Eric Melon, Philadelphia-based president of sales at Innovative Aftermarket Systems, of Austin, Texas, trains F&I managers to avoid trying to persuade customers to buy a given product by showing the logical reason why they need it. Instead, F&I managers should connect with customers on an emotional level because that's how customers make their decisions, he said.
"F&I managers need to stay away from talking about logic. Most F&I managers will show a menu to a customer and try to prove why the customer needs that product," Melon said. "Remember that customers are most concerned about what they stand to lose versus what they stand to gain. Connect with them on an emotional level by letting them talk about their expenses and story first."
Melon added: "People say no because it wasn't their idea. So listen to the customer to figure out what the 'right' product is for them."
Steve Roennau, vice president of training and compliance at EFG Cos., of Irving, Texas, said salespeople don't need to rely on a lot of tricks to close the deal and neither should F&I managers. If a salesperson does the steps in the front end of the selling process and the customer falls in love with the car or truck because it meets specific needs, F&I negotiations should be easy, Roennau said.
But a lot of F&I managers make the mistake of selling the same products to all their customers, even when it doesn't make sense, he added.
"They're not doing their interviews properly. They're not doing the setups right," he said. "They don't know which is the right [product], so they just pick the one" with the longest coverage. "They think, 'Oh, it's going to be longest. That's the best.' "