Tag Archive | "hiring staff"

Home Grown F&I Managers

The importance of having qualified F&I Managers available in the “pipe line” that are prepared to interview is invaluable when it comes to maintaining relationships with our dealer clients. Most often the candidates we recommend do secure positions and now it is just a matter of getting them up to speed with the policies, procedures and culture that being at a new dealership carry.

Sometimes the transition to the new dealership is quick and easy and other times it can be slow and painstaking. So now I am thinking… wouldn’t it be great to be able to “plug and play” any time there is a need to replace an F&I Manager who leaves one of your dealerships. Sure it would… to be able to say to someone “you’re up” and they are ready and eager to step right into the box, ready to take a swing!

Then why is it that dealers run away from building a bench and creating “Home Grown” F&I Managers? I am sure there are a number of reasons but I think the primary reason is they have had a bad experience in the past due to their high expectations. Too often all a Sales Consultant has to do is sell a bunch of cars, be overly aggressive with a bit of charisma and they will most likely get promoted.

That is generally what it takes to advance in the car business. The training will come later. It’s crazy but that model has had success in producing Sales Managers over the years so the dealer expects that if it works for sales management it must work for F&I as well. The problem is, unlike the transition from Sales Consultant to Sales Manager where the principles are similar, the transition to F&I is much more challenging.

Selling cars as opposed to selling F&I products is not the same. F&I products are intangibles and selling intangibles is like selling air as you cannot see it, touch it or smell it. So, therein lies the first challenge for many sales consultants given an opportunity to advance into F&I.

Additionally many sales consultants who take the leap into F&I are succumbed by the complexity of all the duties and responsibilities the F&I manager position requires. There are however, many sales consultants who are able to quickly understand the intricacy of F&I with a little help from a friend. That friend is “you” the F&I Agent, the dealer’s F&I Partner.

Rather than recruit outside of your clients dealership, seek out an F&I apprentice, a “bench player” inside their dealership. Selecting the right “bench players” and nurturing them along will prove to be beneficial to both you and your dealer. When you begin to seek out a “bench player” though, there are many attributes to look for.

The most prominent are a “Positive Attitude” and the “Desire to Succeed.” After all, the right attitude along with a desire to succeed is definitely something we can work with, improve and fine tune. The following attributes will put you on the right track in selecting your next “bench player.”

  • Professional in Appearance and Demeanor: They carry themselves well are organized and get things done in a timely manner. Procrastination is not in their vocabulary they have the “do it now” mentality.
  • Commitment: They are committed to self-improvement and growth specifically in your client’s dealership.
  • Work Ethic: They have efficient and effective work habits and recognize it’s not just the hours you put in but what you put into those hours that count.
  • Honest Upfront and Ethical: They are reliable, straight forward; they are sincere and display integrity in their actions.
  • Process Driven: They follow the dealerships process and procedures while turning in paper work that is complete and accurate. They recognize that the process drives the results.
  • Effective Communicator: They are persuasive and able to get their point across in a convincing and non-intimidating style.
  • Customer Focus: They are always meeting or exceeding their customer’s expectations. CSI is a priority with them.
  • Team Player: They work as well independently as they do as part of a team. They are comfortable working with others and others are comfortable working with them.


  • Attitude: They are optimistic. Their enthusiasm is contagious. They look at problems as possibilities.
  • Desire: They want it bad!

Once you have recognized a potential “bench player” it is time to begin the development process. The first task at hand is to talk to the candidate about their needs, strengths and aspirations. This is a step that is often over looked. All too often we identify that person with “what it takes” so we lure them into the position without ever questioning their desires and ambitions and the results do not live up to expectations.

Make sure they want it and they know exactly what is expected of them before you seal the deal. Drive results by setting mutual expectations before any training begins.

Let the Training Begin

Create a solid foundation by first setting up clear and precise training objectives. Start with a complete explanation of the dealerships F&I policies and procedures. Do not overlook the administrative responsibility and managerial responsibility they will be expected to sustain. Include federal and state regulations that they must adhere to. Provide them with an overview of the features of all the F&I products the dealership has made available to customers. Hold them accountable for product knowledge. Provide them with word tracks for a menu presentation and overcoming objections along with a time line to master them. Teach them how to read Credit Reports and test their knowledge as they progress. Show them Lenders Rate Sheets and explain to them how to manage their lenders portfolio.

Next step is to let them experience it hands-on by putting them in the action, make them play the role. Playing the role should start out with learning the dealerships DMS fundamentals. Have the “bench player” load deals into the DMS and follow through by entering deal information onto the dealership’s finance source web site. Be sure someone is monitoring their progress until they are comfortable with that task. Have your “bench player” clean and package deals. Show them how to manage contracts in transit and charge backs.

