Fire Your F&I Manager!

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Vehicle financing is changing. 

For decades, the F&I manager has been the point person to not just squeeze the bank for rates and terms the customer will accept, but also to upsell those back-end revenue streams. Life and disability insurance, GAP insurance, protection packages, accessories – it’s been the F&I manager’s realm. 

As auto manufacturers and dealers shift from the traditional sales methods to customer-centric methods like at-home test drives and online showrooms, F&I must take on a different life.

Put your F&I managers on notice – they’ll need to change to F&I advisors. 

The Customer In Control

According to AutoTrader’s Car Buyer of the Future study, 72 percent found online paperwork appealing and 71 percent did not like being pressured while completing paperwork. The natural progression that is taking place has financing and business office products starting online and simply concluding at the dealership. The customer is fully in control of the products and the terms of financing they want. 

With the customer at the helm, an F&I manager has less sway in presenting the high-grossing products in the business office. Often, it’s going to be an online or phone conversation instead of face-to-face. An F&I advisor will need to find creative ways to present products and pair customers with services that are of value to the dealership. More importantly, the F&I products and services must have perceived value for the customer. 

It could be in many forms: 

•    Advising a car buyer to choose a longer term with slightly higher interest rate for a more comfortable payment. 
•    Emailing protection product videos packed with valuable information on their purpose. 
•    An in-home or at-work consultation to assist in financing applications, product presentations, and wrapping up paperwork.

F&I managers are specialists in their field and offer incredible value at your dealership. Begin now to create their future position so they will continue to be relevant in the coming months and years.