There is a persistent myth that says a lengthy résumé proves you are good at what you do. This is the backward philosophy many people in the automotive industry believe and have embraced. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Relying on or bragging about one’s time in the business is a clear indication that an F&I manager is stuck on what he used to do and where he’s been rather than what he currently brings to the table and where he is going. The skillset you bring to your next job is far more important. And if you’re in the market for an F&I manager, it’s time to start looking beyond the résumé.
Rely on Your Skills
Your F&I skillset drives your career growth and demonstrates your value to the dealer you work for and the dealer who hires you in the future. When you focus on becoming great, constantly sharpening your ax, and making sure your skillset is top-notch, everyone benefits. There are less excuses, less average or mediocre results, fewer self-esteem issues, and fewer arguments with coworkers about “the way it used to be.” In their place are higher confidence, greater certainty, and more revenue.
"A résumé will only carry you so far. It might get you in the door. It might even impress an unprepared interviewer and land you a position. But it is your skillset that will sustain you, further your career, allow you to make your mark, and achieve real success in F&I."
A résumé will only carry you so far. It might get you in the door. It might even impress an unprepared interviewer and land you a position. But it is your skillset that will sustain you, further your career, allow you to make your mark, and achieve real success in F&I.
Better yet, sharpening your F&I ax means never having to ask the desk managers to use rate spread to “leave some room in the payment,” or beg the sales staff to endorse your products. You won’t need their help to generate revenue. You will rely solely on your skills.
When working with a dealership, I always encourage hiring managers, interviewers and decisionmakers to make F&I presentations part of their interview process. Playing the role of the customer, give interviewees objections to see whether they have the ability to overcome them and close the deal.
I also encourage the practice of looking to the sales floor first when a position opens in F&I. Look for sales associates who are hungry, eager, driven, and goal-oriented. They should have real integrity and they should want the opportunity to meet and exceed challenges. Besides, a good trainer can teach anyone how to be great at F&I, but you can’t teach those fundamental characteristics that are so important to success.
So look to fill F&I positions by promoting from within first. With training and encouragement, those prospects will surely meet and exceed your expectations.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of F&I managers in the business who already get it. They grasp the concept and are constantly looking to better themselves, stay ahead of the curve and build their skillset. To the F&I managers I just described, my hat goes off to you. Continue to be an example of greatness in F&I, because we need more of it.
To the rest of you, remember, focusing on your F&I skillset, rather than your résumé, is the only way to guarantee a successful future in F&I and benefit everyone around you.
Shaka Dyson is the founder and CEO of Dealer F&I University and creator of the “F&I 20 Group” Facebook group. Contact him at [email protected].