The pressure on agents to deliver F&I training that increases sales and profits is greater than ever. Top trainer explains why accountability may be the missing ingredient you need to take your program to the next level. 
 - Photo by SIphotography via Getty Images

The pressure on agents to deliver F&I training that increases sales and profits is greater than ever. Top trainer explains why accountability may be the missing ingredient you need to take your program to the next level. 

Photo by SIphotography via Getty Images

The F&I office has become one of the main profit centers in dealerships today. An F&I professional will be judged by their profitability, dependability, and even likability. However, the ability that matters most is accountability.

Profitability without accountability can lead to compliance issues, customer complaints, and an overall process that is at the discretion of just one person: the F&I manager. That is a recipe for trouble.

F&I professionals thrive in an environment of accountability and seek to make the process transparent for both outside and inside customers. Agents can increase their value to the dealerships they serve when they provide accountability structure to the overall process.

Agents can increase their value to the dealerships they serve when they provide accountability structure to the overall process.

Here are a few suggested ways to do just that, plus a few benefits of creating an accountability structure.

1. Set Monthly Goals With Each Manager and Hold Them Accountable.

Anyone can set a goal. In my experience, few are being held accountable at the end of the month as to how their performance compared to the goal. What led to the results each month?

Having an accountability conversation each month can help identify what is working well and what areas need to improve. Then you can develop a plan to make adjustments, add training emphasis or address any lack of effort to improve. That can make sure there is consistent improvement each month and that a plan is in place to assure that happens.

2. Track Training Effort, Not Just Results.

Performance improves due to intentional effort, not because we hope to do better. Hope is not a strategy!

When you identify areas that need improvement, develop a plan and assign training that specifically addresses those areas. Follow up to see that the training was completed. Training effort leads to improved performance, so tracking effort should be just as important as tracking results. One without the other leads to stagnant production levels.

All professionals in any arena do two things to assure their place in the “lineup.” They produce and they practice! Make sure your team is doing both!

3. Ensure Compliance Training Is Part of the Effort and Facilitate Its Implementation.

The F&I delivery is a legal transaction that is regulated heavily by laws and regulations that every F&I manager should have a working knowledge of. We do not expect our team to produce without being trained on how to sell, overcome objections, and build value in our products. And we should not expect them to act in compliance with all laws and regulations if they have not been trained to do so.

Compliance training can be expensive. However, not having it as a part of every manager’s development can cost much more. Insist on it with the dealerships you serve and it will add value to what you provide.   

Creating an accountability structure in a dealership has many benefits. It can produce a more highly dedicated and effective team. However, a lack of accountability will allow the blame for their lack of performance to be placed on others or outside influences out of their control.

READ: Your Agency Can Influence the F&I Process

Accountability leads to ownership — ownership of both success and failure. Without accountability, there is little if any desire or effort to improve, since any shortfall of performance expectations can be blamed on someone or something else. Accountability puts the focus where it belongs — on analyzing successes and failures and developing a plan to improve.   

There are many benefits of working to produce an accountability structure in every dealership you serve. Here are just a few:

  • Your dealers will attract — and more importantly, retain — top performers.
  • Goals are more easily reached and maintained.
  • Employees take more ownership in their jobs.
  • Less time and energy is wasted on covering tracks or destructive behavior.
  • Job satisfaction is increased.

With the constriction on the front-end profits of every car deal, the profit in the F&I department is critical to overall profitability. And with today’s highly technologically advanced vehicles, the need for the products offered is greater than ever.

Profitability, with accountability, will produce amazing results. And that is what is demanded of the F&I department now, more than never. Agencies that focus on profitability with accountability will be in high demand in the days ahead.

I was asked to help a general agent recently in the attempts to acquire a new dealership account. The focus was on moving beyond just creating more profit, and included raising the level of accountability simultaneously. That is exactly what this dealer was looking for and what most of your future clients will be as well! 

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!

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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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