The F&I Department is an important part of the any dealership. The F&I process begins after a sales professional has obtained a verbal commitment from a customer to purchase a vehicle. The F&I manager’s job is to lock down the sale, review terms with the customer and ensure that the vehicle sold is delivered in a fully satisfactory state. Discussing financial terms can be tricky, which is why the F&I manager’s presentation and tone can go a long way in making customers feeling secure and confident in their financial decisions. After all, a car is not a small purchase!
If you’re interested in auto careers in sales and management, you should know how to make the F&I car sales process simple and smooth for the customer. Here are a few tips.
Get the F&I manager to meet the customer early
Sales professional should introduce F&I early into the conversation, so that the customer is aware that this is coming. For example, the sales professional can ask a few questions about the customer’s experience with financing for his or her past vehicles, including what they liked and disliked about the financing process. Moreover, the sales professional should ask the F&I manager to come meet the customer directly as soon as there is a verbal commitment to purchase a vehicle. Just a quick hello and a handshake is enough at this stage. Greeting early is a great strategy to ensure that the customer’s transition from the car sales professional to the F&I manager to discuss financial terms will be done smoothly and efficiently.
Push for visual information
When discussing financing options, the customer is presented a lot of information at once. Sales professionals should feel free to recommend to the F&I manager to invest in a visual presentation of this information, such as a PowerPoint presentation, that can be displayed on a large screen. With a dynamic presentation, visual prompts and side-by-side comparisons, customers will understand and retain the different financing options more easily. Plus, it will make the dealership itself look slick and cutting-edge.
Here’s some great sales advice from F&I veteran, Joe Mattina:
Full disclosure at every level
The sales professional, F&I manager and other colleagues in different automotive careers should all unite their efforts to make sure that the customer fully understands the terms and conditions of the vehicle purchase. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a sale went really well, only to have to customer return later to contest certain aspects of the financing or sales agreement. Today’s customers expect complete transparency, which is why you should go out of your way to ensure that the customer fully understands, for example, how payments and down payments will be handled, or that certain parts, including servicing by a professional with auto mechanic training, are guaranteed. The dealership has nothing to gain from withholding information from a customer. An informed customer is a happy customer!