Car dealers rely on the F&I department to run big PVR with stellar customer service. The experience in the F&I office can have a lasting impression that could make or break the client returning to your dealership to purchase their next vehicle. So how can we maximize profits while ensuring stellar customer service? I am going to share some information that will allow you to sell more products and provide a number of benefits to the consumer.
It all starts with the first impression that you made with the customer. Did you meet them early in the sales process? Did you greet them and follow up with expectations of the F&I office? Did you ask questions to determine exactly how your client gets paid? Understanding what your client is trying to accomplish is vital. I have an arsenal of F&I techniques that I could give to you daily, but they are worthless if you DO NOT connect with your customer and fully understand their motive for purchasing a new vehicle. However, if you make the commitment to be a customer service focused F&I professional, you will increase your income immediately.
ALWAYS find out how and when your client receives their income. On finance and lease transactions you can utilize Smart Payment Plan and allow the customer to potentially pay their vehicle off quicker resulting in additional savings. My personal experience with Smart Payment Plan is remarkable and highly profitable. My PVR increased and allowed me to sell additional F&I products by structuring my menu based on my customers pay schedule. For years car dealers have forced customers into monthly payments. The bank prefers the customer to make the minimum payment monthly, resulting in “the customer paying more”. The best thing we can do for our client is to put together a loan package that includes F&I products that the customer wants and needs on a loan agreement with a bank at a fair rate and term accompanied by Smart Payment Plan.
The Smart Way
If the customer’s budget is set at $400 per month and your customer gets paid weekly, speak in terms of how they budget. Instead of forcing the customer to make a large once a month payment of $400, SMART will provide a service where the customer pays approximately $100 a week. This might seem like an issue but, since over 85% of the country live pay check to pay check, that one lump-sum payment makes it very difficult for many customers to bridge the gap created to that customers budget. If your monthly payment is $439 with a vehicle service contract instead of saying its $39 dollars per month increase for the service contract, with SMART it is only $9 per week to have their vehicle protected. If you negotiate smaller numbers, you will experience larger profits. If the customer gets paid weekly, structure your menu weekly. If your customer gets paid bi weekly, structure your menu bi-weekly. A reminder, over 80 percent of customers get paid bi-weekly, semi-monthly or weekly. We must pay attention to that.
Below are some additional benefits of utilizing SMART Payment Plan which can provide for the F&I Office, Dealer and Customer:
- Additional Revenue Stream
- It makes it easier to manage their budget
- Offer Smaller & Easier Payments
- Provide Customers with Additional Payment Options
- Increase VSC, GAP & F&I Products Penetration
- Better Equity Position & Increased Customer Retention
- Competitive Advantage for dealerships
- Close more deals
- Make more gross per deal
- It is more convenient (set it and forget it payments)