A good F&I manager understands that winning over the trust of customers is far more important than occasional boost of commissions. This is not to say though that gaining the trust of customers won’t bring about sales. In fact, when a customer feels that the F&I manager is not just after commissions and is totally invested on his or her welfare, the customer is more inclined to purchase. A customer-centric F&I manager knows what products and services are appropriate for their customers and advices them of those things without sounding too pushy. F&I managers are also the last people met by clients so positive experiences with them make the dealership look good. A great F&I manager is one who customers can’t help but recommend to friends and colleagues.

A highly effective F&I manager is also compliant to F&I disclosure laws which protects both the client and the dealer from liabilities. He properly presents the inclusions, limitations and the fine details of insurance plans, warranties and financing options offered with the goal of leaving no room for misunderstandings and miscommunications.

An effective F&I manager is also able to foster positive vendor relationships with aftermarket products and lenders. To offer the best possible deals to clients immediately, F&I managers should have an idea on how each lenders evaluate a financing application. They understand how to read a credit bureau and the factors affecting a customer’s credit score. With this knowledge, they are able to find lenders compatible to their clients in the least amount of time. For instance, some lenders don’t place as much importance for debt-to-income rate as another financer might. So instead of asking all lenders to review a certain application, applications will be sent only to those with a history of providing financing for that type of customer.

With vehicle sales not where as it used to be, lenders occasionally allow exceptions to their loan policy. An F&I manager who is cut above the rest is able to take advantage of such opportunities. Obviously, lenders are only willing to bend their policies to those F&I managers who they like to work with.

F&I managers have the opportunity to add additional income and maximize profit on every sale. In this age, that role is critical for the dealership’s survival. Furthermore, the F&I department has a huge impact on customers’ buying experience which sadly are mostly unpleasant. But by focusing on the above-mentioned best practices, F&I managers can improve their performance across all measures – profit, customer satisfaction and compliance.

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Ann Cawkwell
Ann has worked in the automotive sector for over 20 years with a significant amount of time in dealerships in sales and F&I achieving outstanding results. She became a trainer for Toyota Financial Services and then joined Fusion as a trainer and performance management coach. Her extensive skills in selling and process make her an outstanding coach and facilitator.