a chance. F/I is the level where you want to ultimately want to get to. I went to no special school. I just eventually worked my way to the top. Hard work pays off and trust me, the inground pool in the backyard is convenient, but is by no means easy or something in my opinion something you can learn in a 4 week course. I've seen a lot of guys come in to the business with degrees and fail miserably just the same as people without a degree. So say what you want, but confidence is key and that comes from experience in my opinion. This is all coming from a guy that started from the bottom and now lives in a big house and has done extremely well for someone with no course certificate or degree. Im in no way saying its bad. Its just not what was influential on me personally for becoming a successful F/I Manager.

  25. 25. Gene McCannon [ December 31, 2014 @ 06:56PM ]

    I have 19 years experience in the car business from sales, sales management and as a buyer. I am looking for an opportunity on the west coast but am open to other possibilities. I am currently in Las Vegas where I was a wholesale buyer for 3 years. [email protected]

  26. 26. Jennie [ March 28, 2015 @ 11:32AM ]

    Oh My Goodness!! Help! I have been reading all of the comments and I feel so lost. I have landed the only F&I position at a small powersports dealership with no experience and no training.. It is a lot of the same that Calli was talking about.. Small town, sales persons were doing all of the paperwork. I am learning what I have to do from a sales person.. I went to a titling class this week and the teacher said that I have to have a sales licence to sign any paperwork.. WHAT? I am so confused.. Do I need to pay for training? What do I do with my free time? Do I get my sales licence? I need some serious help.

  27. 27. Dixie Ray [ May 16, 2015 @ 02:51PM ]

    HI EVERYONE, I have been in the field for close to 20 years, and if you are able to get into F&I and handle it successfully it can be a career. One of the key elements is to train your sales people to bring you in early in the deal. Teach them not to quote rate, or terms, and inspect what you expect from them. IF they bring you paperwork that is incomplete, no stock numbers, no driver's license, halfway filled out worksheets, then you need to send it back. It will only take a few times for them to get the message. Accurate information is imperative to your ability to do your job. I am currently in the RV Industry and it is different in many ways, but the ultimate goal is to make sure your customers have that safety net around them when they leave. I have a power point presentation I created several years ago that I use to help train new F&I and if any one wants it, email me and I will share it. Feel free to call me for training, I have no issue with sharing knowledge, tips, and pointers to help others become more successful.
    Take care

  28. 28. Damian [ May 19, 2015 @ 01:36PM ]

    I am also a graduate of ADI, Automotive Dealership Institute. I took ADI's course back in 2011 with no car dealership background. I used to be a restaurant manager for 19 years. Upon graduating from class they did a new resume for me, prepped me for the job interviews and I was hired at a VW store in Seattle exactly 3 weeks after graduating. I didn't have to move to another city and it was only my 9th interview. I must disagree with Jacob's comments about ADI not helping with setting up interviews, five of the nine interviews were set up by ADI and they were unadvertised positions based on their contacts. I will however must add that I was also very aggressive with my follow ups after every one of the nine interviews. In summary, if I didn't go to ADI I would be where I am now. I also got myself AFIP Certification but AFIP doesn't teach you how to do the F&I Job, it only tests you on state and federal laws.

  29. 29. gabriel [ May 20, 2015 @ 02:19PM ]

    You want to get into F&I best advice start on the floor. The biggest problem with people jumping into management position from other industries is that they don't have a proper grounding on how much hard work, time, and sacrifice is put into making the car buying experience profitable and pleasurable. Secondly how will you connect with your sales people and understand how to work efficiently if the most exposure you've ever had in the car business was from a back office. Wake up from those fairy tales get at least two years of auto sales experience prove you can make some money on the floor or even last in the business. Earn your right to that back office.


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