You need a plan to help you manage everything for maximum results.
F&I managers spend, on average, 10 hours at work each day. Unfortunately, how the business flows into the F&I office is not as predictable as we would like.
Deliveries seem to come in groups. It’s fair to conclude that the 80/20 rule a applies on a normal day in F&I: 80% of your income coming from 20% of your time. That is two hours of a great return on investment within your day. What about those other eight hours? I often refer to F&I as a business within a business. How can you increase the ROI on the portion of the day when you are not engaged with a customer? Looking for ways to be more productive and efficient is a great place to start.
The first step to increasing your time ROI is to have a plan for each day. A plan can help you prioritize your time, leading to more productive and efficient days. In planning your day, first focus on what is important. These are the things that you must get done today. A deal that needs one more detail handled before it can be funded is a good example. Another example are things you do not enjoy doing but are required to do, like some reports, or activities our superiors use to hold us accountable. If they are required every day, get these things off your desk and off your mind.
Next, focus on staying focused! The dealership is full of distractions that can keep you from what is important if you allow them to. People who aren’t being productive and are distracted tend to look for other people who are being unproductive so they can be unproductive and distracted together. Don’t be available to these people. If you are working on something important and they stop by, let them know that this isn’t a good time. It’s hard to interrupt people who are hard at work.
If possible, finish what you are working on before you start something else. Multitasking is a myth, and many times it increases the chance of mistakes and can cause you to lose time, not gain it.
Look for ways to be more efficient. Communications can help or hurt you in getting a better ROI on your day. Schedule time to respond to email, and fight the urge to respond to every text when you receive it. If it is mission-critical, respond. If not, it can wait.
Look for opportunities to utilize the tools you have to their fullest potential. Technology is a great example. Many of us use only a fraction of the capability of the technology tools in the dealership and settle for the basic functionality of the applications on a platform. Take the time to seek out shortcuts or functionality that can save you time or steps in your administrative or income-development processes.
Another way to increase the ROI on your day is to get better at saying no. Are you doing things on a regular basis that are not part of your job description? I understand that there are times when we need to help the team by doing someone else’s job in a pinch. The key is to delegate those things back to the rightful owner as soon as possible. Do not become distracted by the busy trap. If you find yourself doing a lot of things that do not support your goals, you are most likely just busy, not productive.
In past articles, I have referred to the Eisenhower Matrix. It is a powerful tool to determine what is important versus what is just urgent. I use this tool and encourage those that I work with to do the same. Something that can significantly contribute to the ROI of your day is professional development. It is important but not urgent, so therefore is put off until later or worse, never. Make time to sharpen your skills and increase your F&I and business acumen. Part of this process is evaluating your failures and your successes; much can be learned from both.
Lastly, be the best version of you. Exercise, eat well, and get some sleep. Being ready to go will always get you a better ROI on the day.
John Tabar serves as executive director of training for Brown & Brown.