Training gurus offer advice on how to be a great dealership finance and insurance manager.

There’s this from Mike Hirschfield, president of Cornerstone Dealer Development.

  • F&I managers who act as advisers enjoy higher sales and profits with fewer charge backs, because they are not perceived as sellers.

Trusted advisers carry authority and influence customers. This lets them probe deeper, ask tougher questions and engage more with customers.  

  • The menu isn’t a sales tool as much as it’s an elimination tool used to determine which products the customer will buy without any persuasion. Most F&I managers are good-to-great at presenting the menu, but struggle once they hear “no,” he says.  Don’t let the second one stop you.
  • F&I managers are sales managers who deliver cars. The customer sales experience has a big impact on the F&I process. Properly leading the sales team is critical for the department to reach its full potential. 

F&I “sins” can hamper success, says Gerry Gould, director-training at United Development Systems. Here’s his quick list of transgressions.

  • Not meeting the customer in the showroom to reduce their resistance to the F&I process.
  • Printing paperwork or other documents before verifying information. Doing that often leads to re-doing the paperwork and wasting time.
  • Pushing a product without at least asking what the customer may be interested in, creating unnecessary resistance.

Following the rules is essential, says Tony Dupaquier, director-training at American Financial and Automotive Solutions.

“The F&I office is a great place to pick up additional margin on the front end, but the sale must be done in a proper, ethical and moral way that will not open up the dealership to inquiries from consumer-advocate reporters and government agencies,” he says.