3 Types of F&I Managers & How They Can Help or Hurt Your Store

Most dealerships have anywhere from 2 to as many as 6 F&I managers depending on volume. When you have that many (or that little), how do you know you are hiring the right F&I professional? What are the common types of F&I managers and what should you look for in the ones you have on staff now?

The industry is going through a colossal shift and it’s more important than ever to make sure that the professionals you have in place are helping your dealership, not hurting it. Profit is everything, but you can’t lose sight of how this critical position is.

Let’s take a closer look at the 3 common types of F&I managers and ask yourself which one(s) you have…

  1. Clock Watcher – This manager is more interested in getting through the day and doing the bare minimum to keep his/her job. PRU is average at best and just enough for them to NOT get fired. They are ‘flat’ with customers and float through the day just hoping to make it to the next with as little effort as possible.

Yes, they are reliable but in an ‘old car’ kind of way. Think about a car you drove for years that wasn’t the best looking or the fastest, but it never broke down and always got you where you were going. Same with this F&I manager…they show up every day, do their deals, have few complaints, and just simply disappear into the background. Not the person that will explode your profits and certainly not the person who will increase your stores CSI. Efficient and not much else.

  1. Lone Wolf – You have to be careful if you have this F&I manager. They can be very creative when it comes to structuring a deal…that meets THEIR needs. They are good at riding that fine line between ethical F&I practices and slipping into sleazy tactics to sell product. For instance, this is the guy/gal that will always focus the product discussion not on the total cost of the warranty or the GAP insurance policy but rather boil it down to the amount it adds to their payment (‘Only $20 extra a month, Mr. Customer.’). Is that always a bad thing? Maybe not but it speaks to the shortcuts they are willing to take for a high PRU. Chargebacks are also not far behind with their deals, either.

The Lone Wolf will do deals their way and tend to see their role as a solitary one. Little customer engagement and actually not much staff interaction either. They are there to do deals, jam as much product and rate as they can into every deal and disappear when the cash deal hits the tower. If there is no money to be made, good luck finding them. They also tend to have the resumes that reads like a patchwork quilt…never staying anywhere too long and jumping from store to store. Again, not the F&I manager that will help your dealership long-term.

  1. Superhero – Break out the cape because this F&I manager is a true professional. They are actively invested not only in their own ongoing training and development, but they conduct themselves both in the office and out on the floor with maturity and focus. They show up to sales meetings to better understand current incentives and offer to help on the floor if a deal is going bad. They understand if they step in to help the salespeople from time to time, they can ultimately help themselves.

This F&I manager also understands the consultative sales approach is the one that helps them make the higher PRU without sacrificing CSI. They truly create the opportunities to sell more product and have no problem adapting their approach along the way. You see them on the floor, you see them interviewing customers, and you see them acting true to their title of ‘manager’.

Make no mistake…they are money-motivated as well but they understand that an ethical and proactive approach to their job will yield better results. The Superhero strives to get better not by shortcuts or hiding in their office. They take the initiative necessary to be successful with every deal.

In all fairness, all of these ‘types’ can make your store money but when it comes to the customer experience and putting together solid deals every time, you need to find your Superhero and don’t let them go.