Jun. 2, 2008: Tackling new additions in the F&I department

These articles recap some of the opportunities uncovered by Gart Sutton & Associates’ powersports specialists during consulting visits.
These are followed by recommended actions that address the issues. Our goal is to provide ideas to help improve your dealership.
Dealership Details
This older, large, multi-line dealership is located in a southern town of 50,000 people. Because of its strong reputation, the dealership draws business from several rural towns and a city of 200,000, located almost 80 miles away. They had been a high-volume, low-profit operation for many years. As economic situations changed, they were forced to modify their business model or risk losing their dealership. Although still a bit light on margin, they have successfully changed to a more profit-oriented structure. They are still doing a volume of more than 2,500 units per year.
Gart Sutton & Associates’ consultants were called in to help them improve the store’s processes and profitability in every department. This series began last issue by looking at the sales department, including recommended actions on improving that department. This edition looks at the state of the dealership’s F&I Department.
F&I performance
The F&I department for this dealership had been a strong performer. The department was averaging nearly $750 PVS before they lost its most senior F&I person. Currently, they have three F&I people, two of which are fairly new to this department.
Fred, the most experienced team member, formerly worked in the motorcycle sales department. He is a seasoned employee with a wide and varied background. Previous to the dealership positions, he was employed as a sales/F&I person for a manufactured housing dealer. He also has been a public school teacher. With his background and aptitude, he is well suited for the intangible selling in the F&I office.
Joe just recently came from the store’s sales department. He has a degree in finance and is an energetic and outgoing person with a willingness to learn. His background and limited experience make him an ideal candidate for F&I.
Sue, the most recent hire, came from an automotive dealership where she had some exposure to financing. The GSA consultant spent some time working with her on her presentation and introducing her to the menu system. She was not a willing participant in the training and was not receptive to changing her presentation style to the menu system. She also lacked basic understanding of all the F&I products. This situation was communicated to the sales manager and general manager.
The remaining two F&I team members, Fred and Joe, were shown the menu presentation method and structure. The correct way to present the menu was discussed and work tracks to overcome objections were provided. Once they had an understanding of how the menu presentation system worked, the consultant worked with them in role-play situations. Following each role-play, their presentations were debriefed. The positives and negatives were discussed openly and objectively and improvements were suggested.
The consultant observed several actual customer F&I closing situations with Joe and Fred. Once the customer had left, the F&I person was debriefed. Both of the team members were very open about the issues they had just faced and how best to handle those situations in the future. Although their product knowledge was less than ideal, they both appeared to pick up quickly on how to present the F&I product. The importance of following the “300 Percent Rule” was discussed: Offer 100 percent of the products to 100 percent of your customers, 100 percent of the time. Following this rule is essential to maximizing the results in the F&I department. They both seemed to grasp this concept quickly and the results showed in their subsequent presentations.
After the initial debriefing and role-playing they went on to finance 100 percent of their customers for an average PVS of $800. This was an increase of nearly $400 PVS for Joe! With proper re-enforcement, both Fred and Joe should meet or exceed the previous staff’s averages.

Gart Sutton has been a leading provider of on-site dealer consulting, dealer 20-groups, online financial composites, accounting rescue services, and OEM and dealership training solutions for nearly 30 years. For additional information on these services, visit

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