When they are ready to take a deal be sure to be there to coach and critique them. Do not let them down. After all they were your recommendation so pay attention to them. Mentoring a “bench player” has to be a meaningful experience not just a “we’ll send you to training.” Certainly sending them to a qualified training and development company is essential.

The point is if you (the F&I Agent) provide the selected “bench player” with critical development experiences by implementing an on the job training program that includes all the aforementioned F&I essentials and Presto! you now have a plug-and-play “Home Grown” F&I Manager. Be wise in your selection… and Good Luck!

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Hire Employees With ‘Fire in the Belly’

I use the term “fire in the belly” to refer to someone’s drive or motivation to achieve success. When you’re interviewing prospective employees for your business, people will often describe a “passion” for the product, technology, or tasks at hand. This is nice, but fire in the belly burns on while passion burns out. Fire in the belly is a continued drive that doesn’t ebb or flow while passion rises and falls. To find fire in the belly in a potential new employee, look for three things:

First, look for a history of drive. People with drive have had it their whole life. It’s in their DNA, and they’ve typically demonstrated it from very early on. Ask questions about their very first job. Not the one after college, but the very first thing they did for pay. Guess what: People with drive usually started working early in life and took the jobs they could get for the pay available. If they are who you’re looking for, they didn’t then and don’t now have any problem with working hard. It is what they do; it is who they are as people. They are driven and always will be.

Second, find people with something to prove to the world. You do this by asking questions about their role models, relationships, family, and long-term ambitions. People with fire in the belly usually have someone or groups that have importance to them. Find out who they are, why they are important to them, and what they want to prove at the end of the day. When you’re determined that the candidate will be unrelenting to make a parent proud or prove someone wrong, you should be thinking about where he or she will sit in your office.

Third, find people who have overcome obstacles—real obstacles, such as the loss of a parent, a tragedy, or material setbacks. Ask about their life growing up and the material conditions or events within it. What were their life-changing events? If you want people who will go through walls to succeed, hire people who already have gone through walls in their life.

Find someone with any of these qualities, and more often than not you will benefit every day they are in your employ. After all, fire in the belly comes to work every day and brings energy to every task.

This article was written by Don Rainey and published in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

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Key To F&I Success: Attract and Attain Top-Notch Personnel

As an agent for auto dealers who intends to stand out above the crowd, one of our main focuses is income development. We thrive on making the dealers’ front and back grosses increase, while improving customer relations, and helping dealers sell more units.

Frequently, however, we are asked, “How do you really make the needle move?” Clearly, this question is highly complicated, as there is no ‘magic dust’ that can simply be used with 100 percent success in every dealership. If I had to pick the next best thing to a magic solution, however, it would certainly be attracting and attaining the absolute best personnel.

This begs several questions, of course. How can dealers ensure they hire the best possible people? What are the things to look for to know if someone is a good fit? What types of questions should dealers ask interviewees?

Hiring the best people requires patience. An industry-renowned motivational speaker, Dave Anderson, says we should “hire slow, fire fast.” Typically in the car business, we do the exact opposite of that. Lots of times we fall in love with a candidate due to their overall likeability, their resume or the level at which they came recommended, and we don’t really uncover the information that will lead us to know if they can succeed.

Instead, we should take our time through the interview process. Always line up multiple candidates, regardless of how good the first one you run across may be. When you perform interviews, test an interviewee’s most important traits by asking the right questions. When do you want to know that a candidate has the appropriate talent, drive and character to do the job? Before you hire them!

Want to test sales talent? Try asking them to sell you a random, inanimate object. You’re looking for them to ask you questions about how you plan on using the product. A natural ability to sell will always do this.

Want to test character? Try asking them about a time they had a disagreement with a boss and how it was resolved. You will be amazed by the outpouring of honestly that occurs in these situations. Furthermore, if they can’t name a single time this has happened, you know they’re either lacking drive, or they’re lying.

Want to test drive? Ask them if they’d rather have a job working 40 hours a week, making $50,000 or working 60 hours a week, making $90,000. You’ll find out a TON about what motivates them and what their work ethic will be like.

Clearly, there is no certain way to always find the best hires. One thing is certain, however, and that’s by being patient and thorough, you can overcome many of the hiring mistakes that are commonly made. At the end of the day, the single biggest factor in being able to move the needle is having motivated, high-character, highly-driven individuals. All the training in the world won’t help unless you have someone willing to learn.

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