Janet Crabtree of Reahard & Associates Inc. believes moving parts of F&I online — particularly in the form of consumer-facing product videos, can help create a foundation of trust that benefits the instore presentation. 
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Janet Crabtree of Reahard & Associates Inc. believes moving parts of F&I online — particularly in the form of consumer-facing product videos, can help create a foundation of trust that benefits the instore presentation. 

At last year’s Industry Summit, Janet Crabtree represented Reahard & Associates in the inaugural Technology Challenge. After the event, Agent Entrepreneur caught up with Crabtree, who serves as the training provider’s director of operations, to ask about her experience. 

Janet, why did you participate in the Technology Challenge? 

Everyone knows Reahard & Associates for our F&I training services. But they may not know about the additional services we offer to help dealers make the F&I process more transparent and create customer interest in F&I products. The Technology Challenge presented a wonderful opportunity to share our solution to engaging the customer before they enter the dealership and educating them about the products available via F&I product videos.

What did you feel made your presentation stand out with the Industry Summit audience? 

The change in focus. Often the focus is on selling our products or better ways to sell those products. In reality, the consumer will see for themselves their need for these products — if they are educated about the products and how those products can be of benefit to them.  

Studies show that consumers who conduct their research online prior to coming to the dealership are more likely to buy F&I products. And they ask more questions about F&I products after previewing them online. 

We will continue to incorporate industry changes as they impact F&I while retaining our customer-focused mentality. 

Our F&I product videos are designed to educate, inform, and generate customer interest in F&I products before the customer comes to the dealership. They provide customers with an unbiased perspective from an industry expert regarding GAP, vehicle service agreements, prepaid maintenance, tire-and-wheel, and more.

Once the customer interest has been established, F&I managers can then utilize this along with other third-party resources to build trust and credibility with the consumer. The transaction then moves from selling to helping, creating a win-win for everyone.

Were you impressed by any other presentations? 

Absolutely. The variety of technology solutions presented was very impressive. It was exciting to see the array of products and services available to dealers — from those that use technology to build customer loyalty through product and service branding, to the advanced menu systems with full integration, to the interactive systems that help track inventory on the lot. I think just about every aspect of dealership functionality was addressed. 

Do you believe this signals a growing interest in digital sales and F&I solutions? 

Without a doubt. I’m convinced we will continue to see growth in digital sales and even the transition to offering F&I solutions online. The key to transitioning F&I solutions online is creating customer awareness, as with our F&I product videos. 

Read: Technology Challenge Set for Second Round at Industry Summit 2019

However, I remain confident that this will not have a negative impact on dealers.  For most people purchasing an automobile, our senses — at least four of the five — still come into play. We like to “see” what we are getting, “touch” the steering wheel, “smell” the new car smell, “hear” the engine. 

I prefer to think of digital solutions and dealerships as a potential symbiotic relationship. If we get it right, the two will work together to each other’s benefit.

What’s next for your company?

At Reahard & Associates, our focus is on helping people — the agent, the dealer, the F&I manager and the customer. As such, our F&I training has always been customer-focused. We will continue to incorporate industry changes as they impact F&I while retaining our customer-focused mentality. 

If you’ve heard Ron Reahard speak, attended one of our classes or even called our office, you’ve heard, “It’s a beautiful day … to help a customer!” We are always looking for ways to do just that. 

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