Helping F&I managers focus on the emotional component of the buying process is a key element of helping them improve numbers overall.  - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Helping F&I managers focus on the emotional component of the buying process is a key element of helping them improve numbers overall. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

As agents, our dealership partners are looking to us to help their F&I teams consistently improve. Much focus is placed on the presentation of the customer’s options, overcoming objections and building value in the products. While all of these areas are important, they must be wrapped in the cloak of the proper way of selling. People don’t buy features or benefits, they buy emotions. To convince anyone to buy the products offered, they must feel what that product will do for them, and we must focus on making that emotional connection. Helping F&I managers focus on the emotional component of the buying process is a key element of helping them improve their overall numbers.

To convince anyone to buy the products offered, they must feel what that product will do for them, and we must focus on making that emotional connection.

What would it feel like to need a service contract and have it?

Recently, I pulled into a dealership for some repair work. When the service writer came to tell me the diagnosis and that the expected repair would cost $1,155, I got emotional. I was not emotionally upset; I was hoping it would actually cost more. With a service contract, I am not concerned about the cost or how long they keep my vehicle. I have “peace of mind” that my car will be properly repaired, using genuine manufacturer parts. And if they need to keep my car overnight, I know I will have a rental car provided. I just gleefully toss my keys over to them and have no worries because I am covered. That’s a great feeling and that is what we are selling, a feeling. Like most successful companies, if you have a great product, you don’t need to oversell the product or its benefits. You sell how the product will make you feel. Nike doesn’t sell shoes, Gatorade doesn’t sell sports drinks and Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee. And dealerships don’t sell products, they sell a feeling. 

What would it feel like to need a service contract and you don’t have it?

Peace of mind is replaced by uncertainty and anxiety. When you enter the service department with a red light on the dash, you are concerned about what the problem might be, how much it might cost and how long they might need to keep your vehicle. The fear of missing out (FOMO) on needed coverage is just as compelling as the peace of mind of having coverage. The F&I manager should share both sides of the equation and end on a positive note …. “Wouldn’t it be great to be in the service department and have no worries about the outcome? That’s why the service contract is critical for you, since you will be keeping this car for seven-years and you plan to drive 20,000 miles a year. This will provide seven-years of worry-free driving.”

The features and benefits of the product should be used to justify why the customer feels the product(s) makes sense for them. When an F&I manager is spending more than 20% of their time with a customer covering the features and benefits, their numbers will suffer. We all make buying decisions based mainly on emotions. We buy houses, cars, and televisions that are more expensive than we planned because of how it makes us feel. Our customers are no different. When evaluating an F&I manager’s performance, seek to determine what percentage of their presentation is used on each effort. The right balance is: 80% of our time should be spent on the emotional benefit of the product and 20% on the facts that justify why we are buying it. This is one of the most effective ways we can help F&I managers grow their production and income, and the profit for the dealer.

Rick McCormick is the national account development manager at Reahard & Associates Inc. He has more than 25-years of sales experience, with over 6-years in the retail automobile business.

Read: Once In a While!

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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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