The Road to Efficiency
The Road to Efficiency

It’s 8:30 AM, the F&I manager arrives at the dealership and enters their office, turns on their computer to open their DMS, CRM, DealerTrack, RouteOne and Manufacture’s websites; confirms that there are no outstanding contracts in transit or held offerings; see’s that all deals from yesterday have been approved as called, all stips met and every contract has been e-contracted and funded; confirms all deals have been sent to accounting and is ready to SELL! It is 9:00 A.M. and the store is already working its first deal.

Oh boy…what a day today is going to be! The deal gets done at 10:00 A.M. and it is a finance deal. The structure (DTI-LTV-Rate and Terms) is right in line. The sales consultant, with perfection, completed all the necessary paperwork needed for the transition to F&I. The customer is well informed by the sales consultant as to the next step which makes the transition to F&I as smooth as silk. The customer is escorted back to the F&I office and, while being introduced in a professional upbeat tone, states to the finance manager, “I’m really looking forward to what you have to offer me!”… WAKE UP!!

While there are some F&I managers out there who manage their departments with precision and maintain high levels of proficiency, the reality is that most days in the F&I office start off in a frenzy of activity. It’s all too common for F&I managers to start their day by entering their office only to find an overnight envelope delivered from ABC Bank sitting on their desk. They open it and find another bounced contract.

They check their phone messages and the very first message is from accounting reminding them to get their deals into the office. The fax machine is piled high with faxes as they are sorting the funding delay notices from the junk mail and the used car manager enters their office wanting to know why they do not have an approval on the Smith deal after five days that was spotted at one hundred and fifty percent LTV.

After explaining to the used car manager why the one hundred fifty percent will not fly, the F&I manager asks if the Jones’ had brought in their POI last night. The used car manager gives the F&I manager the good news, they had! Bad news is that it is short about eight thousand dollars a year.

This is a harsh reality! Day after day, even though F&I managers anticipate smooth sailing they are too often thrown off course by a whirlwind of disruptions. Disruptions that distract from their attention to detail and weaken their effect. This can put the dealership at risk and undermine efforts to maximize the dealership's profit as well as your agency's production.

Let’s face it, with all the “fires” they have to put out, “holes" they must fill, and so little time each day, it is no wonder the challenges they face today quickly become tomorrow’s problems. These problems multiply quickly as the days stretch into weeks and something is going to be sacrificed. That something is PRODUCTION.

How can you expect your client to reach their full potential when they are so wrapped up in the chaos? Though it may seem like an impossible task to correct the mayhem, the reality is that it can be corrected. It does not have to be this way! All it takes is just fifteen minutes a day. Fifteen minutes a day to assemble the troops and develop a game plan for overcoming the previous day’s challenges.

Teach Your Clients Well

Teach your clients how investing just fifteen minutes a day in a “Save-A-Deal/Contracts-in-Transit” meeting can increase proficiency. Express to your clients that assembling the entire management team and staff for fifteen minutes a day first thing in the morning will ensure all policies are communicated clearly and that the best practices are being used daily on every deal by each department.

Point out that the primary purpose of the meeting is to review the status of deals that are sold but not yet delivered and the status of deals that are delivered but not yet funded. Tell them the Sales Management, F&I Management and Accounting departments need to get together and provide updates and develop a plan of action on these deals. Tell them how getting all the key players together promotes a team culture, reduces the urge to point fingers, creates a sense of urgency for getting things done, and has everyone involved, which will amplify and speed up the results.

Be there in the beginning and stay with it until they form a habit or are committed to doing it each day with the following format:

Frequency: Daily at the Start of Each Shift except for weekends.

Duration: 15 Minutes

Meeting Attendees:

  • General Manager
  • Comptroller
  • General Sales Manager
  • F&I Manager/Director
  • New Vehicle Manager
  • Used Vehicle Manager
What the team will need for each meeting:
  • Unsold prospects from previous day (Includes Floor, Phone, Internet and Appointment No Shows)
  • Contracts in Transit Report
  • Log stating Sold-Delivered, Sold-Not Delivered, Booked, Finalized, Funded
  • Appointments for Today

How to run it:

  1. The meeting should start by reviewing the previous day’s assigned responsibilities.
    1. Who, What, Where, When and How
  2. Review CIT Report and establish a game plan to speed up funding.
    1. Bounced Contracts
    2. Held Offerings
    3. Short Funded
    4. Chargebacks and Adjustments
  3. Next the meeting should take an upbeat tone by reviewing the status of each deal from the previous day.
    1. Pending, Delivered, Booked
    2. Discuss Conditioned Deals
    3. Any Stips Missing
    4. All Monies in the house
    5. Verify today’s deliveries
  4. Review previous day’s NO-SALES
    1. Phone
    2. Internet
    3. Floor Traffic
  5. Assign responsibilities for each category and a time frame for completion of task.
    1. Who is going to ensure its completion?
    2. What has to happen in order to complete the task?
    3. Where is it going to get completed?
    4. When is it going to happen and be completed?
    5. How is it going to get completed?

Other Considerations

While a “Save-A-Deal/Contracts-in-Transit” meeting is an indispensable component to raising your clients level of proficiency, there other enhancements you can help them implement along the way. If they do not already utilize check lists, getting them to use them may be beneficial in creating better paperwork and deal flow.

Remember, to simply have a check list without inspecting it for its accuracy is illogical as it promotes mediocrity and mediocrity that leads to complacency.

Another means to ensure deal accuracy is to have the F&I managers clean their own deals and set up the paper work in a specific sequence or order such as a “Funding Package,” “Sold Package,” “Trade Package,” and “Tag Package” as it will eliminate missing documentation and greatly enhance CIT efficiency. Then be sure your clients utilize the latest technologies such as E-contracting, Self-Funding and Fax Funding which will greatly enhance efficiency and BOOK MORE SALES.

The reality is that the F&I manager’s day is filled with distractions from co-workers to e-mails to unexpected deliveries, all the while needing to produce… Your assistance in developing policies, practices and procedures that will enhance their efficiency and effectiveness will be greatly appreciated by them. By the way, in doing so you will be rewarded as PRODUCTION falls to your bottom line.