I had a call the other day from an F&I manager I have worked with in the past. He wanted to get my take on a situation that he was dealing with in his store. After talking for a while, I noticed that he was being negative about every subject we discussed — his attitude was terrible.
People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.
I had to stop him and call him out on it. He thought about it for a few seconds and then had to agree with me. His problem was not the situation he was dealing with, it was how he was dealing with it. He had a negative attitude about the situation, and as it turned out, his job. He then confessed that he just realized that maybe he was the problem.
My associate was choosing to be negative and that choice was influencing his thinking, his energy, and his behavior.
The interesting thing about a negative attitude is it is very hard to compartmentalize. If you become negative about something or have a negative encounter with a person, it tends to stay with you. I am not a psychologist, but I do believe when faced with adversity or change, going negative is a default reaction for many. You have all heard the saying “misery loves company,” so does a bad attitude. Unfortunately, when we’re negative, we tend to want to share it — willingly or unwillingly — with those around us.
How can you avoid this? Assess your attitude multiple times every day. Your attitude can be the single greatest factor in whether you succeed in F&I or move on to another profession.
F&I isn’t an easy predictable job. You must deal with many situations, personalities, and problems that need solving. You can’t control deal flow, and in the moment, you can’t control some of the obstacles you must overcome to be successful.
However, how we react to these situations is something we can control. Through awareness and practice we can learn to adjust to the positive and avoid the negative. If we do, it can greatly influence our outcomes.
How can we turn assessing our attitude into a habit? It could be as simple as incorporating a checkbox for “Attitude” on every one of your checklists or placing the word “Attitude” at our desk where can see it. These simple reminders can help you assess your attitude.
Most of us are not aware of a gradual slide into the negative until someone makes us aware of it. The bad news is most people will not call you out on a bad attitude, they just avoid you.
The good news is that when we are finally made aware of it, we usually recognize it and can adjust. By putting the word “Attitude” into a checklist or making it visible to you in some way, it will serve as reminder for you to hold yourself accountable on your attitude and adjust to the positive if necessary.
When working with F&I managers, one of the most important things I share with them is that in F&I, it’s not about what you do, it’s more about how you do it. As an F&I manager, you can achieve more, influence more, and inspire more with a positive attitude. Confidence is a characteristic of a positive attitude, and we all know that confidence sells.
Here are a couple of tips you can use to maintain a great attitude.
- Be Grateful. We are in one of the greatest industries there is. It offers equal opportunity to all no matter what your background or education. It also provides a great living for those willing to work at it.
- Show appreciation of those around you. Many people in the dealership influence the outcome of a deal, and as we all know, nothing happens until the customer says yes to the vehicle. I’m not sure if you would agree, but I think it is almost impossible to have a bad attitude at work if you are grateful for your opportunities and are appreciative of those around you.
- 3.And finally, as I mentioned earlier, assess your attitude throughout the day.
It is hard to talk about attitude without a quote or two. I am going share just one of my favorites by John C. Maxwell: “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
Positive or negative, optimist or pessimist, whether people feel a negative attitude or a positive one coming from you, it is your choice. Choose to be an F&I manager with a positive attitude in all situations, and you will see great things as a result.
John Tabar is vice president of training at United Development Services/Brown & Brown Dealer Services.