We could summarize what dealers want from agencies with one word — more! They want more profit from their F&I office, more product sold, more training for their team, moreinsight on long term planning and more help navigating through all the new technology available to facilitate the F&I process. Today’s agents have a plate full of demands they must meet to help their dealer partners and stay at the front of the pack in the overall value you provide.
However, the one thing every dealer wants most of all is someone with a game plan on how to make all the above happen. Whether it’s a sports team, an army, a political campaign, or a business, the one with the best game plan that executes it effectively usually wins. Providing a game plan for 2019 for each of your dealers will assure them you are thinking ahead and have constructive plans to grow their business.
Here are two ingredients to include in the strategy you provide.
1. Provide the Growth Ingredient for the F&I Team.
The industry is changing more in a 12-month span than it previously did in 12 years. Information overload is provided to consumers online and many are not sure how to properly apply what they’ve learned. However, they know a lot more than they used to. The method the F&I team uses to help customers make good buying decisions must evolve as well.
F&I is becoming more of an effort to provide insight to the customer’s present knowledge than an effort to sell. Every customer comes to us with different levels of information and understanding; determining their level of familiarity early will enable the process to be customized to their situation.
F&I must also be ready to provide the most up-to-date information concerning how vehicles have changed. The tires, paint, and assembly and repair processes are drastically different today. Once a customer is made aware of that, in an interactive and visual manner, the products offered make more sense. That takes training and a regular flow of information.
Identify areas where the F&I team needs additional education. Provide the opportunity to improve by utilizing a combination of information with every dealer visit as well as online or in-person workshops. They are looking to the agency partner for a plan on how to consistently grow their people to keep pace with the growth of information needed to be the informed consultant their customers are looking for.
2. Provide a Roadmap Through the Maze of F&I Technology.
Dealerships are being overrun with tech offerings designed to address every part of the F&I process. Technology can save valuable time, eliminate errors, and provide a consistent process of presenting products. The concern lies in purchasing technology without a definitive plan on why and how it is to be used can be a huge waste of money.
I have visited several dealerships that have purchased iPads and other tablets to be used to present products. They have ended up in the bottom righthand drawer of each F&I desk. The technology simply did not fit the needs of the dealership and no training was provided on how to use it effectively. There was no technology game plan.
Dealers depend on the agency partner to do the research, gain buy-in from the end user of the technology, and assure there is training available to maximize its effectiveness. Few things have challenged the average dealership more than choosing the right technology path to take. The agency that provides that path will save their dealer partners from costly mistakes and enable them to build a more efficient process, leading to more profits!
Dealers ask for a high level of commitment and help in getting the “more” they are looking for. As the margins on vehicle sales continue to compress and the customer continues to have access to information at a deeper level, the game changer is the game plan you provide and implement. Creating winning teams should always be the focus and, in turn, they will give us all “more” of what we want. More profit, more customers and more products in place helping customers. Here’s to a record 2019!
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!