Eliminate F&I Staff?

Jessica Masterson
We’re hearing some talk of a new approach to the customer experience. One salesperson trained to complete the entire transaction, including F&I. Can it work?
Dustin Lyons
Sure I think it can work, but I think you may lose out on a huge opportunity for additional gross. It could make the process faster and easier for the customer, but having a second face be the one to advise about the products available in F&I is a big advantage. The salesperson works very hard to get the car sold, and doing the negotiation on price and payments etc... and so having the salesperson then start adding things I think would not be as successful as having a new person do that part. We had a separate accessory department that the customers went to first, and then the accessory manager took them into the F&I office. It did take a bit longer for the customer, but if it is set up the right way by the salesperson it isn't a big deal. Having a specific person doing accessories and F&I that is different from the sales person adds credibility to that person as the expert in those areas. This model worked so well for us and we made so much extra gross from our accessory and F&I department that we were the envy of every dealership in our 20 group and they were all constantly trying to mimic what we were doing.
Jessica Masterson
Good points, Dustin! Thanks for sharing your experience. Interesting. - Do you think sales person training, compensation or other process adjustments could make a "one face" approach more lucrative to dealers? - Longer customer waits can result in lower CSI scores. Did your model with a longer process, but higher gross, see any impact on referrals or loyalty?
Bill Simmons
Very timely post as this article just hit Automotive News today. http://www.autonews.com/article/20140609/FINANCE_AND_INSURANCE/306099984/at-miami-store-no-more-beat-up-customers They have not elimninated F&I, but have revised the sales process where the F&I Manager handles the entire deal. Interesting concept. They say they have shortened the customers time in the showroom by 2 hours and CSI has risen. The Dorshcel Auto Group in Rochester NY has installed a process like you have mentioned. The customer sees only one person and that is the salesperson throughout the entire deal. They are a one price store and the salesperson also does all of the F&I paperwork.
Dustin Lyons
We actually held a very high CSI score, and had great repeat and referral business. I think that has more to do with the people involved and how we handled dealing with and interacting with the customers. Even with a longer process, we were almost always green in CSI, maybe red once a year. And again I really think the customers appreciated talking with the different people who were the experts on their part of the process. We had huge profits from our accessory department. Very interesting article Bill. I agree with quite a few points, but there is still a salesperson who deals with the meet and greet, investigation, selection, demo etc... And a second person to handle the negotiation and paperwork which I think is the important part. A second face that the customer sees to handle the actual closing/paperwork, adding product, bumping payment etc... We would do finance closes quite often at our store if the customer had credit issues, or if they just weren't quite there, we could essentially turn the customer to one of our finance managers who would help close the deal. The deals closed in the finance office were typically very large grossing deals, so having F&I as closers can be a great strategy, but again, that is different than having the salesperson do the contracts.
Lauren Moses
Coming from a small dealership, I'll just say that we have three people doing F&I. The General Manager, who is also the F&I manager, me as her back-up, and one salesman who runs the used lot. With us the salesmen get the customers into the vehicle they want, write up the base numbers, then bring them to us to figure up monthly payments, tax, fees, and all. This way it's already in the system come time to actually print paper work and it also eliminates human error in math. Our system seems to work well since there are things that salesmen have a harder time understanding, (credit score, rates, finance income, and on and on.) Not to mention, to do F&I you have to have access to invoice costs and therefore sale prices could be cut just so salesmen can make a sale, eliminating your profit.

Featured Masters

No members found

New Car Leads Products

93%  Recommended Recom'd 261 Ratings
Company: CarGurus
88%  Recommended Recom'd 69 Ratings
94%  Recommended Recom'd 69 Ratings
100%  Recommended Recom'd 2 Ratings
Company: Drive Motors

 Rate a Vendor Give feedback in three quick steps

Select a Vendor & Product
Can’t find what you're looking for?
Add a Vendor  or  Add a Product