The chronicles of a galaxy far, far away are filled with nuggets of worthy lessons for your F&I department.   

There are plenty of reasons why most of you like Star Wars. Laser guns, spaceships, secret organizations, alien races, cosmic battles make it so captivating. But Star Wars brings so much more to the table.  Notably, many plots and the unforgettable characters in the saga continue to teach lessons worth applying for the success of your finance and insurance department. Be it Luke, a farm boy who rose to become one of the greatest Jedi of the galaxy, or the feisty, capable leader Princess Leia, most of you will come to relate to a Star Wars character in some capacity.  

As you closely observe characters, you will find a lot to take away and apply in your F&I (finance & insurance) department for good. Though the movie characters are not real, you can glean the following real lessons from the epic saga.   

  1. A Good Crew is Everything:

    The Ghost’s crew in the animated show Star Wars Rebels have all come from vastly different walks of life, but they have become a tight-knit crew and found a family through their missions to fight the Empire.

    Your takeaway: 

    As the manager or director, ensure that you have a solid team to help you attain your mission. An efficient team has the right people in the right role. Additionally, find ways to engage, motivate, and develop your staff. Engaged employees are more likely to remain employed with their organization over a more extended period. Your department will perform better when you set new goals and do what is required to give staff every opportunity to succeed. It is one of the greatest lessons for the success of your finance and insurance department.

  2. Realize others see the world differently than  you  do:  

    Obi-Wan said, ”Luke, you are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
    A customer may have different needs and requirements than what  you  perceive. Asking questions to understand customers’  needs will help clear out  your assumptions and  better  serve them.

    Your takeaway:  

    Every consumer has a unique need. Assuming what your customer wants based on  previous  experience can drive your customer away. Empathy and listening skills  impact  the level of trust a buyer has in the sales person.  Furthermore, empathy plays a significant role in a customer’s overall experience,  thus influencing the  CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index)  and loyalty.  Custom finance and insurance products serve the customers’  needs and further enhance their ownership experience. Remember to apply these lessons for the growth of your finance and insurance department.

    Why  identifying  customers’  needs matter to your finance and insurance department?  

    If  you  are indifferent to the customers’ needs, they will take their business elsewhere.
    Often,  customers get puzzled with the options they get. As an effective manager,  you need to ask  the right questions to help  the  customer discover their needs and  offer products that would be valuable to them.
    Identifying  the  customers’  needs  correctly would allow  you  to cross-sell  products that would further enhance customers’  overall experience.   

  3. Embrace the traits that make you stand apart:  

    Chancellor Palpatine was granted emergency powers to use the newly discovered clones in the fight against the Separatists, launching the Clone Wars. No matter if you are like other dealers that offer identical products, your commitment to serve your customers better is the power that will set you apart from your competitors.

    Your takeaway:  

    Expand your F&I portfolio and offer custom packages to build a value proposition. For example, create a customized and exclusive bundle of F&I products and value-add offerings that will grow sales  and tie  your customers to your dealership.  That would significantly boost the prospects of making a second sale.

  4. Keep  your mind open to new possibilities:  

    Ezra Bridger, the apprentice of Jarrus, kept his mind open to new possibilities and continued his efforts to become a Jedi despite his struggles.

    Your Takeaway:  

    Some dealerships are unknowingly operating in a way that can have them running afoul of regulatory and compliance guidelines.  Efficient, recurrent training can help your team remain current and keep you compliant.

    Why  upgrading  your compliance knowledge matter?  
    • The F&I department manages a range of responsibilities and needs to safeguard the dealership by meeting specific requirements such as identity fraud, the right ways to run consumers’ credit checks.   
    • Updating  your compliance knowledge is critical to keep  you  aware  of  the new  laws  and  regulations.  For  instance,  when  auto dealers were held accountable  for  illegal,  discriminatory markups,  the  policies were revised  and tightened  as a result. Therefore,  being open to regular training  will keep  you  updated on  compliance  revisions.   
    • Furthermore, with proper compliance training,  your sales team will enter the field with more confidence resulting in more efficiency and success.  
  5. Our thoughts and actions  impact  our future.  

    Focus is a core belief of the Jedi training. This statement is more than Obi-Wan waxing all yogi ”be here now,”

    Your takeaway:  

    Making customer service your core focus will help you stand out from your competitors. A customer-friendly focus will not only help you retain your customers but will also improve your Customer Satisfaction Index. This is an important lesson for finance and insurance department and for your overall success.

    Why is it important to focus on customer satisfaction?  

    Having the right basket of products that speak to the customer-driven demands combined with an informational, transparent approach to product presentation works to both increase sales and reduce cancellations.  Bundling value add products into customer-driven packages turns into more sales, fewer discounts, and most importantly, happy, retained customers.