F&I managers: Embrace the showroom floor

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Get out of the F&I office

It's important to a dealership's success that the F&I manager get out of the F&I office -- not only to interact with customers but also to help train the sales force, says F&I trainer Becky Chernek, president of Chernek Consulting in Cumming, Ga.

"F&I managers get in the box and they stay in the box. Once they're in that nest, it's hard to get them out," Chernek says. "They should provide additional training. In a lot of stores it surprises me how many F&I people are not involved in the sales training piece. In some cases, F&I is not invited and F&I does not have a voice."

Never inflate job titles on credit applications

It might seem like word play to turn a Walmart greeter into a customer relations manager on a credit application, but it probably constitutes bank fraud -- especially the term "manager," says F&I consultant Gil Van Over, president of gvo3 & Associates in Crown Point, Ind.

He says he once visited a dealership where customers were frequently listed as "managers" on their credit applications, even though the information the customers provided didn't match. Says Van Over: "The general manager looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Everybody manages something in their life.'"

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com.

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