Knowledge is critical, but it’s your heart’s experience that resonates with customers in the dealership F&I office.

You present a service contract, GAP or prepaid maintenance plan for purchase consideration by a car buyer. These products all have value, and if you sell them because you have purchased them yourself, more customers are likely to buy.

Why’s that?

“A positive mental attitude (PMA) is paramount for the F&I professional and while PMA isn’t teachable, it is infectious,” says F&I trainer Mike Hirschfield, president of Cornerstone Dealer Development.

“Attitude has the single greatest effect on your ability to lead and sell,” he says. “The next biggest factor in F&I sales is certainty.”

The good news? “You can coach certainty,” he says. “You will find skill at all levels of F&I, but you will only find high levels of certainty at the top.”

Matt Woods, the Services Group’s director-training and development, says, “Believe in what you sell – and buy what you sell.

“Otherwise, you won’t convey the value proposition you want when presenting it to customers.”

F&I managers are taught lots of expertly crafted closes, but ultimately “personal feelings about their products, services, and abilities is what shines through to customers,” Hirschfield says.

In a larger sense, certainty means confidence both in your products and yourself.

“When you are truly certain, you become unapologetically persistent because you have no doubt in the value extended, and that trust comes across,” Hirschfield says. “Pressure is saying the same thing repeatedly, but persistence requires the ability to convey value in different ways.”

He advises F&I practitioners to work on conversation skills so they can ask questions, easily transition as topics change and keep the sales conversation flowing, even after the customer initially declines.

“More sales are made after the fifth to seventh attempt, yet 90% of F&I managers are not equipped to persist past enough resistance,” Hirschfield says.