Last month, we discussed why the “why” of F&I matters to us and to our customers. Those F&I managers who have discovered their “why” know who they are, the reason why they’re in F&I, and what they must do every day to be successful. Because “why” matters.
This month, during my instore visits, I encountered several F&I managers who had a well-defined “why” and a few others that did not. Here are a few responses I received from F&I managers and my takeaways from those conversations:
I Just Want to Help Customers Make Good Decisions.
I sat in front of an F&I manager who just had his best month ever. He told me his numbers had consistently increased since he transitioned away from attempting to “sell” customers. Of his record-setting month, he said, “I was able to help more customers make different and better decisions. And those decisions kept them from exposing themselves to levels of risk that, based their situation, they were not prepared for.”
The products we offer today are more customer-driven and more expansive in their coverage. We offer solutions to problems the customer may face in the future. If we’re successful, we deliver a more enjoyable ownership experience.
Develop your skills and processes around helping customers. Greater profits are the natural result.
I Want to Change People’s Minds.
One F&I manager told me she views every customer as an opportunity to challenge the negative perception of the buying and financing experience. She knows customers expect to encounter a high-pressure sales environment. If they succumb to the pressure, they expect a higher monthly payment will be the result. They fear their decisions may not be in their best interest but that of the dealership.
This F&I manager said she is proactive in relieving this anxiety. She lets the customer know from the initial introduction that she is unlike F&I managers they may have encountered in the past. Everything the customer wants and needs will be considered and the process will be adjusted accordingly.
Once we have made the efforts to change our process to focus on the customer and their needs, they immediately know that we are different. We build trust and put the customer at ease. That customer will share more information, not clouded with suspicion as to why we are asking all these questions.
The result is an ability to truly help the customer make the decisions that are best for them.
I’m Just in It for the Money.
I also encountered a few F&I managers who were absent of any “why” as to what they do every day. Their primary focus was on the income produced from their efforts.
One particular F&I manager was troubling to me. “It’s all about the money,” he told me. “Wherever I can make the most money is where I will put my efforts.” In the course of our conversation, he also expressed numerous frustrations with the dealership and said he felt “burned out” and was considering changing employers.
Think those two things are connected? Of course they are.
Employees consistently rate income to be of less importance in overall job satisfaction than the feeling of contributing to a much bigger cause. High income is viewed as a reward for doing that well. What we do in F&I matters, and it makes a difference in the lives of those we serve. Every customer comes to us with a set of preconceived notions. But they also have a set of needs both known and unknown to them.
When we focus our effort on understanding the customer’s situation, we can offer solutions that make sense in their situation. The more we commit to a “why” concept of what we do and work to make sure that “why” is the correct one, the more valuable we will become to our clients — internally and externally. That’s why I enjoy what I do so much!
Why matters! I recommend that you write out your “why” and post it in a prominent place in your office. It can serve as a reminder to keep you focused when the “what” becomes overwhelming or challenging. It is the “why” that will sustain you and enable you to reach new heights in F&I. Keep climbing!