Speeding up the F&I Process

If you have ever spent time with a toddler, you learned that asking them, “do you want an orange or apple” will get you a faster answer than asking “what do you want for a snack?”  The same is true with your customers.  Instead of presenting each F&I product and painfully going through the yes/no process, giving your customers menu options is easier for your customers and F&I manager.

When I was an F&I manager, the pre-customer prep took about 15 minutes.  I’d enter all my products into the deal and then write down the monthly payment. Then I’d slowly remove them, recalc the payment and then write down the lower payment on a grid until I was back to my minimum payment which was always the payment and the smallest extended warranty.  This prep process was hard  – but selling was easy.  I’m so old that vehicles only came with a 12 month/12,000 warranty.  Selling the extended warranty was no big deal.   I would say, “Chevrolet builds the finest product on the market today.  If I told you that for $250 you can add a little box that guarantees that it won’t break down for 36,000 miles – you would jump at the chance to get that little box installed today.  I’m sorry to say, that Chevrolet hasn’t made that box yet, but at least you won’t have to pay for those repairs.”  Yes, the extended warranty was only $250!  Who wouldn’t buy that from an eager and cute little F&I manager?  To make matters easier, my kindly sales managers would give me some “legroom” in the payment – so even my “fully protected payment plan” with all my products only cost a few dollars more.  Of course, with those things going for me, I was an award-winning F&I manager and one of the first female F&I managers; trained by the first female F&I manager. Ahh… the 70s!

Today, the job is hard in the F&I office.  Customers are more informed, the days of getting leg in the payment are gone, and cars don’t break down as much.  F&I managers have to truly “sell” products, but at least we can make the prep work easier.  Make sure you have provided your F&I managers with easy to use F&I menu software like our new Menu Options inside of DealerStar.  This isn’t an interfaced 3rd party product, but rather an enhancement designed with the help of one of our dealer clients.  It is easy to setup, easy to use and your hard-working F&I managers don’t need to press any buttons to import/export data.  This will help speed up the F&I process and hopefully make you more Profit.  That is our objective – to be the Profit-focused DMS.

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