F&I Process Works

No customers should be introduced to the Business Office until the salesperson has briefed the office about that customer. The salesperson should provide specific information about the deal, the customer’s behavioral style, any customer special interests, any discussion regarding F&I-related subjects, any predisposition toward F&I or aftersale items.
It is important for salespeople to inform the Business Office if the customers had included any F&I products when they bought their previous machine. For example, if the customer has an extended protection plan on the trade-in, it indicates that he may have a predisposition toward the protection plan for the new vehicle. If this is true, business managers can spend more time selling credit insurance and less on extended protection. Customers also may be entitled to a refund (e.g., on credit insurance). If so, you can apply the refund toward the purchase of new protection.
As a business manager, my mentor Steve preferred completing some of the paperwork (time permitting) before the customer was introduced. This helped him make better use of his time. It also gave him an understanding of who the customer was before they met. When the customer was finally introduced, the salesperson would say:
“Mr. Customer, I’d like to introduce you to our business manager, Steve. I’ll check on some delivery details while your paperwork is completed.”
Steve stood to greet the customers and offered them a seat.
“Mr. and Mrs. Customer, my compliments on the vehicle you selected. What a great choice!” he said.
He began by asking the customer to sign the necessary administrative documents. This got the ball rolling and “acclimated” the customer. Now it was time to begin selling.
“Mr. Customer, your salesperson mentioned that you were quoted a payment of $______. Is that correct?”
If the customer said, “Yes,” Steve would continue, saying:
“Mr. Customer, the payment that your salesperson quoted you includes our optional payment protection program. Let me explain what that means.”
If the customer said, “No, that payment is more than I was quoted,” Steve would call the salesperson and eliminate any confusion. Steve would not proceed until the negotiated payment was confirmed and the vehicle was sold.
If the Sales Department had to take the F&I products out of the payment to save gross profit (during the negotiations), the payment would be called a “bare payment.” This means “bare-bones.” In this case, Steve would begin by saying:
“Mr. Customer, the payment that your salesperson quoted you is for the purchase of the vehicle only. In order to fully protect you and your new purchase, my recommendations are: Extend your service protection to equal the term on your finance contract. (Special note: He had already reviewed the original warranty with the customer before discussing this extended protection.)
Include the payment protection, which means if you cannot work and are under a doctor’s care for 14 days or more, your payments will be made retroactively. They will continue to be made for as long as you’re off work under a doctor’s care. The wonderful thing about this plan is that you will never have to pay the payments back. Also, if you (or your co-borrower) should pass away, we will make certain that your vehicle is paid off free and clear. With all this protection, your payment is only $_______.”
If customers objected to the new payment being higher than they wanted, Steve would evaluate how well he had communicated the value of the optional protection. If he was certain he had communicated the value, but the customer still resisted, he would use the “peel-off” approach. When he peeled-off the customer protection, he recommended the following process of elimination, in order, and one at a time: Eliminate disability, eliminate extended protection and maintenance plans, and Eliminate the interest reserve.

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