The lyrics below are from “Seasons of Love” from Rent. It was released on my birthday in 1996, won a Tony award, and was one of the longest-running shows on Broadway. The song asks the rhetorical question of how to measure a year.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How do you measure … measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife? In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes, how do you measure a year in a life?”
Our industry is unusual because we measure monthly and start each one with a clean slate. We experience the “hero to zero” frustration if we had a great month and start the next one with nothing. On the other hand, we can go from “zero to hero” because we can start over if we had a bad month. We’ve experienced a crazy world for more than a year now, and these lyrics made me wonder how we could measure the last 525,600 minutes from both a professional and personal perspective.
The obvious measure for F&I is PVR. Compare last year’s PVR with this year’s. Celebrate your areas of improvement, but don’t beat yourself up where you didn’t. Take the time to re-focus so that you can measure again and celebrate the wins. We have many options to help us grow. Enroll for any training that you can attend, whether it’s in-person or virtual. Read the product enrollment contracts and highlight features and benefits that you can use in your presentation. Learn finance source programs so you can maximize within those parameters. Roleplay with your co-workers and always work to improve.
Another measurement is CSI. Many F&I people think CSI is a sales score, but that’s not entirely true. One of the common complaints on CSI scores is how much time it takes to buy a car. Most of us understand this is a major purchase with legal requirements, but many customers think it should be as simple as buzzing through a drive-thru. What did you do to speed the process at your store or to educate your customers? Are you leveraging technology to streamline the flow? Are you meeting the customer in the showroom as soon as you get the deal jacket to let them know they’re next in line? Time your deals and try to improve on them.
Many of us forget sometimes that making a living isn’t the same as making a life, and we should work to live and not live to work. Measuring success in our personal lives is just as important as measuring success in our professional ones.
One measurement of success is the quality of life with our family. Too often we can’t attend kids’ activities, a spouse’s event, or a parent’s get-together because of the strange hours we work. How many times were you able to be present for family time? Celebrate those times and plan your schedule so that you can attend more.
Self-improvement is important too. What hobbies do you have, and have you improved? If you like building model cars and made 10 last year, how many did you make this year? Read one more book this year than you did last year. Try a new recipe. Build something instead of just tinkering in your garage. Whatever you did in the past, improve on it.
We need to grow both professionally and personally. How were your last 525,600 minutes?
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.