Dealers hate to think about experienced F&I staffers leaving. Being short-handed in F&I not only can ding profits, it can create a dilemma: Is it best to look inside or outside the organization for a good replacement?
Promoting from within sparks opportunities for employees, but the selection must be made carefully. F&I requires finesse that is difficult for some employees to attain, dealership executives say.
Neal Coppola, general manager of Findlay Volkswagen Flagstaff in Arizona, looked in-house for a candidate when he needed more F&I help but not a dedicated, full-time staffer. He trained one of his top salespeople, Phil Deasy, on F&I. Now Deasy handles F&I for his deals and fills in as needed on F&I for the sales manager and Coppola.
“It works for [Deasy] because it gives him a chance to grow and increase his income opportunities,” Coppola said. “It works for the customers because they don’t have that transition from sales to F&I manager.”
The proof is in the numbers. Deasy has a 72 percent F&I product penetration rate for his customers and a 64 percent rate when he handles F&I for other salespeople.
“We found that very interesting,” Coppola said. “That disproves the conventional wisdom that customers [who are passed from a salesperson to F&I staff] are more willing to buy.”