It takes a special person to be a successful F&I manager, especially at a special finance dealership. The auto finance manager has to develop relationships with customers, lenders, salespeople, and more – the list of responsibilities is seemingly endless. These F&I manager tips for how to be successful are a great way to get back to the basics and focus on what it takes to be an accomplished jack of all trades.
How to Be a Successful Auto Finance Manager
A successful F&I manager sells products, maintains compliance, and fosters great relationships both internally and externally. But there's way more intricacy to the position than that. There are many characteristics and distinctions that set the best F&I managers apart from the rest of the pack. Often, going back to the basics and focusing on the core principles of the work is the best way to set yourself apart.
Here are some tips for how to be a successful auto finance manager:
- Listen to the Customer – One of the main pillars of the position is helping customers identify their needs. With every interaction, your goal should be to find out as much about the customer as possible. By learning about their driving habits and needs, you can figure out which products to pitch the hardest. Connecting with the buyer by listening helps you avoid repeating the same pitch over and over with every customer.
- Finish Pitches with Most Important Point – A great selling point is to focus on the core value of each F&I product and drive this most important point home at the end of the pitch. Don't overcomplicate it – make it easy to understand and descriptive.
- Believe in Your Products – A successful F&I manager is both knowledgeable about the products and has a genuine belief in them. Take a look at your menu and analyze what's there. Don’t overload it. Instead, pare it down to what's important and what you and your store believe in. This way, you can tell each and every customer you sit down with that you only offer F&I products that the dealership has the utmost belief in.
- Commit to the Craft – A great F&I manager tip is to always stay up to date on the latest news, developments, and information surrounding the profession. You should be networking with other successful F&I managers to learn what's working for them, and reading industry publications to remain on the cutting edge. Additionally, setting up or attending formal training sessions with your staff is another way to improve what you do. Learning new information and finding better techniques can help your store be better prepared to meet its goals.
- Be Ethical and Maintain Compliance – It's a new and more transparent world in the F&I office today. The only way to do it successfully and sustainably is to put ethics, openness, and honesty at the forefront. Have clear compliance policies and procedures in place, and make sure to run an automated compliance system check on every deal. At the same time, showcasing your commitment to honesty with customers builds credibility and appreciation.
- Communicate with Dealership Staff – Communication with the salespeople and office personnel can help take your store to the next level. Approaching this with the mindset of finding out what you can do to make their jobs easier can help foster a collaborative work environment. As you learn from and discuss their job responsibilities, they'll ask the same of you in turn. From there, you can discuss ways they can make your job easier. For example, you can drive home regulations and laws that affect them, discuss how to best avoid creating legal liability with customers on the showroom floor, and establish ways they can prep buyers for certain F&I products during their own sales pitches.
- Cultivate Strong Lender Relationships – The best way to have a strong relationship with the lenders you're signed up with is to consistently deliver quality paper. Learn to match lenders with the type of applications they respond best to, and work on developing personal relationships with your contacts. Having leverage with as many lenders as possible can help in times when credit standards are tightening.
The Bottom Line
Being a successful F&I manager means wearing many hats, but communication, a belief in the products, a commitment to the craft, and the right attitude can help take your dealership to the next level.
At the same time, Auto Credit Express wants to help take your store up a level with our leads and other great dealer products and services. We want to help your dealership get more customers in the door, boost sales, and increase profits. Learn more by calling us at 888-535-2277 or filling out our contact form online.