By Jeremiah Shelton, VP of Training and Development, APCO Holdings

Every company that works with F&I departments claims to be a training & development company but, what does that mean? In any industry you have good and bad performers but, how do you figure out who the players are in the F&I space? What are the different levels of service in this space? What is the difference between training and development? Here is how you figure it out.

There are four different levels of service that F&I providers offer, and they aren’t equal. Every dealer DESERVES the best possible service. It’s not only good for your bottom line but, its even more important to the people that work for you.

The first level of service is, “No service.” There are some companies who will not answer the phone when you call or offer any help. These are usually the “low fee” companies, and you will get what you pay for.

The second level of service is, “program service.” With this level of service, you can expect the company to install the programs and handle any issues over the phone. They usually bring gifts like food or tickets to a game because they must show some value because they aren’t training or developing the account.

The third level of service is, “F&I Training.” With this level of service, you will get the same as the “program service” but, with the added benefit of F&I training. The F&I trainer will work with the F&I department on their presentation and objection handling. This is where you will start to see some increases in your PVR average. This level is where most F&I companies stop.

My favorite level and the level that all dealers DESERVE is the “personal development level.” This is the level where we focus on personal development to get the employees of the dealership to believe and live in success. To understand what development is, focus on the 6 M’s.

Motivation – What is your current manager’s motivation to work? How do you figure it out? We all chase money but, what are we using the money for? Once you find this answer, you keep the focus on it. You may find out that the manager has three children and is working to send them to college. Once you find this out, your entire conversation is around sending their children to college. That is more motivation than just a paycheck.

Management – Has your manager been trained to be a manager or were they just a successful salesperson who got the position? This is an area that must be addressed in this business. Over 95% of managers are not trained to be a manager but, we expect them to be a manager. How is that fair?

Morals – Is your manager focused on the same service as the dealer? Are they doing what is right for the business and the client? In the F&I department, the F&I Manager needs to understand how important they are. In a world where 65% of people live paycheck to paycheck, it’s important for the customer and business to protect both. The way F&I can do that is by properly presenting the concerns and programs that fix the concerns.

Menu Presentation – The ability of the manager to present the programs properly is a huge turning point in F&I. Most F&I managers just present products and ask the customer to choose. This is not the way to get maximum results. The F&I manager needs to focus on communication so the customer understands WHY they will need a program. This one difference of thought can raise your average PVR by more than $1,000.

Moving Forward – All managers need to have a moving forward mentality. The goal is to get better every day. Each day we have the choice to be the wind or the sail. The wind controls the direction that you are going, and the sail just goes with the flow. Be the wind!!

Metrics – You can’t get there without a map. It is crucial to track your production each day. This isn’t just for F&I managers numbers but also the PVR of the sales manager and sales professional. This is a team sport, and everyone needs to be held accountable.

As you can see the “personal development level” is what every dealer should want. You will generate more revenue and have better employee retention. If you are not getting personal development from your current F&I provider, consider looking for a new team and system that promotes success.

About the Author

Jeremiah Shelton is VP of Training and Development at APCO Holdings, home of the EasyCare and GWC Warranty brands. Shelton oversees the creation and implementation of the company’s dealership training programs.

Author: Christine Corkran

Digital Dealer