Disappointment from a New Finance Manager

Samantha Turner

Hello All,

I became a finance manager 2 months ago and only recently was removed from salary (while my employer trained me) to commission, so I'm now working on my own. I am wondering a few things that I am not sure are part of the job or just part of my company's culture.

• Nobody (aside from my boss) is willing to provide any assistance, suggestions, answer a question, be truthful, or just help in any normal way. As a side note, in my old sales job all of my co-workers and I discussed different "techniques" that worked for us when dealing with clients. This job is the exact opposite.

• I was told we rotate customers since there are multiple Finance Managers at my job. I found out that the Finance Managers that have been there for a while "close" accounts that they have previously discussed with their customers, so they are removed from rotation. Coincidentally these are all very lucrative for them and I got stuck with nothing but leases. 

• I make no money on leases because nobody is interested in products who are leasing.

I'm also wondering how long did it take for you to roughly start making decent money. As of now, it's peanuts for me.

Thank for whatever help you can provide. 

I'm not in finance, I am a salesperson as you use to be... however I have been in the car business for 6 years now and many of my friends are F&I managers. Needless to say it sounds like you need to stick up for yourself and make sure you aren't being taken advantage of because you're new... also, if you can't make money on leases because no one wants your product, that sounds like a training issue or your company hasn't done a good job finding products that benefit its leasing customers. I know here we do A LOT of leases because we sell Honda and Nissan and out F&I team does very well with wear care etc. You are on commission so money is up to you, but from what I have been told there is a learning curve in finance that takes a while so you may have to dig down and really commit to learning as much as you can on your own with what you have for available resources.

I had the opportunity to enter finance last year, I turned it down because to me it's the most painful job I can see in this business.. most f&i managers I know hate their life lol... but some do enjoy it.. I think most do it though just to "pay their dues" to get to the desk. I hope you have success, and remember to stay positive and don't turn into the typical f&i manager that complains and whines about every deal unless its served up perfectly on a platter.. remember your sales roots, keep selling and keep smiling! 

Jason Stum

Hey Samantha, I was never a finance manager, but as a salesperson I had pretty good relationships with my F&I peeps that was mutually beneficial. 

In my experience, successfully selling F&I product started with the salesperson. Now I wasn't hard selling the products to my customers before they went into the office to sign, but I was teeing the them up. 

For example, before my customers went to see F&I, I'd prep them on what to expect. I'd say something like "Ok, remember that guy Bob who popped by earlier to say Hi? He's my F&I manager, and he's going to assist you in signing all the boring, but necessary, paperwork needed to get you this new vehicle. He's also going to present you some additional options that will help you protect your vehicle over the next few years..."

Then I'd lean in, and lower my voice a bit...

"Look", I'd say, "between you and me, a couple of the products he's going to talk about make a lot of sense for you and your vehicle, and some don't - but do me a favor and hear him out. If there were two things I'd highly recommend you consider, it would be product 1  and product 2 and here's why..."

I'd give a quick overview of what those two products were and how they would benefit the customer, depending on the vehicle (new or used) and whether it was a finance or lease deal. 

On a lease it would be something like a Wheel & Tire package and an Appearance Protection package.

On a new car finance deal it might be Gap Insurance and Wheel & Tire.

Then when it was time to go into the office, the customers would have a really good understanding of what to expect and feel much more comfortable about this part of the process. And no joke, more often than not my customers would come out having added at least one (if not both) of the products that I recommended prior to them going in.

This approach worked because I had already established solid rapport with my customers, so this info coming from me first carried a bit more weight than if they're hearing about it for the first time from the Finance Manager who they may not have even met prior to getting signed. 

Now the trick here is that the F&I manager was totally on board with this approach, so it wasn't something that I was doing behind his back. 

Of course this all starts with training your sales peeps on how you'd like to approach product presentations. Also having an F&I touch at some point in time early on in the process helps as well.

Hope that helps!


I totally agree with the Idea Honcho @DealerGuy.. you need to find a dealership that is going fast enough and offers you the opportunity to reach your potential.. if it's not the one you're with don't be afraid to upgrade and make a change for the better!! 

@Samantha F&I can be extremely rewarding in terms of pay, but as Scott has already pointed out, it has a learning curve that is steeper than most other dealership positions. Plus not having the right training or any kind of team support will only hinder your growth in this role. If you plan to stay there and expect to make a decent wage, you're going to have to hustle like your co-workers who are stealing customers out of rotation. I'm not saying to do what they're doing; I'm saying you'll need to create your own opportunities.

Having worked in F&I myself, I can personally tell you that your customers who lease are no different from your customers who purchase. If they seem like they are, take a step back and evaluate how you're treating them. Are they getting less time and attention in your office because of your preconceived notion that lease customers don't buy products? Are you skipping parts of your presentation, because again, you assume the customer isn't interested? If you stick to the same process every single time, you will see results.

Finally, take the time to get to know people in other departments. Don't just talk to them when you need something or have a question. F&I Managers who are highly visible, who don't spend all day at their desk, who get out and engage with the sales floor and office staff, are not only more successful but also much happier than F&I Managers who never leave their office. I don't have any research to prove this lol, just my 12 years in the car biz.

Ben Misra

Samantha, first off , its just 2 months. Give yourself a break. My first finance job in 1982 was the cash sale finance guy.The best way to move within an F and I department is to find your specialty, for me it as special finance. After a while you become to go to person making your a valuable asset. Don't bail out like others have said. You have to earn the right to choose the right dealer. Dealers that see you quit when the heat is on will not hire you.


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