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Chris Costner

Chris Costner Account Executive

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QUALITY F&I MANAGER: It’s All In Their Mindset.

 

I have been in many conversations over the past few months with others alike about changing the image of our industry and definitely see the positive efforts being made to help make that happen.  As we all know it will not happen overnight but every new customer experience we are a part of can certainly move the needle in the right direction.  We should all see it as an honor to be of service with every customer interaction and for those that conduct business in this manner, I applaud you for a job well done.

Still today, we can all find articles where the FTC is involved from where a consumer felt they were deceived by a dealership’s business practice.  Now whether the cases are true or not, something made the consumer feel this way.  Not much good comes from many of these cases and the lasting effect is deadly.

I wrote last month in “Hope To Win or Plan To Win” that most of the objections confronted in the F&I office would fall into one of the four categories:

  • Affordability
  • Product Misconceptions / Lack of Information
  • Need Perception
  • Fear Of Making Poor Decisions

Today, I wanted to discuss two separate mindsets that we can find still with today’s F&I managers:  Deceptive and Aggressive. 

The “deceptive mindset” is not hard to explain.  It is tricking the customer into buying products because the person presenting them doesn’t believe in them.  If one has to lie or hide something to close on the product, this is the mindset they are in.

The “aggressive mindset” is not bad to have at all and should be the mindset in every F&I office across the country.  It is having the belief in the products being presented and transferring that excitement to the customer.

Consider these few points when discussing the “aggressive” F&I manager and not the “deceptive” type:

  • The customer always comes first and foremost.
  • They understand their products completely.
  • They expect to be the best.
  • They don’t set limits on themselves.
  • They have a plan and work it on a daily basis to achieve their goals.
  • They have a planned presentation and stay the course even through welcoming objections and answering them thoughtfully.

I am here to say with both of these mindsets, the F&I manager cannot have both.  They can’t on one hand sell their products with enthusiasm when it fits their purposes, and then on the other hand choose to deceive a customer when they think they are gullible enough to let them.  F&I managers can change but they can’t come just halfway.  It will involve a complete paradigm shift for it to work starting with how they see themselves as an F&I manager.  This includes the way they see the products they offer and their value as a true sales person. 

We can all agree that the best F&I managers are those who genuinely believe in the products that they offer.

Jim Bell
Great point here Chris! I know when I was in F&I way back when and certain products were presented to me to sell, I had a hard time selling them at times just because I just didn't believe in them myself. You have to believe what you sell and you WILL have more success at it.
Jim Radogna
LOVE this post Chris! As you can imagine, I stumble upon the "dark side" of F&I now and then during Compliance Reviews. Your post is timely and right on target - thanks!
Chris Costner
Jim Bell, I too have been there and you are so right. As I became more experienced, I listed every product on a sheet of paper addressed to a "loved one" with the benefit each will give them. It helped me sell with more conviction and I closed on more products.
Chris Costner
Jim Radogna, as I was writing I thought of you and how you might receive this. Thank you for the kind words. It seems to be a topic that only comes up when someone did wrong and should be something we need to keep top priority every day in the marketplace. Only then will me make bigger positive strides for our industry.
Jeremy Alicandri
Valid points Chris. However, I believe many of these same traits are also universal to other managers/staff.

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