Many new F&I Managers may feel that selling extended warranties and anti-theft protection packages will be a slam dunk. After all, customers need those products, and so it stands to reason that a little gentle coaxing will automatically lead to success.
Only after F&I Managers have been on the job a while do they realize that getting customers to sign on the dotted line requires more skill and hard work than they imagined. A recent edition of U.S.-based F&I and Showroom magazine listed 10 “commandments” that new F&I Managers should follow to enhance their success in this challenging position. Here they are:
1) Seek information using open-ended, needs-discovery questions. Only by understanding a customer’s needs will you be able to recommend products and services that fill those needs.
2) Listen before you speak. The more a customer speaks, the more information he/she will share. Look for verbal and non-verbal cues to better understand your customer’s driving habits and lifestyle.
3) Solve problems. When you help a customer solve a problem, you gain his/her loyalty, respect – and business.
4) Practice. Best-selling author Harvey Mackay popularized the phrase, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” The more you practice speaking and learning about your products, the greater your odds of selling more.
5) Go beyond what is expected. This means going the extra mile for your customers, and for your dealership. When you do so, your value to both will increase substantially.
6) Focus on essentials. Don’t get distracted by things that are out of your control, such as economic conditions, interest rates and staff changes. Focus on what you can control to get the best results.
7) Choose your colleagues carefully. Associate with positive, productive and helpful colleagues who are genuinely interested in your success and in that of the dealership. Negative people are a drag on your time and resources.
8) Deal responsibly and professionally with setbacks. Sales slumps and unforeseen events are bound to occur. It’s how you deal with these setbacks that will help define your character and determine your success.
9) Keep learning. Read widely in your field. Attend seminars. Make a point of knowing everything you can about your business so that you become an indispensable resource for your colleagues and customers.
10) Seek feedback from others. Stephen R. Covey said, “It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.”