F&I companies and dealerships strive to make the F&I process easier and more satisfying for consumers while still generating a profit for the dealership. Whether it's a customized presentation, a digital menu or online F&I product intros, many F&I companies have suggested an adjusted approach for today's consumer.
But for some dealerships, it may be best to stick to the basics, said George Angus, president of F&I consulting firm Team One Group in Scottsdale, Ariz.
He wrote in his Saturday Morning Message newsletter over the weekend that some of his dealership clients are surprised that his training package options do not include pre-exposure to F&I products or a pre-F&I interview, two components he calls "possible deal killers."
Introducing F&I products ahead of time, whether online or on the sales floor, is less effective than leaving the entire presentation to the F&I manager, he said.
"The point I want you to consider is that extensive testing and trial and error in 'real' F&I offices, regardless of the F&I process being used, clearly shows that the most effective processes work best when the only person who presents or mentions the F&I products is the F&I manager," Angus wrote.
While he advises against a pre-interview, though, Angus still suggests that F&I managers greet customers so they know how long it will take to get their paperwork ready.
He suggests F&I managers avoid "an interview where the F&I manager comes out to the showroom and asks the customer a battery of questions such as 'How many miles will you be driving this car?' or 'You are obviously concerned about the value of your car when you trade it' or 'In the event of your untimely death, who would be responsible for making the payments?' etc."
Many customers said in a Team One Group poll that they felt like they were being sold to right when the F&I managers started the pre-interview on the sales floor, Angus said.
"Why is [the pre-interview] any of our business, other than to tip off the customer that you're setting them up to sell them something?" he wrote.
With the training necessary to incorporate expanded roles and new technology, Angus said, some dealerships may be better off relying on processes that have worked in the past. "You just might find out you have been adding additional time and energy to the process and making your job harder than it needs to be," he wrote.
A one-person sales and F&I approach, a customized presentation and online product information could work for some dealers, but in Angus' opinion, sticking to the basics may be more efficient for other dealers.