-  IMAGE: Pexels/Gustavo Fring

IMAGE: Pexels/Gustavo Fring

F&I managers interact with all stakeholders in a transaction, and every interaction is a crucial step in the process. The way you approach each could make all the difference Here are some ways you can be sure you are bringing value every step of the way:

Make Time and Show Interest

People feel valued when they are acknowledged. Utilize the 10-foot rule in your day-to-day. If someone comes within 10 feet, acknowledge them with a hello or good morning and, if possible, always use their name.

Teach Them a Better Way

Remember, F&I serves the sales department. Most F&I managers do not have any direct reports, but sales managers do. Usually, they have five to 15 salespeople to manage the activities of each day. Try to get involved in training, and help your sales manager. If you want to bring value to every interaction with your sales manager, get involved in training.

Be visible. Get out of your office, and be at the sales desk — be willing to take a turnover, answer any questions a customer may have about financing a purchase, or pick up the slack if a sales manager is out. People value those who inspire them to act — be that kind of leader.

Offer Constructive Feedback

Sometimes as F&I managers, we are positioned to offer feedback — both positive and balancing feedback. Nothing can bring value to a person like positive feedback when there is a job well done. On the other hand, when a person is out of balance in their job responsibilities, we can bring value by being candid and offering objective constructive feedback on what we have observed and what our experience tells us needs to be done to get them back on track.

You can bring value to those around you by being a consistent version of yourself. If you are consistent in how you interact with others, in how you interact with customers, in your attitude, and in the results you attain, people will think of you as dependable.

Remember Your Manners

Be polite — it brings value to every interaction. Remember to say please and thank you, and be civil in any disagreements with others.

Nothing brings value to the organization and to those you work with like doing a quality job.

The data is consistent: Customers see value in being known and understood. Take the time to learn as much as you can about the customer before speaking with them. Utilize smart discovery strategies to understand the customer well enough to relate the benefits of the product offered to their life based on what you have learned.

Customers tell us they want us to value their time. We can bring value to every customer interaction by constantly looking for ways to improve processes and gain efficiencies in F&I. Time kills deals and value. Be sure to set clear expectations on time, and then exceed them.

Give Your Full Attention

When face-to-face with a customer, be present. Nothing makes a customer feel less valued than not giving them your full attention when they are in your office. Talk to the customer, or load the deal -- don’t try to do both at the same time.

Listening to Understand

It could be argued that listening brings more value to an interaction than any other thing we could do. Sometimes we are listening to what is in our head in preparation to respond while the customer is still talking. Listening to understand versus listening to reply is a great way to bring value to an interaction.

Be Worthy of Trust By Being Consultative

To be trusted, you must be trustworthy. Being consultative versus transactional in F&I is different than how we have approached F&I in the past. I am convinced it is the future of F&I, brings the most value to the customer, and delivers the best results.

Present Authenticity First, Products Second

Lastly, you can bring value to every interaction with customers by being the best version of you. If you are genuinely interested in what’s best for a customer, invite them into the process, then guide them through it. If you do, they will feel that they matter to you. If you fake it, they will also know that.

Focusing on bringing value in all interactions will improve your performance at work and in life.

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