Another way to improve customer satisfaction is to keep the process short, says Ron Martin, president of VisionMenu.
Bennett and Martin offered 5 tips for F&I success Tuesday during an online webinar as part of Automotive News F&I Week. A free replay is available at www.fandiweek.com.
1. Don't wait to meet the customer for the first time in the F&I office.
"We're finding it puts customers more at ease when we meet them at the salesperson's desk," Bennett said. ... "When they go back to the [F&I] desk, they get very nervous and they feel like: 'This guy's out to get me.' If we wait, we don't have those couple of minutes to build rapport."
2. Limit F&I menu items to five. The first three should be GAP, extended-service plans and prepaid maintenance, in that order. If you must offer more than five F&I products, create an aftermarket department and sell them separately.
"Once you get to too many menu items, the customer becomes confused and they don't know what they need," Bennett said.
3. Customers learn in three ways: seeing, hearing and touching. A multifaceted presentation helps get the message across.
"Give them something to write with," Bennett said. "If they hear it, see, it, touch it, they listen to you more. If it's just you talking, or if it's just a video, you don't get all three going."
4. Limit the F&I manager's tasks to selling F&I products only.
"Administrative tasks can be done by admin specialists," Martin said. "Lender approvals can be handled by sales. ... Get rid of the 'It's not my job' attitude. The line between the sales manager and the F&I manager should shrink considerably."
5. Replace F&I managers who can't get a customer in and out of the finance office on average in 30 minutes or less, Martin said. "The process can only be improved so much."