The New World of F&I – Selling with Integrity
As we noted in the previous article, focus groups have given a glimpse into exactly what customers want in the F&I office.
At the core, car buyers want to know they can trust the F&I office. Isn’t that something that should go without saying? Unfortunately, it isn’t.
Integrity is a fundamental component when you’re selling anything at all. It’s even more so for the auto industry where customers are suspicious of sales agents. You can make integrity and honesty a basis for your store, especially as it relates to the F&I office.
The First Phase: Selling with Integrity - Put the Customer First
Boil it down to the Golden Rule and treat customers how you’d like to be treated. View the process from where they sit. See the interaction from the customer’s point of view.
Commit yourself to helping customers obtain what they find valuable and you’ll be pouring a foundation for a natural flow of success. Customers will trust you and want to come to you. The F&I process becomes much easier after you’ve built a solid customer base.
Why is Integrity Important?
Sleep like a baby – Psychological effects develop when lying, stealing or cheating a customer are part of your shtick. Integrity-based selling prevents guilt and lets you sleep at night.
An enjoyable career – An old adage says, “A person who finds a job they love will never work a day in their life.” Enjoying your chosen career is easier when you practice honesty and strive to help people.
Higher earnings – When you’ve earned trust through integrity, people loosen their purse strings and spend more. Through trust, you’ll also earn repeat and referral business, which is the most rewarding.
How to Make Integrity in F&I Happen
Begin F&I Online
Before the customer sets foot in the store, you can begin the relationship. As a financial services advisor, you can show integrity when customers are shopping online. Make an introduction when a customer inquires about a vehicle or submits a credit app. Promise rapid response times to online credit apps and honest, transparent replies.
If you do, the customer feels like they have an insider at the dealership; a familiar face. It breaks down communication walls and establishes trust ahead of any bricks-and-mortar visit.
Structure Deals Properly
No one appreciates a reneged deal. When the customer sits in the finance office, the terms and conditions should be set up according to their expressed wants and needs. Paperwork “errors” or other deceptive practices are most damaging at this point. The financial services advisor should avoid using hard sales tactics – it’s an advisory role now, remember?
Pay Attention to the Details
Customers demand accuracy in the details and certainly don’t want surprises. Ensure the payment date is as requested. Confirm the mailing address for statements and make sure coupon books are accurate. And in the F&I office is not the right time to discover the payment is outside their budget.
A salesperson must build value in the vehicle, and likewise, it’s your job to build value in F&I products you provide. Many customers will pay for the products and services you offer if they understand their worth. Build confidence that they’re making the right decision.
Continuous In-Dealership Training for Your Sales Team
As a financial services advisor, you must emphasize these customer satisfaction topics within the finance process. Talk with your Sales Management and Sales Team, and train them on their respective roles in the process.