Dealerships who resisted the call in the past to start investing heavily into their online presence were finally forced to embrace this shift during the pandemic. Many only had sales pages or a service page to encourage scheduling a visit but the one department that either was overlooked completely or simply just had staff listed was F&I.
The pandemic moved car shoppers to their laptops to find good deals and with it came a higher expectation of information being available to help them navigate every piece of that process. It was easy to see what inventory was on the lot, but it was rarely clear exactly what F&I products were available to them and the benefits of purchasing them.
Online presence for F&I is becoming more important as most car shoppers want more information earlier in the process than waiting until after they have chosen the car. Introducing products and services early online can make all the difference in both PVR and penetration across the board.
Here are some way F&I products can be introduced earlier for maximum benefit…
Online Information is Expected Now
It’s common knowledge that car shoppers, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, want to research everything online before coming into the dealership. They will still be open to your menu presentation but having that base knowledge of what products you offer and why they are important reduces the friction in that discussion.
Do more than just showing pictures of F&I staff on their page. It’s nice but it tells them nothing about how F&I is there to help in both financing and critical protections for their second-biggest investment.
- Explainer videos for each major product
- Weekly F&I chat with Q&A
- Case studies
And don’t be afraid to offer info on all products, even the ones that may not sell as well as others. Trouble selling PDR? Appearance packages? Key replacement? Now is your chance to highlight the advantage of adding them at a time when shoppers are spending more than ever on their new purchase.
While this next tip may be a bit controversial, it speaks to the transparency issue that continues to be a concern with today’s car buyers. Don’t be afraid to shine a light on all finance options available to your buyers.
Along with captive options, list any local banks and finance companies you partner with that can help all ranges of buyers. Don’t forget to mention indirect credit unions relationships, too.
Social Media Can Reach Even More Buyers
Social media is still not focusing much on the F&I department and that may be a mistake. With most social media platforms being used daily by car shoppers, F&I managers can offer a range of messaging and education that can help boost the profit-per-deal and even boost CSI.
4 ways F&I can leverage social media:
- Offer links in posts to dealership landing pages that give specifics on current finance/lease deals. This is another way to help push buyers down the sales funnel faster.
- Provide links to YouTube videos that provide some education on topics such as the importance of extended warranties or the difference between buying & leasing.
- Post about upcoming product specials such as discounts on service contracts, tire & wheel, or maintenance specials at the time of purchase.
- Let F&I post about themselves. Connecting with others starts with showing you are a regular person outside of the dealership. Let your F&I staff have that connection with local car shoppers with posts about milestones, new babies, community involvement, etc.
Give your car shoppers a fun and informative way to be aware of the products you will offer and give them the transparency they expect. The earlier you introduce F&I online, the faster your PVR and penetration rates will grow. Don’t make buyers wait for the information they want now to make a more informed decision for themselves as it will lead to higher PVR and success for your team.