Be your own F&I customer

It's often said that F&I managers, staffers and vendors should buy the products they pitch for their own vehicles to familiarize themselves with the features and to be more credible when they make a sales presentation.

That's good advice, says Tom Wilson, dealer development manager for American Financial & Automotive Services Inc., who says he has experienced the benefits of having a tire replacement policy firsthand.

He says a technician pulled a broken screwdriver (minus the handle) from his wife's flat tire in December. It was the third tire repair in five months for the same car.

"How much did the Wilsons have to pay for the tire repair? Zero dollars, thanks to our tire-and-wheel road hazard policy," he says.

American Financial & Automotive Services, based in The Woodlands, Texas, sells and administers F&I products. Wilson is based in the Denver metropolitan area.

F&I props work

Never underestimate the value of props for F&I product presentations.

That's what 17 years of retail experience has taught Kahli Faivre, national training director and regional sales manager for United States Warranty Corp., an F&I product administrator in Pompano Beach, Fla.

"I actually took pictures of pickups carrying loose crap in the beds that we know end up in the road. It helps the customer picture themselves running over it," Faivre told Automotive News last week.

As a trainer, she says, she provided copies of the pictures to F&I managers to use in product presentations. "They like and use it," she says.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com