Running your dealership day in and day out can consume all of your energy and time. When searching for strategies to positively impact your bottom line, fortunately success leaves clues.

In today’s business climate, maintaining a high-performing F&I department is critical to your dealership’s liquidity and cash flow. Identifying the key elements for success can be elusive. Have you ever wondered why some F&I departments consistently perform better?

Operations at most dealerships function with only one to three F&I producers, so one of the key variables is the manager. While the role of this position has many components, in the end, it is this person’s ability to sell that will have the greatest impact on revenue.

A Harvard study identified the following traits in top-performing salespeople.

Accept Responsibility for Results. How often have you heard excuses that place the blame of poor performance on outside influences? “It’s the bank capping my deals. The desk is not leaving me any room. The salesperson is undermining the sale of products.” Top performers understand these elements exist and find a way to rise above them.

Intensely Goal-Oriented. It has been said the world makes way for the individual that knows where they are going. Are the results of each and every opportunity tracked and logged? Does your F&I manager report the MTD results daily during your save-a-deal meetings? Can your entire team (including salespeople) verbalize what the goals are by product for the F&I department this month?

High Customer Empathy. Walk a mile in my shoes. When the customer enters the business office, do they feel like they are being “sold” or “presented with options”? Are your producers burying customers in brochures, features, advantages and benefits or sharing stories about how the coverages being offered have protected other customers just like them?

Impeccable Honesty. With the scrutiny that this part of your dealership is subject to, this issue is non-negotiable. You simply cannot afford to keep any person on staff, let alone in the business office that you have reservations about their integrity. Customers will purchase coverage when properly presented.

Ambition and Desire to Win. Success often comes from things we do when no one is watching. How much time does your current F&I staff spend each week working on improving their skills? Sure your product rep comes in and brings cookies and doughnuts, but when was the last time they drilled, rehearsed and role played with your business manager? Technology today has made digital video very inexpensive. You can purchase a device for less than $200 that will effectively record a presentation. Why not ask your business manager to record one menu presentation per week to review and examine for ways to improve?

Determination and Self Discipline. Grit is defined as a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. How committed is your current F&I manager? Do they make the investment in themselves to continually sharpen their skills, or do they only attend programs when you pay for the expense and require them to participate? The price to be paid for success comes first from understanding and acknowledging that few will achieve it and to produce at the highest level requires sacrifice. Does your business manager welcome deals presented at 8:45 p.m. as enthusiastically as those presented at 10 a.m.?

The success of your store will be greatly impacted by the quality of the people you place on your team. In the end to achieve greatness you will need to strike a balance between getting the best people and finding ways to get the best from the people you already have.

Vol. 8, Issue 5