Becky Chernek: Get Back-to-Basics in Your F&I Department

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The F&I department is one of the most rapidly evolving departments in your dealership. From new technology to changing consumer expectations, the future of the F&I process is undergoing major transformations. In today’s segment, CBT’s Jim Fitzpatrick speaks with Becky Chernek, F&I expert, and host of F&I Today right here on CBT to discuss the latest in F&I news from reinsurance strategies to your digital menu.

F&I department

Getting involved earlier in the deal is the key to maintain good margins in the last two months of 2018 in your F&I department, as well as happy customers. Becky recommends even getting involved at the first pencil. In some cases, there are sales managers who have never been in F&I before, and they’re on the desk, which is becoming more and more common. According to Becky, “Two heads are always better than one when putting that deal together, and mastermind that deal. That way, we can get the customer on the right car that fits their what? Budget.”

In terms of digital retailing, dealers might be fearing the potential loss of back-end gross profit. However, Beck re-iterates, the sooner you can get involved with that customer, the sooner you can see some self-analysis characteristics like credit criteria and budget. That’s a much better way to go than to try and sell the customer on a car, and then find out that the customer doesn’t qualify. The earlier F&I gets involved, the more units we will move and profits will maximize.

For digital menus, dealers need analysis based on customers’ needs, in other words, a prescriptive menu. However, that is not the only thing F&I managers need to consider. There are other questions like paper menu, or digital menu? Becky prefers digital, although it is important to note that if you have an F&I person producing $1,500 per car using a paper menu, why would you change? It’s not an easy call. You can calculate on the fly using a digital menu however.

When it comes to training, F&I people need consistent training in giving presentations, overcoming objections, and understanding product knowledge inside and out. The industry doesn’t see enough of that according to Becky. We have to adapt our strategies to the changing behaviors of the customer.

You can find more of Becky’s expertise every Tuesday on F&I Today right here on CBT News.

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