5 Ways to Make F&I Meetings a Positive Experience
We all hate them to some degree right? Most feel like time-wasters and just another excuse to rehash topics that could just as easily be conveyed through email rather than being jammed in a crowded conference room or staring at your screen on Zoom.
For dealerships, the typical meeting is usually focused on the sales floor to prepare for customers coming to the lot or followup from online inquiries. It’s all about getting focused and ready to move units. And some rah-rah to get pumped for the day’s sales.
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.
F&I Meetings are Valuable Opportunities…
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, review of pending deals, and even training opportunities.
Managers/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 deals.
The opportunity lies in how you run these meetings. 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 an hour long bitch session?
How to Make F&I Meetings Something to Look Forward To
We’re going to look at 5 ways that your dealership can make F&I meetings enjoyable, informative, and inspiring (yes, inspiration is possible!) -
- Have clear goals/objectives: 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. That’s it, that’s what we’re talking about.
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.
- Prepare an Agenda: 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 militant but initiating a hard stop between topics will be much appreciated by staff who need to get on with their busy day.
- Make Sure the Right People Are There: This may seem like an obvious point to make but 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.
- Encourage Participation: No wallflowers allowed. Make it clear that every F&I meeting is a chance to have their voice be 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.
- Make Follow-Up Mandatory: 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 take action based on the result of the meeting? Follow 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 achieved. And follow up by management in particular 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. There’s no reason why meetings have to be a waste of time…and if you follow these steps, your F&I managers may even look forward to them!
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