Channel | F&I

A Simple Idea To Boost A Dealer’s F&I Performance

By: George Angus

A Simple Idea To  Boost A  Dealer’s F&I Performance

One of the key functions agents and F&I product providers provide to their dealer clients is help improving F&I performance. A unique part of that function is to help implement policy improvements that the F&I staff may not have the ability to accomplish within the political structure of the dealership.

One of the most critical of these policies is the practice of customers not being turned over to F&I at the time of the sale. What happens is that the sales department sells a car to someone, writes up the purchase order and arranges for the customer to pick up the vehicle at some future date without seeing the F&I manager.

Then, the customer shows up a few days later with a bank or credit union check in their hands all ready to pick up their new vehicle. Many times, in this situation, the F&I manager could have gotten the financing on the deal if he had seen the customer. Unfortunately, he simply did not get the chance.

This practice is amazingly common in many dealerships and is certainly damaging to the dealer’s F&I numbers. It is also the cause of a great deal of frustration for many F&I managers.

When a customer shows up at the door of the F&I office with a bank check in hand, there is not going to be much, if any, aftermarket income made with those customers. And, there is definitely not much of a chance that the F&I manager is going to persuade the customer to jump back in their car and drive back down to the bank to get another check for $2,500 for that service contract and paint sealant.

A portion of this frustration for the F&I manager is that controlling this particular practice is very difficult to do, and no matter how much they complain about it, it still goes on.

Oftentimes it is that they simply do not have the authority to tell the sales department to turn everyone.

The fact is that the dealer principal or general manager needs to take control of this practice. And they need to be motivated to make sure it is corrected.  A firm policy within the dealership should exist that requires sales personnel to refer 100 percent of the customers, at the time of the sale, to an F&I manager.

Additionally, the agent or F&I product provider needs to make a compelling case as to why they should get excited about it. You need to be smart.

First, here are some facts:

  • No lender will give a loan without a purchase order. None of them.
  • It is very important that the purchase order be correct, compliant and approved by management.
  • The purchase order should be printed and professional looking.
  • And who’s the most qualified to assure all of the above? Of course, F&I.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense for the GM or dealer to set a policy that EVERY purchase order will be generated in the F&I office before it leaves the dealership.

Now F&I has control. They get to see every deal before it sails down the street. “But wait”, you say, “I can’t get the GM or dealer to do that. They just let sales run things the way they want to!”

Then give them a compelling reason to implement this policy. Here’s what you do:

For the next month, have the F&I department keep a log of every customer that isn’t turned over to F&I at the time of the sale.

Then, at the end of the month, generate a report for the GM or dealer principal. In this report you want to show the number of people who weren’t referred to F&I and then multiply that number by your average dollars per finance deal (not per retail).

The resulting figure is the potential lost income from those deals, if F&I had seen them and been able to get the financing.

Here’s a recent example from an actual dealership:

  • Retail units delivered – 96
  • Customers not turned at time of sale – 26
  • Average income per financed deal – $966.30
  • Potential income from those deals if financed – 26 X $966.30 = $25,123.80

This dealership lost the opportunity to make an additional $25,123.80, simply because they didn’t give the F&I department the chance to get the financing. It’s simple math.

If you take the time to keep track of those customers who aren’t turned and do this report, you will definitely get management’s attention.

Now, they may not react immediately, but be patient. This will work. If it doesn’t change after the first month’s report, do this calculation for the boss again for the next month (And the month after, if you have to). Sooner or later, the dollar amount you are revealing will have an influence on the GM and/or dealer (In the example above, the second month’s report is what got the policy implemented).

The effect of approaching the problem this way is that you are showing first, that there is a good dollar reason for 100-percent turnover at time of sale; and second, you are showing the dealer that you are on top of what is going on in their F&I department.

Do not show any emotion or debate this with anyone. It is not about how anyone feels about it nor should it be about anyone’s opinion. All of that can trip you up. It is simply about net profit. Just calmly show them the numbers. Don’t sell, just report.

I once had a GM say to me after reviewing this report, “Yeah, but we don’t know how many of those people would have financed”. And I said, “You’re right, and we never will. All we know for sure is that we lost any potential income that could have been made and we’ll never get it back”.

It drives them nuts, believe me. They will do something about it, sooner or later. Every dealer and general manager is unique, but every one of them I’ve ever met wants to make more money. Try it. It works.

This article was written by:

- has written 16 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

George Angus heads the Team One Group, a research and training company that specializes in scientific, research-based program development and training programs for the automobile industry. George has trained thousands of F&I managers and his popular "Saturday Morning Messages to F&I Masters™" has over 8,000 subscribers.

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The views expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Agent Entrepreneur or any employee thereof.

One Response to “A Simple Idea To Boost A Dealer’s F&I Performance”

  1. Our income development company currently executes an F&I management program branded “5 Driver.” George has identified T/O as one of those drivers. The other four are: Desking, Delivery, Menu, and 300 Rule Presentation.
    We track them with a DMS integration resource, video every sales presentation, and are able to empower any dealership to advance PRU $150-$400 with the same people, products, and pay.
    Focused process and accountabilty in the F&I office will unlock dramatic income increases in amost any dealership today.

    John Braganini
    Great Lakes Companies
    Kalamazoo, Michigan

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