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More showing, less selling leads to a better F&I experience

Giving your buyers a better F&I experience is easy when you show before selling and gain their trust with empathy and respect.

When it comes to the F&I experience, no car buyer wants to be given the fast-talking, hard sales pitch to get them to buy a VSC or appearance protection for a car or truck that is already expensive enough without adding all that.

Add to that the sometimes less-than-perfect reputation among some F&I managers and you have quite a task ahead of you when it comes to being able to present your menu of products and protections with any chance of it being added.

No one wants to be “sold” and you probably don’t either. Your buyers sit in your office no different than any of us would and it’s important to treat them the same way we would want to be treated.

f&i

It starts with reframing how this process works in the F&I office to help go from an immediate defensiveness to a willingness to listen and understand more about how these products can help increase peace of mind.

Maybe your staff does this and maybe they don’t, but these two approaches can go a long way to giving your customer the experience you would want yourself…

Paint the Picture First

Be prepared to show why the protections you offer will help them in the long run. The first thing customers are looking for during the F&I experience, is the insights they need to make the right financial decision. Showing helps here more than selling.

Show them the difference in having GAP or not having it by breaking down the real numbers of what not having that protection will cost them.

By leveraging simple tools like service RO’s and invoices from your parts department for some pricey replacement parts can quickly illustrate the need for a VSC.

Have a badly scuffed up alloy rim in the office to show how badly they can get damaged and how it can impact trade-in values.

Make them imagine having to come out-of-pocket and they may talk themselves into the purchase.

Trust is Key

Trust is often the positive side effect of approaching the presentation as just that…presenting the protections that you know car buyers probably never think about until it’s too late. This is the opportunity to show that you truly are looking out for your customer and not just seeing them as the next high PVR.

A mix of empathy and genuine interest in the customer can help establish trust. Striving to truly understand their ownership/driving profile, you are able to conduct the kind of thorough interview that will help them uncover their needs. You are helping them come to the conclusions on their own.

Empathy comes in the form of being less of a F&I manager/salesperson and more of a car buyer just like them. By sharing some of your own experiences, good and bad, you allow the customer to see that they are no different than you…and that’s why how YOUR dealership handles F&I is so different.

You’ve sat on that side of the desk just as they are now.

Trust also becomes easy to earn when you are approaching the presentation with transparency and a willingness to answer questions. Too often F&I managers in a hurry or desperate to push their PVR higher will be less apt to answer detailed questions about a policy or coverages and simply gloss over it to push to the close.

Answer questions, it’s ok. Customers will appreciate honesty and candor when it comes to questions about deductibles, what’s covered and not covered, and important exclusions that are better known now than when their car is on the side of the road disabled. If they feel you are hiding something, you won’t sell as much as you should…period.

Giving your buyers a better F&I experience is easy when you show before selling and gain their trust with empathy and respect. Maybe that’s not a flashy way to sell F&I in 2023 but you have a better chance at keeping a high PVR and a through-the-roof CSI.

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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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