Just a few days ago I listened to the voicemail of another F&I manager saying that ... again. The call went something like this:
Hey Joe, I just had a flat repair done on my RZR but your service department said they probably couldn't help me again because of the tire and wheel company. I want to cancel that thing.
Here's the issue: You can't just expect to sell one product after another without educating and selling your service department, along with also closing them on it. Unless you’re reviewing and teaching your service people about the products that you sell, then you can’t blame them for your cancellations and ticked off customers. The people in your service department aren't necessarily there because they like to sell. Many of them chose that career because they're good at fixing mechanical problems. They don't always know what you know, as I'll explain.
This time the customer had purchased a tire and wheel protection plan for their side-by-side. After ending up with a nail in the tire, they hauled the RZR back to the selling dealership to get it repaired. Since this protection provider doesn't require pre-authorization for flat repairs the dealership moved forward and replaced the tire. Notice I said “replaced the tire.” Replacement typically requires pre-authorization but repairs don't.
An A tech (that normally just does street bike repairs) made the decision to replace the tire rather than repair it. He had also called for authorization (which was denied) but decided that he'd go ahead and put a new tire on anyway. The customer was more than satisfied with the new tire but the service manager wasn't once the claim was declined.
The service department made a mistake, the F&I manager thinks they suck, the cancellation will cost the dealer about $300 in lost gross and I say it's the fault of the F&I manager along with service.
First of all, service replaced the tire because the A tech figured he could flag an hour for the replacement rather than repairing the tire. Second, he didn't know that he wouldn't be paid for this decision. Third, it was normally the B and C techs who did tires and the A tech didn't even know how to plug a tire, let alone the difference between a wet or dry plug. It turned out the F&I manager also didn't know how to repair a side-by-side tire.
How do you ever make it to the top of anything without learning about your products? You don't! That was my reason for being in this store ... to introduce a process, coach and educate them so they'd all make more money.
The lesson here is that as an F&I manager it's your responsibility to not only learn your products, but to make sure that everyone in your store knows how to take care of your customers that purchased your products. If it's going to slow down in your office pretty soon then that's the perfect time to educate, sell and close your service department on how your protection products work. This will insure fewer cancellations, complaints and service headaches. Don't expect to make it to the top if you're not working hand-in-hand with your service department. An F&I manager is supposed to be the best closer in the dealership and has the responsibility of training and educating everyone on the way products work. I still find dealerships out there saying that they don’t sell certain protection products but more often than not it’s because the F&I manager failed with the product due to their own fault.
For more help on this topic take a look at our live video that shows how to handle heat cases coming from service. Oftentimes it’s not entirely their fault.
Tommy Ady is a powersports sales expert with more than 25 years in powersports retail business. He founded The WriteBack in 2013, which has become the #1 performing sales tool in the North America. Top 100-ranked dealers use his programs, along with the highest performing F&I managers in the country. His entertaining training shows are broadcast via YouTube to dealers every week.