Finance and insurance managers once were trained to memorize and use a script as they pitched products to customers. But that philosophy is changing, some F&I experts and trainers say.
Instead of using so-called word tracks, which essentially are canned speeches, several F&I trainers say they now suggest F&I managers use thought tracks, or guides to help them through a presentation using their own words. They say it's especially critical today, when consumers' resistance to sales pitches is commonplace.
"To the ear, a canned speech sounds like a canned speech," George Angus, president of Team One Group, an F&I training company in Scottsdale, Ariz., told Automotive News. "If it's memorized, then the other problem is the language used. I always used examples of ones that I was taught, phrases like 'in the event of your untimely death' or 'in the event your car should become a total loss' — then it became a monotone. Customers naturally reacted negatively to that."
While some F&I training companies still recommend F&I staff use word tracks in sales pitches to consumers, or perhaps mix those word tracks with their natural way of talking, other trainers such as Team One Group have embraced the approach that a person's natural way of talking is the way to sell F&I products.
Angus said he was taught to memorize speeches, and then had to role-play in front of a group and be videotaped doing a presentation, which was then critiqued. His company's training program, which includes guidelines about what to cover in a presentation, has featured natural language since the late 1990s or early 2000s.
One reason for the switch to natural language is that word tracks often are too long to keep a customer's interest, he said. One script Angus reviewed a few years ago was 788 words and would take nearly eight minutes to read to a customer.
"We've got such a short window of opportunity," he said. "People are more sales resistant than they've ever been."