Bob Moore Buick GMC is a process-driven machine, but that’s just one of the reasons the Oklahoma City dealership’s F&I department is running above $1,800 per copy on new-vehicle deals and $1,500 on used.
The dealership, which is part of the 14-store Bob Moore Automotive Group, also embraces the promote-from-within philosophy, one that has created a pipeline of talent that’s indoctrinated on the Bob Moore way. Most of all, they understand what it means to serve in F&I at one of the group’s establishments.
“When you get a job in the finance department, it’s one you want to hold on to,” says F&I Director Jay Edwards. “Bob Moore is really a family. With all the policies and procedures we have in place, this is a business. But people who work here typically stay here for a long time.”
Edwards is a prime example of internal advancement. He started out as a salesperson in March 2009 at the group’s former Saturn store, which is now the Kia store located next door. He stayed there for two years before joining the group’s Cadillac store, working in sales and doing special finance deals. It was there that he started taking turns in finance.
The F&I director then went to the group’s Porsche Audi store, where he operated as a hybrid manager. “We did everything,” he says. “We were kind of a small dealership, but it got busier and busier. So I began doing finance full time, and then served as director for a year and half.”
Edwards did step outside of the group for a spell, working at a startup Volkswagen store for two years before moving to a high-volume Honda dealership. He then returned to the Bob Moore family, landing in his current role as F&I director at the group’s Buick-GMC store. In the 18 months since, he has overseen four successful F&I producers who have been promoted to management roles at other stores within the group. That includes Lanna Robinson, who now serves as F&I director for Bob Moore Subaru — which also is one of this year’s F&I Pacesetters.
The F&I process begins the moment sales gets a commitment from the customer. Once the deal is logged in, the next available producer goes to the salesperson’s desk for a meet-and-greet as the customer is completing the preliminary paperwork. The producer then conducts a quick interview to gather some initial insights on the customer before welcoming them to the Bob Moore family.
“We don’t have a set script for the interview, because every customer is going to be different,” Edwards says. “We just want to get to know the customer.”
That rapport-building and information-gathering continues the moment customers enter the F&I office, where the process begins with a review of their credit score exception notice in compliance with the Risk-Based Pricing Rule. “That’s when we get to know a lot about the customer, where they work, their revolving credit, how much they have available, how would they pay for repairs, and whether they are maxed out on their credit card. That helps us later when we present the menu and an objection arises,” Edwards says, noting each of his three producers averages about 70 deals per month.
That process has Edwards’ team averaging just below two products per deal, with service contracts and GAP penetrating at 48% and 52% rates, respectively. The dealership also offers tire-and-wheel, appearance, and a combo product, which have acceptance rates of below 20%. The department’s chargeback rate currently sits at 8%.
Checklists for sales, F&I, and accounting drive the process and serve as compliance backstops. To get a deal into F&I, salespeople must check off 17 items designed to ensure the information collected is accurate and complete. F&I producers must check off 64 items to get the deal into accounting. “They know what’s expected of them,” Edwards says. “They know how to do it the right way.”
The F&I team receives training at least once a month. The group’s F&I product provider, EFG Companies, leads those sessions, recruits and onboards new hires, and uses software provided by Mosaic Compliance Services to help keep producers up to date on rules and regulations. The group also stages quarterly F&I director luncheons, where ideas are shared and issues are discussed.
Being part of the Bob Moore organization also means giving back, and the group offers a long list of opportunities. Employees participate in food drives hosted by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, donate to the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and man the gift shop at Oklahoma University’s children’s hospital every Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.
“It gives you a sense of pride working for Bob Moore and knowing they give back to the community. And it takes a team effort to pull off those activities,” Edwards says. “I think it starts at the top with [group CEO and president] Mark Moore. You can tell he cares about his dealership and his employees.”