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Closing in F&I starts with a strong opening

Closing strong means opening even stronger. Master that and your PVR and penetration numbers will skyrocket.

Most salespeople judge their entire career by how good of a closer they are. In F&I specifically, closing more deals with higher rates and products is everything and most know that their close rate must be a certain number on every deal to make a good living. Successful closing is what it’s all about…or is it?

To close more on product in F&I, trainers will tell you it’s all about specific tactics and techniques that put you in the best position to sell. But how can you close if you haven’t started the process strong, to begin with?

Closing starts with the opening.

How do you start the sales process? Do you start off immediately pitching? Do you let the buyer get a peek into who you are?

What you need is a shift in mindset when first speaking with your buyer. Ask the right set of consultative questions. You establish rapport. You get real with the buyers and get inside their head to help set you up for an easier close.

To be a great opener means to become adept at what some call the uncomfortable part of the process…the introduction. It’s the most conversational part of the F&I experience but if it’s mastered, close rates and PVR will increase.

Let the buyer feel comfortable talking with you by sharing a little about yourself and how you view the F&I process differently than most. The buyer should know what makes YOU different. You are there to be of service to the buyer and make their experience at the dealership as easy as possible.

Establishing trust comes next with an educational approach to presenting options for products and protections. Explain everything in detail and stop often to offer time for questions.

Ask the right open-ended questions throughout and always be looking for ways to tie in their answers to a specific benefit that they may not have thought of. The buyer interview is either the place where the close either gets sabotaged or becomes stronger.

The questions should be more in-depth and elicit more than a one- or two-word answer. Instead of asking how many miles they drive in a year, for example, ask what the typical week of driving looks like between work and recreation. Get a feel for how their new vehicle fits into their life and you will have all the information you need to offer the products that are the best fit for them. Every buyer will appreciate that.

Time is on your side as well. F&I managers have more time with their buyers than pre-pandemic and that allows for more opportunities to dig deeper. Opening the conversation doesn’t have to be rushed and a more natural flow to the sales process can be established.

Salespeople of all types are almost always programmed to jump ahead to the close (remember ABC?) but when you understand how important the opening is, your buyer will be more receptive in the end.

Closing strong means opening even stronger. Master that and your PVR and penetration numbers will skyrocket.

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Kristine Cain
Kristine Cain
Kristine Cain is a contributing writer for CBT News. She has over 26 years of experience in the automotive industry specializing in F&I and B2B sales.

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