Use of old-school F&I practices can stand in the way of the dealership’s ability to maximize the department’s revenue. Outdated F&I practices can:
- Create a less comfortable environment for consumers in which to want to do business with the dealership.
- Take too much time for F&I managers to prepare the right products presentation for the particular customer, one that offers the solutions the customer will likely perceive as being of value to him or her and want to purchase.
- Harm retention by creating a “pushy selling” environment most customers find distasteful.
- Weaken profits, by preventing the F&I office from achieving the per vehicle retail and penetration profitability that is possible.
- Drain commission dollars that otherwise might flow to the F&I manager’s compensation.
New-school F&I tools and practices should help the dealership increase per-vehicle gross. This is just what new F&I tools and processes are doing for dealerships. An example is Klick-Lewis Chevrolet-Buick, Palmyra, PA The dealership recently started using F&I menu software and F&I compliance tools. “We increased gross profit per car $300 when we started using an F&I process that ensured consistency and accountability,” says Dealer Principal and President Warren Lewis.
“The process helps us make sure that every customer is understood, that is it also helps us to understand what is important to them and how to properly present to them the right F&I products, given their unique driving circumstance,” he adds.
It is consistency like this in the F&I presentation experience that establishes trust and confidence in the F&I process and the products offered. This trust it fosters extends to the F&I manager, and to the level of satisfaction that customers carry off with them once out of the finance office and into their new vehicle.
Where these experiences are missing, dealership customer retention suffers!
“One of the main focus areas of our dealership is customer retention. Retention requires consistent application of processes across the store,” notes Willis, “and our F&I experience is the one area that is easier for us to manage outcomes, because of the F&I software tools we use.”
Ron Green, GM and VP for Safford Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-RAM, Springfield, VA, upgraded his dealership to new F&I technology. “My main driver for bringing this menu system into our store is my belief in full disclosure, ensuring we performed a complete and legal presentation with every customer,” he said.
Software-driven F&I processes also provide dealers valuable insight into F&I performance on many levels.
“With it, I also can see how both my F&I and sales teams are doing, individually and in aggregate, month-to-month and year-to-year,” Lewis said. “This F&I software helps me keep them fully accountable to this goal. I can see who is selling what—or not—and then make changes or suggestions to help us maximize all opportunities.”