If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, ask if it’s from Peking. You could be in for a treat. - Photo by DrPAS via Getty Images

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, ask if it’s from Peking. You could be in for a treat.

Photo by DrPAS via Getty Images

A duck looks serene as it glides across water. What we don’t see is that, under the water, it’s paddling like crazy. Shouldn’t F&I be the same? We have to appear calm and collected, but we need to have a sense of urgency at all times.

Most of us are hair-on-fire when we have someone sitting across from us. We need that same sense of urgency even when we’re not directly interacting with a customer. So how do we do it?

1. Be Prepared.

The Boy Scouts’ motto is “Be prepared.” The best way to appear as serene as a duck is to be prepared. Show up ready to work. Don’t mosey in at the last second and then shuffle off to get your coffee and donuts. Don’t check your social media accounts or hang out at the sales desk, shooting the breeze, waiting for something to happen.

Instead, arrive at work with a good attitude and ready to go. Log into all of your systems so that you’re ready. Stock up on all your forms, paper, and toner the day before your day off and before the weekend so you don’t have to worry about it when you return. Find the process that works for you and do it every day.

2. Get Customers Into Your Office.

Most of us know that, the faster a customer comes into our office, the more money we can make. So why don’t we have the sense of urgency to get them sitting in front of us within 15 minutes?

We’ll hear a salesman say the guy is a jerk so we’ll torture him by making him wait. Whom do we hurt with that thinking? We’re on our fourth cash deal in a row, we just know the next guy isn’t going to buy anything, and we’re whining to anyone who will listen. Having another smoke out back won’t hurt anything, right? Watching some highlights won’t change anything, will it?

Yes, it will. Not only does it hurt our chances to make money, it harms the CSI for the store, and it hurts our reputations as professionals. Whether we think we’re going to make a 10-pounder or a goose egg, we need to have the same sense of urgency getting the customer into our offices.

3. Return Calls and Emails.

Take a second to look at your desk. See that big thing with numbers on it? That’s a telephone. Back in the day before mobile devices, that’s how we all communicated. Strangely enough, some people still expect us to use that. So if it rings, answer it. If the light is on or blinking, there are messages waiting. Return the calls. Don’t pretend you don’t see them or just delete the messages.

The same holds true for emails. Ignoring voicemails or emails doesn’t make them go away. Make it a habit to return all calls within 24 hours, preferably before you leave for the day.

4. Keep a Heat Sheet.

You may be the greatest salesman the store has ever known, but no one makes anything until the deal is funded. The same tenacity we use to sell products is the same thing we need to track the deal all the way through funding. Contracts in transit can’t be allowed to stack up.

Don’t assume someone else will chase the stip or address the funding delay. Deals are not cheese or wine — they don’t get better with age. They’re more like fish or bad in-laws coming to visit. They stink after three days.

Be prepared, appear calm, and work hard. Be a duck.

About the author
Lori Church

Lori Church


Lori Church is an experienced F&I manager, a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and director of compliance for Holman Automotive.

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