Use this five-point checklist to help dealer clients identify the best possible candidates for open positions in F&I.

Use this five-point checklist to help dealer clients identify the best possible candidates for open positions in F&I.

Agents often earn the position of a trusted advisor to many in their dealership accounts. As a trusted advisor, dealership leaders look to their agent partner for confirmation if a potential candidate for an F&I position is a good choice. Many times I have been asked to provide my insight on a candidate as well.

We have a saying in the F&I world that your numbers are your resume. While there is some truth to that statement, it can also be misleading. Since there are many variables in any dealership — as to how deals are worked and how the final number is reached — there must be a more effective way to measure how successful a particular person might be.

I have good news: There is! If you determine a person’s ability in the five areas that an individual cannot be “taught,” you will get your answer. Those that excel in these five areas will always produce great profits.

Here is my five-point checklist:

1. Curiosity

 F&I managers can see five customers in the same day. Each has a different learning style, level of openness to ideas presented and different personality. A curious professional will be constantly studying to learn why customers buy, how to communicate effectively, how to identify their needs, and, most importantly, provide valuable solutions to those needs!

If you have to push an F&I manager to learn, their success will only last until something about the products or customers begins to change. A great prompt is “Share something new you have learned recently” or “Share something interesting you have read recently about your job and tell me one thing that you learned.”

2. Desire

The candidate with expectations higher than their current position is exhibiting a drive to grow. This person will do things that are not required of them and for which they receive no immediate compensation. When a promotion is in order, we should always look for the person that is already doing some of the things required of the higher position.

Ask, “What are you currently doing that is not required of you?” This is more valuable than trying to guess how they might fit into a new role.

3. Self-Analysis

This is the direct opposite of the “know-it-all”! Someone that is aware of their strengths as well as areas for improvement will consistently work to improve. This person is routinely looking for input from others about their performance and will adjust their process based on that input. They welcome an opportunity to have their presentation videotaped so they can review and learn. Ask the candidate to “Identify your strengths and also areas you need help on to improve.”

4. Perseverance

Also known as grit or doggedness. Even the best F&I professional will have a slump now and then. They may have a stellar delivery with a customer, effectively overcome every objection raised and the customer still declines everything offered.

When challenges are encountered, they cannot allow them to get into their head or it will turn a short-term challenge into a long-term slump. True grit of character is needed to maintain a positive attitude and clear mind ready for the next customer. Ask, “How do you deal with temporary slumps in production?”

5. Character

Character has correctly been defined as what one does when no one is looking. Always doing the right thing the right way is a trait that is either there or it is not. It’s a moral compass, and it drives the person to work within acceptable norms and improve their abilities to create value in products offered in a transparent and ethical manner.

If there is any hesitation in this area when I interview candidates, I know it is best to move on. Not only will a lack of character lead to compliance issues, it is also evidence of an individual who will look for ways other than self-improvement to improve their results.

Great F&I managers are individuals with a commitment to doing things the right way. Ask, “How are you committed to protecting the integrity of the dealership?” 

When I am asked to interview a potential F&I candidate, 90% of the conversation will be focused on these five features. Only 10% of the conversation will be about numbers. Most can learn to increase numbers if they have these five traits instilled in their character.

When I think of the most talented F&I professionals I know, they have these five traits in abundance. And that is exactly why they are the best in the business.

Have a successful month!




Rick McCormick
Rick McCormick


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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