It is not just money: Why F&I training is essential for the growth of your auto dealership.
Finance and Insurance (F&I) managers work directly with consumers, so their role is vitally important when it comes to understanding consumers’ needs, encouraging them to buy valuable products, and at the same time maximizing the dealership’s profit. Mistakes in the F&I department can cost you more than a sale. It could potentially impact customer satisfaction, loyalty, increase acquisition cost, and severely affect the dealership’s reputation.
On the other hand, a satisfied customer can become a brand advocate for your business. They cost less to serve and are typically willing to pay more than other customers. They often act as word-of-mouth marketers for your company and are highly likely to refer their friends, family, and acquaintances to your dealership. Win satisfaction, and profits will follow as night follows day.
Maintaining a high-performing F&I manager is crucial to your dealership’s bottom line and success in today’s changing environment. Therefore, hiring the right person to fill the role requires looking for specific personality traits. The list of qualities can be endless. However, efficient F&I managers have the right combination of three core qualities:
The F&I managers have the capability to boost your dealership profit. A lot of the F&I profits come from products such as vehicle service contracts, GAP waiver and insurance, pre-paid maintenance, glass protection, and tire and wheel coverage. The F&I manager must be aligned with the dealership’s goals and know their penetration benchmarks. Distributing profits among valuable consumer add-ons helps create consumer peace of mind and allows dealerships meet consistent revenue goals. It would add up to attain revenue goals for the dealership. Having a goal-oriented approach would enable the managers perform better and increase profit.
Taking accountability for results is another major distinguishing character. Blaming poor results on outside entities such as the bank capping my deals, lack of support from sales personnel–the salesperson is undermining the sale of products, the product does not award good commission, would impact operations in the long run. Top performers find a way to rise above those excuses.
Empathy or customer-focused
When a customer enters your F&I office, do they feel like they are being “sold” or offered valuable options? Understanding customer needs and offering useful products is just one part. Another key step is sharing narratives about how the coverages being offered have protected other customers just like them. A real-world instance can help customers recognize the value of the products.
Compliant and highly ethical
An employee’s reservations towards ethics and integrity raise a big red flag. Your dealership cannot afford to lose its reputation due to negligence or ignorance in complying with finance and insurance regulations. Therefore, hiring the right personnel for your team is non-negotiable.
Now arises the big question: How would you precisely identify the right person for your F&I department?
The characteristics of the people you place on your team significantly influence the success of your dealership. A strategic personality evaluation could help achieve the objective of identifying the right person for your team. However, merely conducting personality tests would not suffice. Comprehending and decoding the individuals’ traits and finding the right fit for the role demand experience and expertise.
Furthermore, finding the suitable person and sharpening their skills through extensive training will make a tremendous difference in your team’s performance. Comprehensive training should include document preparation, presenting loan and financing options to customers, state and federal compliance knowledge, training to sell ancillary products, identifying indications of customer receptivity, and psychological training to close the deals faster.
The right person for the role and proper training to enhance employee’s skills contribute to your dealership’s profitability. Additionally, personality assessment helps discover employee’s traits and motivation in determining if they would succeed in the F&I department and be trained appropriately to achieve sales goals and cultivate consumers’ goodwill with the transparency of process and prices.
The following chart shows the critical ingredients for the success of the dealership.
F&I profits are key to overall dealership success. Thus, the role that the “right person” plays in success is undeniable. The PRO Consulting team has helped auto dealers find the right fit for essential functions and train employees for significant improvements in productivity. Furthermore, our comprehensive training has shown proven results in raising employees’ efficiency, which in turn increases sales and profits. Contact us to get custom solutions to grow the profitability of your unique dealership.
Is your F&I department helping or hurting your dealership?
The automotive industry is changing fast for many dealers and their bottom lines. Two factors are limiting dealership profits. First, as the dealerships face competition, which can squeeze profit margins per vehicle retailed. Secondly, transformation in the customers’ driving habits and behavior is influencing the purchasing decision now more than ever. The dealerships could face problems if they do not pro-actively adapt to the changing trends.
