5 Tips to Maximize F & I Performance

Every vehicle sale consists of two parts – the vehicle itself, and the services that keep it running smoothly. Finance and Insurance (F&I) products are the service portion of all vehicle sales. When it comes to F&I selling, don’t wing it. Make a streamlined process that respects your client’s time and use every step of it consistently. Take a look at the following tips that inform and serve your customers while simultaneously boosting your sales.

1. Build rapport during the sales process

Begin the F&I interview with your customer as you chat about the vehicle. Keep as much of this interview outside your office as possible. As you talk, find out the customer’s needs, taking mental notes to match that need to an F&I product later on. Mention finance and insurance products early on, breaking down walls by peppering the conversation with informative F&I tidbits. Be open and honest in what you share, finding common ground with the customer and earning their trust.

2. Create a short menu presentation, not a sales pitch

Using your mental notes, tie the customer’s needs to an F&I option that meets them. Focus on what is important to the customer from the information you gathered on the sales floor. The words, “I heard what you said about this vehicle being an investment for you. Here’s some information for you on how to protect your investment.”
In this presentation, don’t worry about presenting every product, overloading your menu with too many products. However, do commit to presenting every option that pertains to what the customer shared, plus be sure to stretch yourself by adding 2 or 3 more options that could potentially be of value to them. Base your choices of what to present according to these statistics:

  • Service contracts (40%) *
  • GAP insurance (28%)
  • Paint sealant (19%) *
  • Prepaid maintenance (12%) *

When presenting, use visual aids, monthly payment calculators, and any other props that can help you get your points across. Watch the speed of your delivery, remembering that what’s familiar for you, is brand new for them, so speak slowly and clearly enough for your points to sink in. Ask questions and share personal anecdotes as you go, making this an enthusiastic and vibrant dialogue, not a lecture or a monologue.

* Products such as SmartProgram’s prepaid vehicle wear care program or SmartProgram’s Ceramx glass and paint protection are premium car care services that satisfy three of the above four categories. SmartProgram increases your chances of satisfying your customer’s needs, so be sure to include it in your presentation.

3. Show the value

Above all, make sure that your customer understands that what they are being offered has aspecific and personal value to them. The number one reason a customer purchases F&I products is because they see the value of them exceeding the price.

From experience, the most relevant factors to a customer are investment protection, vehicle protection, budget protection, family safety, and security. Be sure your dialogue with the customer draws out potential concerns your customer might have in these areas and address that concern with a product that provides the solution.
With that information, show how the value exceeds the cost: Paint a picture of the factual risks involved with not purchasing the product and the financial/time/stress costs of those risks. Then show how your product mitigates that risk and provides a reward.

4. Be ready for objections

Have a plan to handle each and every possible objection. In fact, work to become a master at drawing out their objections, with words like “I sense that you have a hesitation in regards to this option. Could you share with me what’s holding you back?”  Moderating and addressing customer doubt is important in retaining your credibility, and shows how much you believe in your products.

5. Work your team

Remember that you are not an island, but work on behalf of a dealership team that succeeds when you succeed. Bring in a different face before the final paperwork is complete to give it a look over, and support your point of view. For example, introduce the financial manager to look over the agreement, and have him/her ask, “I see you didn’t go for the service contract. What concern did you have about it?” A fresh face zeroing in on an objection then working to overcome it is a fantastic approach that meets with great success.

Once the customer drives away in their new vehicle, make a note to follow up with them in the next 3-6 months. Once a customer starts driving the roads, they often realize that an option you presented is just the thing the need. Following up shows you care for their well-being, and you might find a customer very willing to add a product they initially declined or disregarded.

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