There are four definitive areas where F&I professionals can and should excel.  -  IMAGE: Getty Images

There are four definitive areas where F&I professionals can and should excel.

IMAGE: Getty Images

Excelling in F&I means you’re skilled in several areas. Being a strong closer may mean more products sold, but having weak needs discovery skills can translate into higher chargebacks and low CSI scores. The opposite is just as frustrating. You may be gifted in discovering why a customer needs your products, but without the ability to close the sale, you will perform at below-average standards. Throughout my career as a training/coaching consultant, I’ve identified four areas where F&I professionals can and should excel, so let’s look at the four corners of a strong F&I house. 

First Corner: A Consistent Process to Move Customers to Buy

You should have an intentional process after getting any objections from a customer. The effort must be deliberate and shared in a manner that makes a customer “thirsty” for more. Here are three steps that make them thirsty and moves you closer to helping them get the coverages they need.

  1. Make them curious for more information: “That surprises me, especially since you are buying a vehicle built since 2016.” They want to know why, and the conversation is not “no,” but rather “tell me more.”
  2. Provide just enough information to leave them wanting more: “Every vehicle built since 2016 has 100% component parts, which is troubling.”
  3. Every positive response from the customer gives you permission to share more and draws them into the discussion. 

Customers want a two-way conversation that focuses on their unique needs, and they will buy products that fill those needs. 

Second Corner: Product Knowledge

During a recent dealership visit, I witnessed an F&I manager making up information as they went along. With so much information available to us, not knowing in-depth knowledge of our products and the vehicles they cover is just lazy. 

We must be able to share information concerning a modern vehicle today: 

  1. 30,000 parts
  2. 50 Electronic Control Units
  3. 50,000,000 lines of code
  4. 20 Networks
  5. 10,000 Network Signals

You can start this conversation with a great open-ended question. “How many networks do you have in your house? You have 20 networks inside the new vehicle you are buying today. This allows all the computers to communicate with each other in real time.” Every customer must learn something they did not know before meeting us or it will be difficult to change a “no” into a “yes.” 

Third Corner: Selling Skills 2021

Customers are looking for someone they connect with; someone they like and trust to share insightful information they could rarely get anywhere else. If they encounter a process in the F&I office that reminds them of a pressure-filled effort from 10 years ago, they will pass and look for more up-to-date information elsewhere. 

“Selling Skills of 2021” provides information that the customer has not seen or been made aware of. The minute the customer feel they are in the office with an expert, the buying starts, which leads to a customer that loves the protection they purchased and an F&I manager that is fulfilled that they helped them make great buying decisions. 

Fourth Corner: Dealership Compliance

It has never been more important that every F&I manager be aware of the laws and regulations that govern the F&I process. An average F&I office executes more legal contracts in a month than most law firms. Every vehicle delivered should be done is in a compliant and informative manner. This assures that every customer knows what they bought and why they bought it, leaving them happy they did.  The most valuable F&I manager to the dealership and the customer is one that is knowledgeable and operates within compliance norms and expectations. It just makes every car deal safe and sound, and it provides the final corner post of a great F&I house. Continue building.

About the author
Rick McCormick

Rick McCormick


Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates, which provides customized F&I training for dealerships throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has more than 20 years of auto retail and finance experience. Contact him at [email protected].

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