Your F&I department is a key influencer on your Parts & Sales business. Every department at a vehicle dealership depends primarily on an unpredictable flow of new and returning customers to make revenue quotas, but the sale of an F&I department product is a predictable opportunity to generate additional Parts & Sales revenues.
Every dealership wants to be more successful. Much of this has to do with the personnel. While the inventory, the pricing, and the showroom have an impact on success too, it is all for nothing if the sales team doesn't know what they are doing – and cannot put the customer’s needs first. This is why F&I training is so critical.
The sales team of a dealership is the primary connection between the customer and the location. This means that the sales team needs to be educated on all that is being offered and all that needs to be disclosed to the customer. Mandatory automotive F&I training can take care of this in its entirety.
The automotive industry is facing a dramatic demographic change. Millennials, those buyers who are 20 to 35 years of age, are predicted to become the largest, most important group of auto buyers within the next decade. Millennials have more information-gathering tools and better research skills than any previous generation of auto buyers; they are well-informed and have often already made their purchase decisions before setting foot in a dealership.
Although the business of auto dealers is selling cars, the worst kept secret is that F&I products provide the best margin in the industry. Dealers that maximize these products do much better financially. However, they have to be sure to meet all of the compliance standards or it could come back to bite them in the form of penalties. For that reason Financial & Insurance product compliance is more important than ever before.
Dealing with the F&I office can sometimes be a bit of a trial. Efficiency issues run high, and this often leads to unsatisfied customers. When it comes down to it, efficiency and compliance still trump shorter visits to the F&I office. Fortunately those of us at Vanguard Dealer Services have effective programs for dealerships to improve their work flow.
The car buying industry is nothing like it was ten years ago. Mobile phones, and the Internet have completely changed the market. The market is now designed for the quickest and most efficient selling tactic.
We've got a handy way for managing automotive finance and insurance training and we'd love to share it with you. It's really a matter of getting back to the basics. Even successful and experienced finance and insurance staff need to keep up-to-date on training lest they become complacent or, even worse, develop bad habits.
The role of the F&I department is ever-changing and diverse. It is important to stay ahead of the curve; you need knowledge, familiarity, skills that come with experience, and ongoing education. Keeping abreast of the latest developments and industry trends keeps the finance & insurance department healthy and successful.