A noble action of any organization is to promote from within. Rewarding an employee who has demonstrated commitment and success in one area by giving them opportunities in other departments creates longevity and commitment in others. Agents can provide an invaluable service by helping identify the right person to promote, advise them on how to make the transition effective, and shorten the learning curve a transition incurs.
Here are three steps you can take to successfully transition a sales professional to F&I and increase your value to your dealer partners.1. Properly Identify the Right Person!
The salesperson who will succeed in F&I will be the one who has success in producing gross profit — the invisible product — versus the high-volume sales pro who is successfully selling the visible product. Identifying the salesperson that is among the top volume producers in a store and has a high gross average should be the focus.
In more than 12 years of working with dealerships, I have never once seen a salesperson who struggled with gross profit when selling a car, be successful in F&I. The second qualifier is how they treat both their external and internal customers. This person will become a member of the leadership team and they will have a huge impact on the satisfaction level of both customers. Happy customers buy more products. Happy team members produce more sales. This person will affect both, so choose wisely.2. Promote a Preemptive Training Effort!
F&I training should begin before the transition decision is made. An agent should determine a list of steps that the salesperson must complete to show that they see this as a career move, not just another job in the dealership — their response to this will help determine if we should move forward with this person.
We provide the salesperson who wants to be considered for F&I access to the same online training that current F&I managers are required to complete. Consistent training to increase skill levels will be crucial to their success. You want to know how committed that person is to growing their skills. If the salesperson is proactive and completes everything we have asked, that’s a good sign. If they don’t complete the training, we may have just avoided a bad choice!3. Ensure a Transition — Not a Baptism!
The F&I position looks easy and effortless from the outside. New F&I managers who have transitioned from the sales floor can easily become overwhelmed with all the demands of the position. The paperwork load demands organization and time-management skills that were less important in sales. Then add the production expectations, and many become discouraged quickly.
When I ask a training class how they were introduced to F&I, most have a similar answer: They were just thrown into the position and told to sink or swim or “You’ll figure it out.”
Have a current F&I manager spend time with them and share what the challenges and requirements are to succeed. Have the salesperson sit in on some actual deliveries to observe the current F&I manager at work with customers so they can see the effort required to sell the intangibles as opposed to the tangible sale they have been immersed in.
Once a decision has been made to move a salesperson to F&I, the agent’s role can be crucial. You must ensure that the entire dealership team works to make the transition a successful one. A value add to any dealership provided by the agent is not just getting products sold but getting the right person to sell them. Supporting an internal promotion culture in dealerships and providing insight on how to make it successful sets you part from the competition — exactly what we want to assure at every level!
I look forward to seeing you on my next post. Visit www.go-reahard.com to learn more about how we can help you help more customers. Also feel free to contact me. Exchanging ideas that get results is my passion!