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How to make F&I meetings a home run for everyone

F&I meetings are the perfect chance to refocus the team, fix things that are broken, and give staff a voice in things that matter to them.

Who likes meetings? Not many of you reading this right now have department meetings at the top of your list of fun things to deal with every day at the dealership. Most feel like a waste of time and just another excuse to rehash topics that could be handled in an email. 

For dealerships, the typical meeting is usually focused on the sales floor to prepare for customers coming to the lot or follow-up from online inquiries. It’s all about getting focused and ready to move units. 

What about F&I meetings? If your dealership conducts these meetings for F&I staff, the hope is that they are always useful and engaging. If they’re not, you risk making these meetings just as boring and irritating as those we mentioned above. 

Make F&I Meetings Positive and Valuable

Conducting a weekly meeting in F&I doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a beneficial time to go over both department and individual goals, updates on compliance issues, reviews of pending deals, and even training opportunities.

Directors should see having meetings for F&I as a chance to help make everyone better to encourage and keep everyone on the team accountable for the success of the department.

After all, F&I drives high profits for every dealership and should be 100% focused on maintaining high PVR and building clean, airtight deals. 

The ‘how’ is key here. Are they scattered each week with no real agenda? Is it a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of thing? Does it become a time to complain and little else? 

5 Ways to Have Your F&I Staff Actually Look Forward to the Next Meeting

We’re going to look at five ways that your dealership can make F&I meetings enjoyable, informative, and inspiring (yes, inspiration is possible!) –

  1. Clear Objective Each Time: Establish right from the start what the meeting will be focused on, what the goal of the meeting is, and what outcomes are expected. If pending deals are the topics, stick to that by detailing what’s still missing to get approval, solicit advice from others if it’s a tough deal, and move on to the next deal. Don’t stray from that goal of going through each pending deal. If specific goals are the topic like trying to set a PVR bar a bit higher in the new months, then that’s what you discuss at length. What is that PVR goal and how do we get there? You don’t let the group steer off-course. Clearly defined goals help give meetings more impact.
  2. Agenda for Better Flow: Be sure to organize multiple topics if the meeting is going to address more than one thing. Allocate time to each topic to help stay on track and keep tangents to a minimum. This may sound a bit strict but initiating a hard stop between topics will be much appreciated by staff who need to get on with their busy day.
  3. Make Sure the Right People Are There: If your meeting is about helping sales close more deals, then have salespeople in the meeting. Don’t exclude them. If the meeting will focus on a deal refresher to help make the funding process easier for the back-office staff, then invite the back-office staff to be a part of the meeting. It gives them a voice in the topic and shows them that your F&I staff values their input.
  4. Everyone Participates: No wallflowers allowed. Make it clear that every F&I meeting is a chance to have their voice heard and that feedback and respectful opinions are always welcome. Staff should be comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification without fear of being interrupted or criticized. No meeting ever succeeded in complete silence.
  5. Follow-up is Required: Every F&I meeting, regardless of the agenda and goal, should always have action items to follow up on. How did things get resolved or what steps were taken to handle this problem? Did everyone act based on the result of the meeting?

Following up on these goals is critical to staff feeling like the meeting was not a waste of time and that changes were made, or goals were achieved. Management follow-up shows the staff that even they take the goals of every meeting seriously.

F&I meetings are the perfect chance to refocus the team, fix things that are broken, and give staff a voice in things that matter to them. You never know…your staff may actually look forward to them and wouldn’t that be amazing?

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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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