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Isolating the F&I Function

Posted Jan 26th, 2017

Isolating the F&I Function

An excerpt from a George Angus article published in March of 2016. 

George Angus is the training director for Team One Research and Training, of which Brooker Dealer Solutions is proud to be the Canadian representative for. We hope you enjoy the excerpt. You can read the full article here.  

Isolating the F&I Function

First, we found that, as the sales process and the presentation of the F&I manager became more honest and upfront, the customers were choosing more products and the F&I departments were making more money. And the increase was significant. Today, we tell F&I professionals to not only begin the F&I process by disclosing the base payment and terms, but to put an emphasis on that disclosure as well.

You see, when a customer is buying a vehicle, they are understandably wary, skeptical and on the defensive. Why wouldn’t they be? What has every media source out there told them is going to happen to them in a car dealership?

Sales professionals have learned how to deal with this natural resistance by developing a rapport with the customer, using a feature-benefit presentation and justifying the price of the vehicle by showing value to the customer.

However, F&I is a completely different process than selling a car. If they stay in that frame of mind during the F&I process, the job is much tougher. What we have learned is that, to allow the F&I process to evoke the positive, security-driven motivators that drive people to buy F&I products, the process must be perceived by the customer as a separate, isolated function from the sale of the vehicle.

Negotiation Mode vs. Receptive Mode

Our process accomplishes this perception through a systematic process and sequence of techniques, the first of which is the disclosure. You see, when the customer starts to view us as someone who is making sure they know what they are paying for the vehicle, are openly and transparently reviewing their options, and has their best interests in mind, they begin to shift from a resistant mindset toward a more receptive and less wary view of the F&I manager and the process.

The result is that the customer doesn’t feel threatened and will take a more open and receptive look at the options we present.

This also leads to a completely different view of the F&I process in the customer’s mind. One of the things dealers comment on when they start using our process is that customers actually compliment them on the F&I process rather than complain about it. And this is certainly reflected on their CSI questionnaires.

Using full disclosure from the get-go has become an integral part of our process because it makes the whole process easier for the F&I manager. It also produces, by far, more income and enhances the customer experience. As an added bonus, you never have to worry about someone saying you weren’t honest or that the proper disclosures weren’t being made. You’ve got it in writing in every deal jacket — not because you have to, but because it’s part of your strategy.

Find out how we can give you 100% F&I performance.