How would you rate your Finance and Insurance (F&I) department? Is it just the office where necessary paperwork is signed in order for a sale to be completed? Or, is it where a competent professional demonstrates real customer service by offering helpful suggestions to the buyer while generating profit for the business?
You can have it all with your F&I, but only if the right person is doing the job.
CEO of consulting group IDDS, Max Zanan has conducted numerous consulting and training sessions in dealerships throughout the country. And he has noted that he rarely sees any documents on the walls of F&I departments showing that the managers are certified through the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals (AFIP). Why is this?
- Experience isn't everything.
It is often the case that the best salespeople at a dealership are promoted to management and F&I management roles. And while these individuals may have a great deal of dealership experience, it is likely that they have no formal training or accreditation in F&I. This can be problematic because mistakes made with F&I may have legal ramifications, meaning that a "bad" customer interaction won't just hurt your reputation. Rather, it could get you sued.
AFIP certification isn't difficult to acquire, but well worth the effort involved. Get your seasoned employees properly certified when they get those promotions so that they have the job-specific knowledge to back up their experience.
- Take pride in your business.
Through his organization, the aforementioned Zanan offers training courses for AFIP certification. In doing so, he has stated that his firm's goal is to "Improve dealership workforces and educate finance managers as a way to add to the 'prestige' of the profession." And this is an important point to consider in an industry where consumer trust is vital. Those framed credentials aren't just wall decorations. For car buyers who are on the verge of spending large sums of money, they stand for professionalism, high standards and expertise.
Knowing may be half the battle, but a good F&I manager will hone their skills on a daily basis in order to be as effective and helpful as possible while on the job. Yes, assisting real customers in actual situations is the absolute best way to develop F&I skills, but there are self-training measures that should be taken during the in-between times as well.
- Create a set of questions that customers might ask. Review these hypothetical open-ended questions to help you understand customer needs.
- Rehearse your presentation to improve your ability to respond to customer concerns, wants and objections.
- Stay up-to-date on the products you sell, as well as the laws in your state that pertain to credit, finance and auto insurance requirements.
Attracting the Right Customers
Before you can sit those customers down with your finance manager, you have to get them through the doors. And Auto Credit Express can help you do just that. We are the industry's most trusted source for leads, with an average of 32% of our applicants purchasing cars within 6 months. Let our experts work for you by submitting the form on our Contact Page, or give us a call at (888)535-2277.