The finance and insurance (F&I) department of an independent car dealership is often perceived as boring and restrictive by customers.
Although this may be true in the past, a investigation indicates that modern clients are now more likely to respond positively when approached by an F&I manager. This could be related to how the industry has shifted to a more customer-friendly approach instead of pestering them with tight contracts.
The survey, which focused on shopper patterns and preferences, saw more than 40% of respondents say they would like to speak to an F&I manager to better understand available products such as gap insurance or service contract.
Respondents also indicated that they are available to speak to the F&I manager through various channels, including online chat, text message, phone call or in-store. This not only highlights the important role of F&I managers and why dealerships should expand their services beyond what’s supplied in-store.
How can you do it? We have compiled some of our best articles to help you understand the importance of F&I to an independent dealership and how F&I managers can help you grow your business.
F&I Trends You Should Know About
While market fluctuations can make it difficult to predict the future, there are some F&I Trends independent dealers should know to keep up with the industry. As you get used to post-pandemic normalcy, dealers realize that post-pandemic effects could affect how they conduct business over the long term.
Some of these trends include the change in customer expectations. Customers looking for a new vehicle expect to walk away with more than this. They are looking for accompanying financial services for resellers and customer services. There is also a shift in buying behavior as more customers prefer to research online before visiting the dealership. Some even prefer to complete the online purchase without seeing the car.
This means that your F&I department should improve your website and shopping platform to provide the same service online as in-store. Services such as credit checks, loan approvals, and insurance purchases should be available online or by phone.
Offering these tools and services will allow your customers to explore their options before entering your dealership. This will also help you close the deal faster.
How to build compliance in your F&I process?
Now that your F&I department is playing a more future-oriented role with customers, your F&I manager needs to keep up with changes in technology, legislation, regulations and customer expectations. For things to run smoothly and for your dealership to maintain customer trust, both you and your F&I manager should continually build compliance in your F&I processes. Here are some best practices to build and maintain compliance in your F&I processes:
Conduct training regularly
Your F&I department should always be up to date with F&I trends and regulations. Setting up regular training sessions can help keep them on track and ensure everyone adheres to regulations.
One way to ensure that the F&I department remains compliant is to regularly review the F&I process. This can help your team analyze and evaluate their performance to see if they comply with relevant rules and regulations.
Focus on customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is essential for increasing your dealership’s sales numbers. Your F&I department should focus on building customer satisfaction by ensuring relevant and transparent services with no hidden terms or costs.
How can an F&I manager help you sell more cars?
A good F&I manager can be an asset to closing an automotive deal. One of their primary roles is to ensure that your customer is confident that they are buying from your dealership. Now that we know clients are more open to talking to F&I managers, here are some other ways they can do it help you sell more cars:
Create effective menus
Menus showing a detailed list of financial products and services for retailers can help customers identify other items they would like to purchase. An F&I manager can help you create an easy-to-understand descriptive menu so customers feel comfortable talking about the services they need. These menus can also ensure that the entire dealership is on the same page as your offers.
Enhance the customer shopping experience
An F&I manager can work closely with your sales manager to help you assess if a customer requires more information about vehicle or auto dealer financing. They can simplify automotive jargon and technical terms and put them at ease when discussing the technical aspects of their vehicle and finances. This not only speeds up the transaction, but also provides a pleasant and positive shopping experience for customers.
Customers trust a company that offers transparency in all its business processes. They value an honest F&I manager more than someone interested only in telling the customer what they want to hear.
It is also important to remember that customers are now better informed and have access to a broad range of information. Your F&I manager can help you promote transparency in your processes and show honesty to the customer the moment he walks into the dealership.
How F&I Managers Protect Buyers
A good F&I manager is beneficial to your company and your customers. An F&I manager can help protect car buyers advising them on the best contracts, insurance and warranties for their vehicle. They are there to assure the customer that their needs are met and that they can trust the products and services your dealership offers.
What to look for in an F&I Manager?
If you are looking for an F&I manager, you will want someone with a positive attitude who is committed to the craft and believes in helping the client in the best possible way. While they need to help you increase sales numbers, their main focus should be on customer needs.
A successful manager of F&I it will have certain qualities, including the right education and training, a desire to stay abreast of industry changes, and a commitment to always be compliant and transparent. You will also need an F&I manager who is honest with you and can help you improve your F&I services.
A great F&I manager will also know how to avoid the common car service contract mistakes like being too defensive, overwhelming a customer with jargon and numbers, and separating the deal from the vehicle.
How Vantage Finance can help
The goal of any dealership is to offer quality service and increase sales numbers. Whether you need to revamp your F&I department or want to train one at your new dealership, Vantage Finance can help you provide Worry-free turnkey F&I options.
We are a virtual finance company that connects independent auto dealerships to a range of lenders that many may not have access to. While you may choose to hire your own F&I department, we understand that finding the right people while running your business can be difficult.
We can relieve some of this stress by helping you take care of selling backend products, addressing and providing adequate information, and closing payments. Our goal is to increase your sales numbers and improve the satisfaction of your customers.
We know your dealership is ready to improve sales and do more business. Contact us at Vantage Finance and we will protect your profits and customer shopping experience.
Are you interested in closing more deals and improving the customer experience? Contact us today and learn more about our worry-free, turnkey F&I options.
This article was published by: Trent Welch by title: Why F&I is important for independent dealerships
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