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March 12, 2007: Identifying shortcomings in sales, F&I departments

This series of articles recaps a portion of the opportunities that were uncovered by Gart Sutton & Associates’ powersports specialists during consulting visits.
These opportunities are followed by recommended actions that address the issues. The goal is to provide you with ideas to help you improve your dealership.
The purpose of this visit was to conduct a needs assessment of the dealership with a focus on the sales and F&I departments. The goal for the recommended actions was to improve unit sales and profits, improve customer satisfaction and also increase F&I product penetration.
This is the second step of a three-part series on this particular dealership. The first step, published in the Feb. 12 edition, looked at the dealership from a customer’s perspective. This edition looks at the processes in place at the dealership.
Dealership Details
This multi-line powersports and power products dealership is located in a fast-growing resort town of 100,000. The nearest major city is located more than three hours away. The healthy local economy, fueled by recreation and oil, has resulted in a lot of development taking place. For the past 10 years, the dealership has been in a facility of 15,000 square feet. The dealership has a year-round business with snowmobiles in the winter and motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft in the summer. They sold more than 1,500 major units in the past 12 months.
Processes in place
There are no written job descriptions for any of the dealership positions. The sales manager is also a salesperson, so the sales staff views him as a competitor instead of a resource. This also means he has little time for actually managing the department or training and coaching the sales staff. There are no clearly defined goals, and there is no logging or tracking of customers or prospects. The sales department lacks any defined sales processes. There is no customer sales path through the other departments following the unit sale. There is limited customer follow-up after the sale, and there is no prospect follow-up.
Salespeople are allowed to quote prices and rates to customers without prior approval or guidance from the sales manager. No worksheet is being used, and no management signature is required to confirm a deal.
The layout and appearance of the F&I office is extremely conducive to promoting professionalism. The turnover from sales is close to 100 percent. There is no F&I log and no goals for F&I product penetration have been established. With the lack of tracking and accountability, F&I is allowed to operate independently from the sales department. Additionally, there is no systematic process for the presentation of the F&I product mix. They are not being presented through a menu system, and not all products are being presented to all customers. The F&I department is completing all the credit applications, which creates a “bottle-neck” during peak times.
Recommended Actions

  • Develop written job descriptions for all positions in the dealership. Without job descriptions, there is no accountability.
  • Develop sales goals and incentives for the sales and F&I departments. Involve the managers and staff in the development of the individual goals.
  • Develop goals for prospect calls and kept appointments.
  • Institute 5-minute daily huddles with F&I and sales staff to discuss what happened yesterday, what’s happening today and what will be happening tomorrow.
  • Implement a Customer Showroom Log and Prospect Sheets. The sales manager should review these daily to ensure compliance.
  • Implement a sales process and provide training for the entire dealership staff.
  • Institute weekly sales meetings. Include training and motivation.
  • Develop a customer path process. Ensure all customers are introduced to the other departments following the unit sale, prior to final F&I. Utilize a log to track this process.
  • Allow the sales manager to manage the department, rather than sell product.
  • Require a completed worksheet for all unit deals. Require the sales manager to review and sign off on all deals.
  • Encourage salespeople to complete credit applications to speed up the F&I process.
  • Institute a 48-hour follow-up system for all major unit customers. Incorporate a referral program.
  • Implement a menu presentation process for F&I. Ensure all products are presented to every customer, every time.
  • Use an F&I log to track penetration levels on F&I products.

    Author, speaker and educator, Gart Sutton has been retained by every major powersport manufacturer/distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state motorcycle dealer association events. Visit www.gartsutton.com.

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