Losing Money - Need New Process

Alexis Bassler
So I'm part of a rapidly growing dealer group that went from a hole-in-wall to million-dollar building in a few short years. Obviously, new requirements for managers, additional staff and a lot of changes are being implemented with hopes that we can get our business-end processes together as quickly as we are growing. Up until recently, we had (unenforced) policies to make sure CODs, paperwork, and funding for deals was organized... but now we are taking a closer look since there is missing info everywhere, and we were too lax with our enforcement and oversight of these processes. Would like advice from all angles of the back end aspects of running a successful and organized dealership... what are the best methods to make sure you dont lose money in the little areas? Methods to prevent easily overlooking these things like we did previously?
Lauren Moses
Alexis, Where are you losing the information? Is it starting from the front line with the sales staff or actually in the F&I offices not having all the paperwork they are really supposed to have? Also, Do you have deal coversheets that got on the front of every deal folder? We have our foursquare that has all of the customers information we would need to type a deal. Name, address, phone numbers, ssn, dob, trade information, new vehicle info, numbers, and all. If there is any missing information we highlight what the salesmen didn't get and ALWAYS write in a difference color than what they originally wrote in. This way we know who got the correct information and that the salesmen aren't doing their job. We also have a cover page for each folder that has everything we would need to type, insurance, trade in payoff, and a notes section at the bottom. As we type one page, we check it off. That way the back office knows exactly what is in the folder and what was needed for the deal and what wasn't. If there is something missing from there then they come to us with what they need. But that is very rare.
Alexis Bassler
I've used the coversheets before and think thats a great idea (totally forgot about it). We have a special situation where our salesman handle the f&i info as well (for now) so it's a matter of management/accounting trying to keep track of everything in each deal once they submit it to accounting for payment. They will notate that they received COD of X amount and whom they gave it to... but once the deal is reviewed somehow it has disappeared with some of them, even though the 'rule' is to scan proof of everything into our custom dealer mgmt system for that deal (obviously, huge concern). Typically I would have a manager review all deals before they are submitted however sales managers are where we are very short staffed, so the wrong people are handling this for now. I'm trying to find the best way to restructure this in the meantime.
Lauren Moses
So who types the deals and gets customers funded? The Salesmen? I would definitely break out the cover sheets and revamp them if need be. Look them over, make sure that it has any and ALL paperwork you need to get a deal funded start to finish. Give a copy to the sales staff so they know what they will need. If it's not right then I would turn around and hand it back to them to get it right. If it's a matter of losing deals, make a log. Figure out what your next deal number is and make a log for the next say 50 and include date contract was written and signed by customer, closed by F&I, turned into back office, and everyone initials at any and all hand offs to the next person.
Alexis Bassler
Salesman type and input all the deal information, the accountant only verifies once its time to get the deal funded. Thanks for all the great ideas!
Lauren Moses
Ok. Well, I would definitely get a system of accountability going. If deals are going amiss before they can be funded you need a paper trail for all the paper. Sounds stupid but if it works then what's there to lose. Sometimes it just helps to go back to good old paper. Also, if your revamping cover sheets, put a place for each person who handles the deals throughout the steps to initial when they are done with it. So you have it on the cover sheet, and then on a log. Double protection...

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