Here are two truths that reveal the concepts of a powerful process that moves customers and us. - IMAGE: Getty Images

Here are two truths that reveal the concepts of a powerful process that moves customers and us.

IMAGE: Getty Images

We spend large amounts of energy and time determining the right things to do in the F&I office when helping customers. At times we can end up doing the opposite of what is most effective due to preconditioning by our past or being led by concepts that “used to work” in a different market environment. We must update our efforts, base our actions on solid and timeless principles and then pivot to be relevant and informative to our customers. Here are two truths that reveal the concepts of a powerful process that moves customers and us!

Ask for stories, not answers! 

One of the most effective efforts to understand each customer and their situation is to ask open-ended questions. “I see you have worked at the same company for 20 years. Would you please tell me more about that?” Get ready, you are about to hear a story! You have shown interest in their story, and you will be rewarded by gaining a better understanding of them and their needs. 

However, the opposite is true and tragic.  Questions that lead to one-word answers not only frustrates us, it frustrates the customer. When a customer encounters questions that appear to serve the purpose of the F&I Manager as opposed to showing genuine interest in them, they assume we are just like every other person they have encountered in the F&I office. And many times, those encounters were not good ones. To show you are different, ask different questions.

Answer in sentences, not paragraphs! 

We spend a lot of our time with customers hearing their genuine objections to our offer. We have a choice on how we answer. The first option is to tell them everything we know about a product and why they need it. The longer we talk without the more resistant they become. Respond with lengthy paragraphs and you will likely get a short answer. No! 

The second option can best be illustrated with a cat and a ball of yarn. If you push the ball of yarn in the face of the cat, they will run away fast. If you push your knowledge in the face of a customer, they will run too! However, if you roll out a small piece of yarn at a time, the cat will follow you whenever you want it to go. When answering a customer objection use short responses to assure a back-and-forth conversation. 

“That surprises me especially after something I just discovered ”

“What was that?”

“I discovered that 70% of the neon gas needed to fuel the lasers that make microchips needed to build vehicles is located in one country.”

“Which one is that!”


“That is scary.”

“It really is. And the cost of replacement parts has increased by over 50% in the last 12 months. With all of this uncertainty do you know how much the cost of a future repair will go up in the next 6 years?”


“Neither do I! That’s why the Service Contract is critical for you today because it will protect you from future repairs and the constant increase in their cost.”

All of this information could be shared in one lengthy answer to their objection. However, the chances of a good outcome are low. When you lead them with one piece of yarn or statement at a time and ask for their response, they will follow you all the way to the Service Contract Protection. 

What we have been conditioned to do and the what the customer enjoys many times are two different things. Give the customer what they want - Do This - and scrap what we have done in the past that served us and not the customer. Not That!