Tips to Give the F&I Experience You Would Want Yourself

It’s a foregone conclusion that every customer that walks into the F&I office has their collective guard up. No one 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 decades of a less-than-perfect reputation among F&I managers and you always have a mountain to climb when it comes to being able to present your menu of products & protections with any chance of it being added.

The bottom line….no one likes to be ‘sold’. 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.

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. 

There are two approaches that are sure to help you sell more and reduce the friction that comes with skeptical buyers…

Show, Don’t Tell

Most buyers are coming into the dealership having done anywhere from 12-15 hours of their own online research on the car or truck they want. And guess what? Along the way they may have also looked up content online that helped them understand what F&I products are and whether or not they should consider them.

Here’s where your staff gets to shine. Be prepared to show why the protections you offer will help them in the long run. The first thing customers are looking for 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 (if you have room) to show how quickly they can get damaged and how it can impact trade-in values. You get the point.

Ultimately it becomes less about selling and more about giving them a chance to think of that money being spent as their own. It always them to see themselves having to come out-of-pocket and no one looks at that with anything but dread. 

Establish trust

To follow along with the ‘don’t sell me' theme, trust is often the positive side effect of approaching the presentation as just that…you are presenting the protections that you know car buyers probably neve rethink 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.

trust starts with a mix of empathy and interest in the customer. They go hand-in-hand…if you strive 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. Nearly everyone has bought a car from a dealership and everyone must go through F&I before they drive it off the lot. And here’s where your empathy can foster that next-level trust. 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. Wrong move.

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. 

Educate First…

Some of the most skilled salespeople in nearly every industry educate first, close last. Your customers want to know why they need GAP. They want to know they can trust you to tell them exactly why VSC can be critical on their $55k SUV purchase. 

They want their needs to be heard and you want them to self-discover those needs while maintaining trust throughout the presentation. Teach them and they will buy. 

For more insights and help with your F&I menu and marketing, reach out to us here at truWarranty for the support and training you need to make your customers enjoy walking into F&I.

date published
March 14, 2022

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