The pace of the evolution of technology and F&I software is difficult to keep up with. Is there is a system now available to most F&I managers that when used properly can generate an incredible amount of income for the dealership, as well as the F&I manager who learns how to use it? The good news is that this technology already exists in just about every dealership in the country. It’s called the dealership CRM. The bad news is this incredible tool is rarely used by most F&I managers.
Very few F&I managers follow up with the customers that flow through their offices. Many have a sign and forget mentality, and that is a huge, missed opportunity.
I share with every F&I manager that goes through certification that the top performers in F&I, the three percenters who are truly self-motivated, go about what they do differently than the other 97%. They think of F&I as their business within a business.
These F&I managers do not settle for only one revenue stream provided by the sales department into F&I. No, like any successful business owner, they are always looking for opportunities and strategies to grow revenue, expand their customer base, and increase market share. The dealership CRM is a valuable tool these F&I managers utilize to grow their business.
Industry averages tell us that about 60% of customers say no to a VSC, same for GAP. About 75% say no to tire and wheel, 80% P&F, and about the same for maintenance. That’s a lot of “no.” Smart F&I managers see this as an opportunity, and they use the dealership CRM to get the job done.
On a new vehicle purchase for instance, if the customer enrolled in products at delivery or if they chose not to, they enter the customer into the CRM for F&I follow up. If they enrolled in products, they follow up a couple days post-delivery to ensure that the customer doesn’t have any questions about the paperwork they signed or any of the products they purchased.
Any concerns that may arise can be addressed. Decisions to enroll in products are reenforced, increasing customer satisfaction and lowering chargebacks. It also provides an opportunity to continue the discussion on any products the customer may have been on the fence about at delivery and try again to gain commitment.
If the customer did not choose to enroll in any products, they answer any questions about paperwork and let the customer know they will be touching base with them when the customer is getting closer to the end of their comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty to share their end of warranty options. They enter that customer into the CRM for a long-term task to call about 90 days prior to when they estimate the customer will be near the end of warranty based on annual miles driven.
Usually during that call, the customer is more open to exploring the benefits of the products we offer due to a greater sense of urgency and a more tangible understanding of risk based on a looming deadline.
These F&I managers also understand that “working the service drive” isn’t a selling activity, it’s an informing and following-up activity that, when done effectively, results in sales. They also know that trying to convince someone to buy a VSC while dropping off or picking up their vehicle doesn’t work.
They understand that for a service drive program to work, it’s up to the F&I manager to identify opportunities, not hope the service writer will identify them.
Lastly, these F&I managers collect F&I product claims that have been paid in service and call these customers. They ask the customer if everything went as promised it would when they enrolled three or four years ago. When the customer tells them it did, they ask the customer if they would go onto the dealership website and write a review for that product and mention their name. Imagine the power of prospective customers seeing nothing but positive reviews for the products you offer in F&I.
The amount of time and effort needed for to create multiple revenue streams into F&I may be less than you think. A few hours a week and a handful of telephone calls each day over time will deliver incredible results. Put the power of the dealership CRM to work for you. If you do, your F&I business is going to thrive.
John Tabar serves as executive director of training for Brown & Brown Dealer Services.