Historically, dealerships have depended upon Finance and Insurance to counter front-end profit pressure, generate revenue, and grow business. The finance and insurance department’s success often lies in offering various cutting-edge products to meet customers’ needs. Continually review your F&I products portfolio to ensure it is comprehensive and includes products that are most valuable to your customers.
Here are some best practices to help your dealership boost profits:
Sell multiple F&I products for customers to pick and choose from.
Additional products in your F&I portfolio can contribute to more profit. For example, selling two or three products per vehicle retailed equates to earning an average of $200 to $300 more per vehicle retailed. Offering products that speak to what the manufacturer does not cover can close the deal faster.
GAP waiver and insurance helps pay off the auto loan if your car is totaled or stolen and you owe more than the car’s depreciated value. So, its usefulness is easily understood by the customers and, therefore, is a must in your F&I product portfolio.
Pre-paid maintenance keeps your customer returning to your dealership. It increases customer loyalty and significantly raises the chances of making the additional sale while the customers are in the dealership.
Vehicle Service Contract Through the use of a one-part contract, dealership personnel have the ability to offer their customers a combination of coverages and terms that best suit the customer’s driving habits.
Anti-theft protection covers theft loss, so the customers will not have to pay out of pocket. The Invisible Marking System (IMS) is one of the easiest theft deterrent products to apply. Backed by a robust warranty, the IMS product provides valuable benefits and peace of mind.
Tire and wheel products cover wheel replacement when damaged by a Road Hazard. Tire and wheel are damaged easily and most commonly. Therefore, coverage with no deductible offers big consumer value.
Windshield protection such as Diamond Fusion scientifically coating improves visibility in severe weather conditions. The customers easily grasp this plan because most of them have experienced driving in challenging weather.
Paintless Dent Repairs covers minor but very common door dings, and the consumers can easily see its value. A car’s worth depends highly on its exterior, so covering the dings provide considerable benefits to the customers.
Offer custom products as per the customer’s unique needs.
Custom finance and insurance products serve the customers’ needs and further enhance their overall ownership experience. A customized maintenance plan can create a profit center in your finance department. Additionally, the custom dealership maintenance programs keep the money in your shop instead of the factory’s coffers. Build a plan that ties the customers to the dealership that opens the door to more revenue opportunities, and significantly increases the possibility of making a second sale.
On the other hand, the following overlooked practices could drastically hurt the finance and insurance department and ultimately impact your dealership’s profitability.
Limited products for a higher price: Adopting a typical approach of offering only limited products and selling products for high prices is the first and foremost threat to your finance and insurance department. Thus, to grow profit, it is essential to offer a variety of products to match your customers’ unique requirements.
Insufficient knowledge of products you are selling: Your team must be well-versed in the products, purpose, and benefits to customers. The more your F&I team understands the products they sell, the more they believe in what they are selling. This, in turn, allows them to portray confidence and establish a comfort level with customers.
Demotivated personnel: Having various products to offer to customers is advantageous when your team possesses high motivation to grow PVR. Dispirited personnel who are not keen or well trained to sell a broader offering of custom products can be a significant risk to your finance department’s profitability. Providing comprehensive sales and finance training helps achieve the highest levels of success in the automotive industry.
Finance and insurance will remain a large contributor to dealership gross profits. To maximize your profitability, follow the 3 R process of realign, revitalize, and remove.
Realign best practices and products to stay current with market conditions.
Revitalize your people and your processes with recurrent training and updated technology in your department.
Remove processes, products and people that are not a part of the solution for growth.
Reevaluate the practices of your F&I department to determine if it is helping or hurting your dealership. Our decades of automotive industry experience can help you make incremental improvements across all areas of your F&I operations. Contact us today to get tailored solutions for your dealership.
Maximize your Dealership’s Profitability: Three essential strategies to increase profit most dealerships overlook.
The auto industry is expected to witness double-digit growth in 2021, as per the Economist Intelligence Unit report. However, it will not be enough to make up for the plunge caused by the pandemic. A recovery in 2021 will not be straightforward. Therefore, auto dealerships will be forced to review their operations and processes to maximize every opportunity to increase profit.
