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Becoming the Ideal F&I Manager

The call for transparency is giving rise to one type of F&I manager and forcing two others into extinction. The magazine’s resident F&I trainer explains.

December 2011, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gerry Gould

Most F&I managers fall into one of three categories: those who need an advantage, those who take advantage and those who create an advantage. Most of us started out in the box as the first type. We needed a little boost or maybe even a presold product every now and then. But it’s what we did during that initial phase that determined our course in this business. So which type of manager do you think you are today?

F&I managers who fall into the “take advantage” category are those who became addicted to the advantage they received when they first started out. Yes, they do hit those advantage-filled deals out of the park, but that’s before the charge-backs boomerang back to the dealership. The biggest problem those managers face is that they strike out when thrown a curveball. Eventually, they figure out that they need to hone their skills and broaden their range to advance to the next step. … At least, we hope.

The same can’t be said for those low-performing “needs an advantage” managers. These are producers who simply can’t recognize what it takes to succeed in the F&I office. Remember, what separates “needs an advantage” from “create an advantage” is their unwillingness to prepare for when things go right or wrong.

That’s not a problem for those managers who “create an advantage.” Their willingness to prepare is rooted in their desire to succeed and their refusal to let anything stand in their way. They take charge of their destiny by doing what it takes to do things right and ethically. To them, transparency is a good thing, and cutting corners is simply not in their DNA.

A Different Animal

F&I managers who “create an advantage” are prepared for the day the moment they start their cars in the morning. They always have a game plan, but they’re not afraid to call an audible when needed. They’re confident and enthusiastic because they’re full of industry and product knowledge. Further, their credibility is driven by their professional appearance and demeanor. Their focus is on producing over-the-top results, which they achieve by adhering to a process and by never, ever procrastinating.

You’ll typically find “create an advantage” types looking for sales opportunities in the service drive or customer lounge. They may also be hanging out in the business development center or meeting with the Internet manager to see what opportunities may be going unnoticed. And when they’re not with a customer or rehashing a deal, they’re in the showroom observing and assisting sales managers and consultants. They also take time out of every working day for contracts-in-transit meetings.

“Create an advantage” managers always know when a deal is coming. Many of them adhere to an interview process, which allows them to tailor a presentation specific to each customer. And when using the F&I menu, they present options in a consultative manner. They never sell — at least, until the customer says “No.” See, “create an advantage” gains a customer commitment through intelligent and logical dialogue. That’s because he or she has a knack for creating a stress-free environment. That’s just how they do it.


  1. 1. Lujuan Mosley [ February 01, 2015 @ 02:10PM ]

    Is there on line classes I can take to become a automotive financial manager

  2. 2. Marcell [ October 08, 2016 @ 08:02AM ]

    Can I do this online


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