Most F&I professionals already have access to the reporting tools you need to track your performance in real time. - Photo by joebelanger via Getty Images

Most F&I professionals already have access to the reporting tools you need to track your performance in real time.

Photo by joebelanger via Getty Images

Am I the only person that gets agitated when someone asks “Hey, do you know where (blank) is?” Hold on. Let me pull out my archaic paper roadmap and see if I can find it for you. Stand back because, once unfolded, this thing has a wingspan similar to that of a commercial airliner. Now we need to figure out how to use the chart system. Slide across to M, then down to 14. … OK! It’s got to be somewhere in this 1-inch box!

I remember the days when my father would do all of this — while driving!

Solving the same problem today means taking out your smartphone and opening the Google Maps app. Tap the little microphone, say the address aloud, and like magic, your phone will tell you how to get there. It’s called technology, and it is very useful if you use it!

The same is true in F&I development. If you ask most F&I pros where their numbers are for the month, get ready for another paper map moment. They probably won’t know and it will probably take a few minutes to find out.

Built-in Tools

There is no excuse for not knowing where your measurables are in real time, all the time. We have the greatest technology our industry has ever seen at our fingertips. We just need to use it.

Most of us have CRMs in our dealerships that have outstanding reporting tools that integrate with the DMS to give us accurate numbers. If you do not have a CRM, you likely have an electronic menu platform that has good reporting tools built in.

Even if your dealership has neither tool, you still have a DMS. Right now, every DMS on the market has built-in reporting tools. If you do not know where to locate these tools or if you need a refresher on how to use them, call your provider and ask them to give you a tutorial. Most of these systems are web-based and some even have apps for your smartphone.

Gone are the days of having to guess what our numbers are, because we have real-time access. However, as the saying goes, “Bad data in, bad data out.” To solve this, I recommend cleaning all your deals as soon as possible and get them closed out in your DMS. At a bare minimum, try to make sure all deals are off your desk and turned in every night before you leave.

Even if you are looking at your reports every day, you will not know where your numbers are if you always have 10 or 12 deals sitting on your desk waiting to be cleaned. There will always be the rare case where you are waiting on a bank, or a stip, or maybe it was a dealer trade. Clean whatever deals you can so you can go back and check your numbers.

Your New Roadmap

Reporting tells you where you are and gives you the directions on how to get where you need to be. In today’s business offices, there are more products and more measurable goals than ever before. We get graded on gross profit, average profit per deal, average profit per product, percentage of product sales, number of product sales, and the list goes on.

No one can manage all of that information in their head and maximize every deal every day. Luckily, we don’t have to. We have incredible technology at our fingertips just waiting to be used.

So the next time someone asks you “How’s your month going?,” pull out your smartphone, pull up your real-time report, and show them. Use that technology to help you have a great month, every month!

Ritch Wheeler is a regional sales manager and the senior director of training for American Finance & Automotive Services. Email him at [email protected].