Before we dive deeper into the three key strategies to improve your dealership’s profitability, let us take a look at the consumer and automotive industry trends that may impact your dealership’s bottom line. It is critical to watch your customers’ and the auto industry’s inclination before planning a strategic move in anticipation of growing profits.
The future vehicle intentions:
The good news for dealerships in the U.S.: 66% of consumers have not altered their timeline for buying a new vehicle because of the pandemic, and 17% plan to buy it sooner than planned. This is an excellent opportunity for dealers to acquire new customers and provide exceptional service to retain existing consumers and tap into the potential to make a second sale.
The preferred way of buying a new vehicle:
The in-person buying experience weighs much more than buying a vehicle virtually. In the United States, 71% of consumers intend to buy a new car in person, and 12% plan to buy partially virtually.
The influence of trusted relationship:
Consumers in the U.S feel most connected with the purchasing dealers as compared to the brand or financial lender. 34% of consumers stated that they place their trust in the dealer from where they bought the vehicle, whereas 23% of consumers do not feel connected with either the dealer or brand. 23% is a significant number of consumers to lose because of their weak relations and trust level in dealers and brands.
The opportunity to grab a bigger piece of the pie:
The consumer and market trends show that dealerships can increase profitability as the pandemic does not drastically influence the automotive market. The statistics show that customers still prefer to buy in person, and their buying decision is influenced by the trust and relationship with the purchasing dealership.
Is your dealership ready to harness the opportunity to grow profitability?
Identifying areas to improve is the key to your success in driving growth in your dealership. With the industry experience of over ninety years, and expertise to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios, we consider the following three strategies that would considerably grow your profit:
The right people: The process of improving a dealership’s profitability always starts with the right person in the right role. Employing uninterested sales and service personnel can impact your profitability and diminish customer relation and trust. If you have the right people on your team, you could close the deals faster and build a strong relationship with the customer that would significantly grow the prospects of making a second sale.
How to assess if you have the right person to achieve the sales goal?
Sometimes the best talent for the job is working in a different position in the dealership. Finding the right person for the right role demands in-depth review and assessment. We begin the process by interviewing and evaluating aptitude, behavioral traits, industry experience, and core job proficiency. We help dealers identify the diamonds in the rough and polish them into a gem to ensure your success.
The wide variety of cutting-edge F&I products and training to sell more: Finance and insurance products can create a revenue center in your dealership especially when it is leveraged strategically.
How to increase profitability through F&I products?
Firstly, it is essential to offer various cutting-edge F&I products that meet the need of your customers. Secondly, training the staff and establishing a framework for customers to discover the need and value of F&I products being offered is critical. Systematic training leads to improved sales, customer satisfaction, and ultimately increases your profitability.PRO Team teaches dealership staff a guided discovery process that takes the customer through a series of thoughtful questions. It enables customers to discover the need and significance of F&I products as a part of their personal ownership needs. As a result, selling becomes less transactional and more consultatory, which equates to higher penetrations and lower cancellations.
Customer-centric approach: Customized finance and insurance products to serve customers’ unique needs are vital to creating a value proposition for the finance and sales department that differentiates the store from competing brands in the market.
How to leverage customer-centricity to grow profit?
Through our years of experience, we found that having the right basket of products to suit the market conditions and customer requirements accelerates growth and procures higher benefits. For instance, we customized an exclusive bundle of F&I products with expert training and field support to a dealership. That provided our client with value-add offerings that turned into more sales, fewer discounts, and most importantly, retained customers.
Dealership profitability is achieved at the intersection of all the three key strategies:
The right people
Variety of cutting-edge F&I products and training
At PRO Consulting LLC, we understand that trends and practices in the auto industry are changing continuously. Therefore, we provide customized solutions, products, and training to help you exceed your business goals. Whether you are a multi-franchise or single-point operator, we can help you close more deals and retain your customers. Get in touch with the PRO team to grow your dealership’s profitability.