How to Get the Most Out of Your F&I Office
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How to Get the Most Out of Your F&I Office

Here are a few key things that are paramount to maximizing profitability.

Hoss Devine is the CEO & president of Automotive Innovations

Dealers are currently seeing record profits in front-end grosses, but that will soon change once a sense of normalcy returns to the marketplace. So, when it comes to the finance department and trying to get the most out of it, there are a few key things that are paramount to maximizing profitability. 

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1. The Right Inventory – Having inventory that I have always called “Finance-Friendly Vehicles” is the first step in maximizing your products per deal. Having cars that are one to four years old and under 70,000 miles is a major factor in getting the most out of your finance department. 

2. Consistent Presentation – I know we have always said “100% of the Products 100% of the time.” We all know this doesn’t happen on a consistent basis. In my experience, when this happens every time without fail, your products per deal and your PRU goes up inevitably. The key factor is not only getting your people to present everything all the time, but it’s how they present it that is equally important. Do you have a consistent presentation that leads the customer down the path of self-discovery? Are your people presenting the product in a way that makes the customer feel the need or desire for the product? 

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3. Having the Right Mindset – Having the right mindset in any job is crucial. I have met a lot of finance managers that pre-judge their customers and make a decision that someone will not take the product before they even present it to them. When they embrace this mindset, it affects their presentation.

The main reasons I have found people take this judgmental approach is due to a lack of confidence around their presentation and fear in general. These two things have a major impact on the mindset for success in that office. When I was trained in finance, we role-played over and over again. This instilled a level of unconscious competence and confidence. When you are bulletproof on your presentation, then you can focus your time listening to the customer versus trying to think about what to say next. 

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The fear comes from having that lack of confidence. I also find some finance mangers have it in their head that they must also do this elaborate process of building rapport with customers to be successful. I don’t feel rapport has anything to do with the success in that office. What level of rapport can you realistically expect to achieve with someone in the first 10 minutes of meeting them? The process, if done right, will build the needed rapport. You must make yourself out to be the expert in your field. 

Once you feel the confidence around your presentation and know it cold, then you automatically become the expert to the customer. If you focus on the process and the execution of a dialed-in presentation, then you will immediately see a major impact in the performance of your finance office.

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In closing, be sure and hold your finance company accountable to help train and create this confidence in your people. That’s what they get paid to do. If they won’t do that, I would find a different company. Having a partner that shows up periodically, buys you lunch and hands out pens and contracts is not the partner you want to help you go to that next level. 

These ideas and practices are the foundation for success in finance. I have lived it, done the job and been successful at it living these principles day in and day out. So next time you have some down time, grab one of your finance managers and ask him or her to give you a presentation. The nerves of doing it front of the dealer, GM, GSM or finance director will put way more pressure on that person than a customer will. This random requirement for this on-the-spot presentation will do nothing but make your people better. 

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I have always been told throughout my career you must inspect what you expect. Are your people bulletproof? Are they masters of their craft? The answers to these questions will do nothing but help increase your profitability.

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