Facebook fills F&I training void

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Do you feel you get enough in-house training?

I posted that question on a Facebook page catering to F&I managers and trainers last week and got about a dozen replies. Responses were mixed, but the overall sentiment was no.

My question was prompted by a conversation I had with an F&I trainer the week before.

He said many dealerships fall short when it comes to providing regular in-house training to F&I officers. The training could be as simple as providing articles about finance and insurance from Automotive News or other news sources to read, he said. Or it could consist of enabling F&I officers to take online courses or do role-playing. But it’s not happening to the degree it should given that at most dealerships, the F&I department is a profit powerhouse, the trainer says.

Here is what one F&I manager posted in response to my question: “This past week our new car sales manager was in Boston for training, his third trip in the past three years, the other new car sales manager will be leaving in a week or so for the same session. The general sales manager will be leaving the following month.”

In his post, the manager noted that salespeople attend outside training at least four times a year and in-house training the same amount. He says they get monthly online product training and courses from product trainers every six weeks or so.

About himself, he wrote: “In the past 10 years I have spent in the box, the only training I have received has been out of my own pocket, the F&I Forum, and this group.”

Another F&I manager wrote that at his store, the F&I team tries to meet twice a week to review numbers and role-play when time permits.

But most agreed they got the best training by chatting with industry peers on the F&I manager Facebook page.

Wrote one manager: “I do my own training about once a month to keep sharp, tons of training books, or I just keep up with trainers on Facebook.”

Thank goodness for social media.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com. -- Follow Jamie on Twitter

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