Training experts shares attainable qualities that can help propel your skills in the F&I office. - IMAGE: Getty Images

Training experts shares attainable qualities that can help propel your skills in the F&I office.

IMAGE: Getty Images

2021 is in the rearview mirror and 2022 is beginning to fill the windshield. What’s your plan? Where are you going? How are you going to get there? 

This is a great time to review all the things on last year’s to-do list and compare it to your completed list. Many of us begin each year with the best of intentions. We set goals, some of us even create a plan to achieve them, some not. And at the end of the year, upon reflection we feel satisfied with some outcomes and dissatisfied with others.

There are professionals in F&I that consistently ascend in production and income every year. These F&I managers are part of what I refer to as the three-percenters. They are consistently at the top of the profession and have shown the capacity to perform at a high-level year after year.  In preparing to write this article I tried to identify some common traits these top performers have in common so I could share them.

The first thing that I thought of, is they are all disciplined. They possess a rare commodity, self-discipline.  They understand their strengths and their weaknesses. They work hard. They recognize the things that can get them off track and rely on process discipline to resist the temptation to cut corners. They control what they think about and have the mental discipline to choose to think about things they can control and that lead to success. They have the discipline to reject negativity and embrace a positive outlook.

Next is that they show up every day with the mindset of making the most of each opportunity that day. They come to work to work. They set smart goals, create a plan, and then work their plan. They track the results, hold themselves accountable and set high standards of performance for themselves. They react to failures and setbacks not with frustration, but with an attitude of learning that leads to adjusting behavior, strategy, and priorities.

Next, is that they value their time. They understand that others value their time as well. They are organized and prepared and are always looking to increase efficiencies around the F&I process. They are very good at prioritizing their time and focusing on what is important. They stay in a business rhythm and know what to take on and what to delegate.  

Another trait these individuals have in common is that they are focused. Not only on what is important as I previously mentioned, they are also focused on their goals, focused on results, focused on the person in front of them, focused on the moment. As if, when they are with a customer someone would have to come and tell them the building was on fire if it were burning, that kind of focus. 

They understand that to grow professionally and personally they must lean into discomfort. They adapt to the changes that are inevitable in today’s dealership. What is understood by this group is that new technologies, new managers, new salespeople, and change is part of the deal. They don’t fight it, they manage it.

They are resourceful. They are not afraid to ask questions and seek guidance when out of their comfort zone. They seek out those who can provide the tools they need or coach them in the skills they lack. If the tool or resource they requested is not available, they think outside the box for ingenious solutions to solve the problem with the resources they have.

Finally, something that came to mind when I was thinking about the three-percenters as a group, is that they are all healthy, physically and mentally.  Thinking about it, almost all of them talk about eating healthy, exercising in some way, and living a healthy lifestyle. They also seem to have been able to figure out how to balance their work life and family life or alternatively, away from work life. 

If after reading this, you realize that you are a three-percenter I congratulate you on the self-discipline you must have to be in this group. I have not achieved three-percenter status yet. As a matter of fact, I think I will have a couple of leftover Christmas cookies and a cup of coffee and write out some goals for 2022. One last thing the three-percenters have in common, they probably did the same thing in November.

John Tabar serves as Executive Director of Training for Brown & Brown Dealer Services.