FINANCE & INSURANCE
Make sure each sales staffer has his or her own role to focus on.
In sports, no one player can carry the team alone, not even Tom Brady. When each player fulfills a specific role in pursuit of a common goal, the result will be much better. Success in selling finance and insurance products is like playing a team sport – the F&I manager can’t carry it alone. The employees of the dealership must work together to increase product penetration and per vehicle retailed.
A team approach is even more important in a world where nearly 16% of people have a monthly vehicle payment of $1,000 or more and the average loan payment is $700. These customers need to be introduced early and often to how F&I products can protect their significant vehicle investments. How do you get your employees to start working as a team to sell F&I? Here’s how to get started.
TRAIN YOUR MANAGERS
More than 95% of managers are not trained to be managers. They got the job because they were great salespeople. Yet, we expect them to manage. How is that fair? Every manager deserves personal development to properly present products, and this includes sales managers. If you want your sales associates mentioning protection products when it makes sense during the buying process, the sales manager has to be on board to reinforce that expectation.
TRAIN YOUR SALES PROFESSIONALS
Salespeople do not need to be experts on every F&I product. Instead, train staff to be very proficient on one product and able to talk generally about others. This gives them the confidence to speak with authority while still deferring to the F&I manager as the expert. One of the most profitable products for a dealership is a vehicle service contract. The upfront money goes toward PVR with additional claims yield when the vehicle is serviced, but the story doesn’t end there. According to DMEautomotive, customers who service at your dealership are 86 times more likely to buy their cars from you — now that’s something sales professionals can get excited about.
MANAGE THE TEAM WITH WEEKLY MEETINGS
Great results come from practice. Hold weekly 30-minute meetings with your sales and F&I departments to keep your team going strong. Role-playing scenarios, beginning a customer presentation, and then asking a sales professional to pick up where the manager left off, and sharing successes all push employees to learn and do their best. You can also practice bringing up products when it makes sense to the customer and focus on the problem the product will solve. For example, assessing a trade-in vehicle with paint dings or dirty upholstery is a natural time to bring up appearance-protection products and how they keep a vehicle looking nice while also contributing to resale value. Demonstrating the technology in a new vehicle, like the navigation system, keyless entry, and rear-monitoring cameras, is a natural time to talk about high-tech vehicle service agreements and how they cover the cost of unexpected glitches that can be safety issues.
REWARD YOUR TEAM WHEN THEY FOLLOW THE PLAYBOOK
When sales associates and managers follow the F&I playbook, reward them by incentivizing processes and actions. For example, if you decide your process is that sales discusses service contracts 100% of the time with 100% of customers, reward them with $5 to $10 every time they complete the process. Reward them again if the customer buys the product. Make sure your pay plan aligns with the products that you want to sell the most and that have the most benefit for the dealership.
As you can see, when your team plays well together, everyone benefits. You will make more income and have happier employees and customers. A team approach promotes success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeremiah Shelton is VP of training and development at APCO Holdings, home of the EasyCare and GWC Warranty brands. He oversees the creation and implementation of the company’s dealership training programs.
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