A clean office will create a sense of structure, and our industry is too regulated for you not to stay organized. With a few organizational tips, you can go from good to great. - Image by PEOPLEIMAGES via GettyImages.com

A clean office will create a sense of structure, and our industry is too regulated for you not to stay organized. With a few organizational tips, you can go from good to great.

Image by PEOPLEIMAGES via GettyImages.com

Take a look at the inside of your car and its glove box. If you give someone a ride, will they wonder if they’ll catch a deadly disease from the filth and/or clutter? Do you have fast food wrappers on the floor, old coffee cups in the cup holders, or extra items of clothing in the back seat? Will things come flying out of the glove box because it’s so stuffed?

You can be messy and creative on your time away from work, but our industry is too regulated and litigated for you not to be organized.

What about your office? Some researchers have found that a cluttered workspace encourages creative thinking and an orderly workspace encourages traditional thinking. Creativity is great in the right circumstances, but it might not be appropriate to bring into the F&I office. Creative sales might lead the way to a claim of UDAAP (Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices). Instead, we need to be logical and organized. Don’t accept the excuse that you’re a naturally messy person. Organization can be a learned behavior.

Clean Your Office

Scrub your space. I can’t start cooking or start a load of laundry without first putting away everything and scrubbing the work area. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot which makes me ready to tackle the next project.

Take a look at your office as though you’re a customer seeing it for the first time. A clean office will create the sense of order and structure, which can give you credibility. You might be surprised how good you feel once it’s clean.

Organize Your Office

Get organized. I subscribe to the cooking philosophy of “tidy bench, tidy mind.” My kitchen pantry can be a little creepy to others because I put canned goods with the labels facing the same direction. My sheets, towels, and blankets are folded and arranged by size in my linen closet. That helps me know when we’re running low on something and helps me get something quickly.

Organize your drawers and filing cabinets so that you can quickly reach for something you need, and stock up on everything before your day off. Create a routine for tackling the day. Open all your browsing pages in the same order, check your emails and phone messages when you arrive and before you leave, check for funding delays, put notes in your CIT tool, and put your deals in the same order each time.

One at a Time

Clear your desk to work on one deal at a time. If you spread deals on your desk, you’re likely to mix the files, forget which deal needs what, or you’ll miss something in a deal that you saw in another.  

My philosophy has always been that I only want to touch a deal once if I’m only going to get paid on it once. Sometimes you can’t complete a deal before the next customer, but do as much as you can. You can let the next customer know that you have their paperwork, which resets their clock, then go back to your office and finish the other deal for a couple of minutes. Those couple of minutes from each deal could mean the difference of leaving on time or having to stay late an hour or two. By then, you’re so tired and ready to leave that you’re likely to miss something.

You can be messy and creative on your time away from work, but our industry is too regulated and litigated for you not to be organized. Organization can help you go from good to great. Scrub your office to start with a clean and tidy workspace, get your office organized, and then organize your daily routine.

Read: The Great F&I Baking Show

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