A case for breaking the 300% rule

Most F&I folks subscribe to the “300 percent rule”: Offer 100 percent of the products to 100 percent of the dealership’s customers 100 percent of the time.

But a recent conversation with a friend makes me think the rule doesn’t apply to 100 percent of cases.

My friend just bought a new sedan. He shopped a few dealerships and was well-researched on prices. He knew what he wanted to pay and he got a satisfactory deal. He financed it through the dealership after shopping other lenders for a low rate, which the dealership beat.

When I asked whether he had bought any F&I products, such as a tire-and-wheel policy or an extended service contract, he quickly said no.

He explained that his vehicle purchase hung on an agreement with the dealership that its employees would not even present an F&I product to him. If they did, the vehicle sale would be off. The sales manager agreed to the caveat, and my friend just initialed off on the product presentation.

I had never heard of a customer hinging a vehicle sale on such a demand and was surprised the sales manager acquiesced.

Then, I thought about it.

While the sales manager and F&I manager likely were disappointed, it made sense at that point to agree to skip the F&I product presentation. After all, even if the dealership were to show all F&I products to all customers all of the time, maybe only half actually buy one.

Of the other 50 percent, maybe half or so are open to buying an F&I product, and the rest are like my friend: They know for sure they had zero interest in any F&I products. They are a definite no. Therefore, it’s an inefficient use of the F&I manager’s time and resources to present the F&I menu to those folks. Doing so might even lead to the loss of the vehicle sale or to a lower satisfaction score if the customers are adamant they don’t want any F&I products and grow impatient with the process.

So save your time and your best customer service skills for the 75 percent or so of customers who will either definitely want F&I products, or at least might say yes.

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

25

Shares

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Over the last few months, Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Newsletters