In 2018, we conducted 23 Achieving F&I Excellence Management Certification classes, training hundreds of F&I managers. Some have been extremely successful. Others have not. Unfortunately, F&I excellence is only achieved by those willing to pay the price of success. Let’s discuss five ways to achieve spectacular results in the box this year.
1. Enhanced Product Knowledge
Whether you’re a new F&I manager or an experienced pro, the greater your product knowledge, the greater your credibility. Possessing exceptional product knowledge increases the customer’s need for your expertise as they try to decide which, if any, F&I products they need. The more you know, the better able you will be to relate how a particular product will benefit a particular customer.
Want to sell more vehicle service agreements? Not only must you know the plans, eligibility requirements, and coverages afforded, you must take every opportunity to expand your mechanical knowledge of vehicles. The more you learn about what various components do, why they fail, and how expensive they are to fix, the more you realize how important a VSA is with today’s increasingly sophisticated vehicles.
2. Genuine Enthusiasm
You must be enthusiastic about the outstanding value of the products you offer and share that excitement with both your internal and external customers. Every salesperson, manager, and customer has to know that you are genuinely excited to have an opportunity to uncover and fulfill the specific set of needs for each transaction.
The value of your products is equal to the value of your presentation. The more you learn about your products, the more you will believe in those products, and the more enthusiasm you will have when you discuss them with a customer. Enthusiasm without knowledge is mere blather. Knowledge without enthusiasm is boring.
3. Belief in Your Products
Success in the F&I office requires you to demonstrate belief in your products on a daily basis. If you don’t really believe in the products you’re selling, then go sell something you do believe in. F&I professionals believe in their products — and they prove it by driving what they sell. It’s hard to sell Chevys if you really believe Ford builds a better vehicle.
It’s just as difficult to sell service contracts, tire-and-wheel, or environmental protection if you don’t believe in those products. If you don’t buy the products you sell, you’re essentially telling every salesperson in the dealership that you’re just trying to make money off their customers.
That is not a financial services professional. That’s a hypocrite.
4. Attainable Goals
F&I excellence demands that you establish personal goals that are specific, attainable and consistent with your own values. Goals provide a framework for increased productivity, personal growth, and job satisfaction. Daily, monthly, and long-term goals should be measurable and have a specific objective, such as a minimum of two F&I products per customer or $2,000 per copy.
Goals must also motivate you to achieve them. Any goal should be personally compelling, realistic and consistent with your own personal values and beliefs. Implicit with any goal is that it should be based upon honesty, integrity, and conducting yourself in accord with the highest standards of ethical conduct.
An F&I professional constantly strives to achieve a mastery of their craft through continuing education and by practicing on a daily basis. They concentrate their efforts on continuously improving their skills rather than seeking shortcuts. Your ongoing training efforts will be rewarded as you reach your goals. Plus, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of feeling good about how you got there.
5. Caring About Customers
Finally, success in the F&I office also requires that you care. Care about the customer across the desk. Care about the other members of your team. Care about the dealership. Caring demands that you seek out with eagerness, reasons why the customer needs each and every one of your products. It requires that you listen to customers to learn their wants, needs, and concerns.
Caring requires selling every product from a position of strength by concentrating on what is truly best for the customer. Caring means that you have a genuine desire to help customers — not “sell” them. Caring means that you never forget that your job in the F&I office is not to make money. Your job is to help customers. The more people you help, the more money you make. And in 2019, every day is a beautiful day … to help a customer!
Ron Reahard is president of Reahard & Associates Inc., a Dealers’ Choice Award-winning provider of F&I classes, workshops, and in-dealership and online training. Contact him at [email protected]
President of Reahard & Associates