F&I Sales Tools

By: Gerry Gould

F&I Sales Tools

Confidence and selling ability go hand in hand in the F&I office. The more confident an F&I manager is, the more convincing they become. Building confidence can be tricky though, given the overall spectrum and daily responsibilities today’s F&I managers are faced with.

Having a solid process they can rely on as well as a strong understanding of their products is a good start. On the other hand an efficient presentation along with effective closing techniques is the ultimate confidence booster. Providing F&I managers with the most up-to-date and clear-cut methods to present and close will build confidence and quickly take an average F&I manager into super star status.

There are countless tools we can provide to our clients that will enhance their F&I mangers’ business aptitude and confidence, from sharing specific word-tracks and closes to providing them with various props and point of sale material. I believe the single most effective tool we can craft for them, however, is an “Evidence Manual”. When filled with the proper content and used appropriately, an evidence manual is the game changer, by providing two very important and influential components that will certainly boost an F&I manager’s confidence in their process as well as their products:

1. It provides third party validation in the products that were offered; and
2. It provides a visual component to the intangible.

Each of these can create the comfort level customers need to make a favorable purchase decision.

Crafting the Tool
Filling an evidence manual with useful information is as easy as visiting the service department to gather information, such as ROs, replacement cost examples or even broken parts to display in the F&I office. Additionally, you can browse the Internet for relevant articles, such as a road condition problem in your area to support tire and wheel protection, vehicle theft statistics or how the environment can damage a vehicle’s appearance.

And as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, dust off your camera and snap a few shots of their service department, diagnostic equipment and toolboxes. You also want to get a few shots behind the parts counter, as this will help illustrate to the end consumer the investment the dealership has made to keep the shop running efficiently. Placing a list of the current month’s parts inventory in the binder substantiates the fact the shop does much more than oil changes. Pictures of vehicles that have been repaired by paintless dent repair technicians are also helpful.

Before-and-after photos of reconditioned vehicles treated with environmental protection are also good to include in their evidence manual. Photos of trade-ins being appraised by the used-car manager are another must. They help illustrate how a vehicle’s condition can affect its resale value. Copies of repair orders — particularly those showing the cost of a claim related to the products they offer — are also good additions to their evidence manual. You may also want to provide the F&I manager the current month VSC, GAP, theft, tire and wheel or any other product claims summary paid you receive from your provider to place in their binder. Just remember to make their evidence manual look neat and tidy.

Once you have taken the time to develop an evidence manual, now it’s time to teach the F&I manager how to use it properly. There is a time and a place for everything, assuming the F&I manager presents products and services off a menu. Utilizing the evidence manual any time before or during the initial menu presentation is not the right time or place, as it will most certainly create unnecessary sales resistance. The evidence manual should be nearby so that it is easily accessible when the time to present is right.

The time is right when the customer says “no” when asked to enroll or subscribe to product, plan or option. When the customer says “I’ll take my chances”, the F&I manager should respond by asking, “Do mind if I share something with you?” Since they sell intangibles, F&I managers will at times need to create additional ways to close on their offerings, ways that stimulate and initiate a buyer to take action. The evidence manual when structured and used properly will often provide the incentive the customer needs to say “yes I’ll take it.”

This article was written by:

- has written 12 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

Gerry Gould is the president of Gerry Gould & Associates, L.L.C. an automotive variable operations training company devoted to providing general agents a source for their training needs. Gerry has over three decades of automotive sales and management experience. He began his automotive career as a sales consultant at Fitzgerald Hicks Dodge in Salem, NH were his father was the general manager. Soon after Gerry and his father opened Gould Auto Sales in Lawrence, Ma, which they later sold. After the sale Gerry was hired as a sales consultant at Ira Oldsmobile-Toyota in Danvers, Ma were he swiftly moved through the ranks of virtually all front-end management positions. In 1996 Gerry joined the team of David Lewis & Associates where he dedicated his knowledge and experience to training others. Following a successful tenure with David Lewis & Associates he relocated to Florida in 2002 where he held the position of Florida Regional F&I Director for AutoNation. In 2009 Gerry accepted the position of Director of Training for United Development Systems a well-established general agent focused on performance development. Gerry has contributed his industry knowledge through speaking and presenting effective front-end sales and management process and techniques for numerous automotive groups and industry conferences. He has also published many industry articles and produced several Sales, Sales and F&I Management training videos and workshops.

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