It’s Saturday. It has been a little slow this week and you are looking forward to a great day. There are a bunch of confirmed appointments coming in and you feel a busy day is at hand.
You get your wish. Everyone is saying “yes,” and the deliveries start to stack up. You have one in your office and two waiting. The only problem is that the customers are coming in frustrated and not open to your process. You’ve been buried, you look up and it’s 3:00 in the afternoon. You haven’t left your office in hours, you haven’t had time for lunch and you realize that although you’ve done five deliveries you haven’t made any money, your tired and stressed. What started out as a day filled with promise isn’t meeting expectations.
Just one of those days? Maybe, maybe not.
It’s possible the frustration and stress you are experiencing could be self-inflicted because instead of you managing your business, you’re allowing the business to manage you.
The frustration of one of those days is increased when we are fighting the clock due to being busy.
Time management is an illusion, you can’t beat the clock no matter how hard you try. Time is undefeated. You can, however, prioritize what you do with your time.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when busy in F&I is getting off process. We justify taking shortcuts in our process because we want to accommodate the time expectation given to the customer by a sales manager or salesperson. You know how that works, the customer says “yes” to the deal and the salesperson says something like “Great, it will take a few minutes to get you into F&I, and then we will get you out of here.”
Not a good job of setting a realistic time expectation, not to mention a bit rude. Can you imagine if we treated guests to our home that way? “Thanks for coming over for dinner Bob, Carol. Glad you’re here. Listen, we will get you fed and get you out of here just as quick as we can.” I digress.
There are some dealerships where the sales manger acts like an air traffic controller managing the flow of business into the F&I office by setting realistic time expectations with the customer and F&I, by taking the time to introduce themselves to the customer and communicating with F&I. These skilled professionals understand the process and manage the business by setting time expectations themselves and not leaving that critical responsibility up to the salesperson. Unfortunately, not all dealerships enjoy this kind of teamwork.
If you are leaving setting a time expectation up to the salesperson, most customers that you interact with on a busy day will have been told something unrealistic about how long it will take to finish the paperwork. As a result, you will have a string of grumpy and frustrated customers sitting in front of you all day long.
Don’t let the salesperson create an unrealistic time expectation. Its to important to your success in F&I.
Be disciplined, take the two or three minutes it takes to go out and introduce yourself to the customer and set a realistic time expectation yourself. The goal is to under promise and over deliver. Make a time promise that you are sure you can beat by 10 or 15 minutes. If you do, the customer should be happy it didn’t take as long as you had mentioned and should be more open to your process. The downside is that if you exceed the time given, even by a couple of minutes, the opposite will be true.
Sure, you may have a customer that isn’t very happy when you tell them it will be an hour and twenty minutes before they can finish the paperwork, however it is better to deal with that disappointment upfront. By staying on your process when busy and prioritizing this important step, you can avoid getting into a situation where the business is managing you. This and a little training, by you of the sales staff, and maybe a sales manager or two, can turn “one of those days” into a great day.