Top agents know F&I profits alone can’t guarantee long-term dealership success. Improve your clients’ financial and corporate health by setting a new ‘GOAL’ for their business offices.  - Photo via iStock

Top agents know F&I profits alone can’t guarantee long-term dealership success. Improve your clients’ financial and corporate health by setting a new ‘GOAL’ for their business offices. 

Photo via iStock

Every dealer wants more profits and income while creating a “Wow” customer experience. However, focusing solely on profits to the exclusion of the efforts that get you there will lead to short-term success. Agents are in a strategic position to influence the culture and health of the dealerships they serve.

Consider our personal health or our vehicles’ health. To ensure we are in good health, we have annual checkups. We have our vehicles health checked regularly when having routine maintenance performed. These efforts seek to identify potential issues before they arise.

Many dealers are comfortable with the performance of their F&I office — if the numbers are good — and only sound an alarm when an issue arises that may threaten those numbers. The interruption of profit momentum can be avoided with an insightful and regular checkup conducted by their agent partners. That can save immeasurable profit momentum and further solidify your value to your dealers.

So how do we measure the health of an F&I manager or department? Most dealers ask their team to set individual monthly achievement goals. Here is a roadmap that utilizes the “GOAL” concept to evaluate F&I managers at your accounts:

Great attitude: As Zig Ziglar was known to say, “It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.” When you enter an F&I or a salesperson’s office, it only takes a few minutes to identify the attitude at work.

Attitude can either take the lid off of profits or nail the lid shut and limit them. When a bad attitude is present there is a decrease in the quality of work and overall performance, and their commitment to the success of the dealership falls off dramatically. Those suffering from a bad attitude are blind to the effect on themselves and those around them. The best thing we can do for them, and the dealership, is help them see those negative effects.

The opposite is true of a positive attitude! A positive attitude benefits everyone in the dealership. The momentum and upward drive on profits should never be underestimated and those providing it should be recognized and rewarded.

Outstanding process: A customer focused process that is visual and interactive enables customers to self-discover their need of a product. This method naturally leads to high levels of product sales and customer satisfaction. It’s a difficult discussion to have with a dealer when you identify high pressure techniques, or a less than full transparent process is being used to reach high profit levels.

However, it is a healthy conversation, because the healthier the process, the healthier the results. Regardless of the current profit level of any dealership, if adjustments can be made to transition from a verbal sales effort to an interactive experience, profits and customer satisfaction will increase. Agents can work with the dealership to change their approach from profit driven to process driven; in doing so, the profits will follow and grow.

Accelerated skills: How is this individual growing in their skills and abilities? Whether the person you are working with has been in the business for 12 months or 12 years, one of the most important questions to ask is, “How are you growing?” With the fast-paced, ever-changing environment we operate in today, the expectation of continuous improvement must be instilled and reinforced.

F&I managers’ aspirations to improve tell us a lot — perhaps more than almost anything else — about their ability to consistently provide higher levels of profits in this challenging environment. The changes on the horizon are staggering and we must staff our dealerships with those who are willing to change and grow.

Learning daily: The ability to grow and increase skills and profits is mostly revealed by the daily activity F&I managers are involved in. Training must be a daily discipline, not an occasional off-site visit. Spending 30 to 45 minutes every day researching your craft or working on increasing both your readiness for your next customer and improving your skills will lead to increased levels of production.

An F&I professional who role-plays their presentation and gathers feedback, visits their service department to see what customers are encountering, and reads industry articles to routinely challenge themselves has a distinct advantage with the customers they serve. They alone can say, truthfully, “I was in the service department just last week, and this is what a customer was experiencing.” That is the sign of a professional who is learning daily to improve.

Good health is a result of good habits and awareness. When did your dealers last have their check-up? Here’s to healthy months ahead!

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Author

Rick McCormick
Rick McCormick

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Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates.

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Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates.

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