How to get sales staffers to embrace F&I

How to get sales staffers to embrace F&I

F&I managers can get sales staff to help with F&I by learning about their goals and investing in their training.

Hannah Lutz 

Although insiders tend to view the dealership car-buying process in steps or departments, customers see their experience as a whole, making it even more important to have sales and F&I on the same team.

So how can finance managers get sales staffers to help with F&I? Learn more about their goals and invest in their training, insiders said last week at the F&I Industry Summit in Grapevine, Texas.

"Most times we don't really know the salespeople. We have forgotten that if you want to inspire people, you better find out what inspires them," said Eric Melon, president of sales at F&I provider IAS. "We teach them what to say; we teach them what to do. We're asking them to get uncomfortable, but what would they get uncomfortable for," especially if they are not paid on commission?

More training

At McCaddon Cadillac-Buick-GMC in Boulder, Colo., sales meetings are held weekly, but Justin Gasman, financial services director, said he is trying to incorporate more training.

"I try to spend time with the salespeople, especially when we're talking about accuracy in the paperwork. At the end of the day, it is our job to train," he said. "Having that little one-on-one with them is more effective because it shows them that you care. You're investing time in them. You're trying to help them get better."

F&I managers should step in earlier and more often to train sales associates on how they can work better with F&I, Gasman said. The sales team shouldn't try to sell products, unless the customer specifically asks, but they should learn to fill out all the necessary paperwork and use a checklist properly, Gasman said.

Planting the seed

Tom Andrews, finance director at Sam Pack's Five Star Ford of Lewisville, in surburban Dallas, said he doesn't want sales associates to sell F&I products, either, but they can plant the seed.

"Most stores have window etch on their vehicles. They can mention to the customer that the vehicle has been engraved with window etch security coding," Andrews said. They tell customers, "when you go in the business office, they'll tell you all about that product."

Andrews meets with the sales team at Sam Pack's Five Star Ford of Lewisville once a week, he said. They pick a topic to home in on to learn more about F&I.

"It goes a long way if you spend a little time on the sales floor," Andrews said. "They will respect your department. They will respect you, and they will sell more vehicles."

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