Nov. 10, 2008: Boosting store revenue by bringing F&I in-house

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 store began as a single-line store in the 1980s. They moved to a high-traffic highway location in 2001. Since then, they have added several major product lines. They are located in a rural town with a population of 17,000. They are 60 miles from a major city. The bulk of their sales are in ATVs and UTVs. Their current volume is around 400 units, but the store has done close to 600 in the past. The store changed ownership last year.
In the first part of the series on this dealership, GSA consultants provided an analysis of the operation. For this second part, consultants reported on the sales and F&I departments.
The general manager has been involved in the powersports business for many years and has worked in nearly every dealership position. He is also functioning as the sales manager. It is unlikely that he can continue to do both jobs in the long run. They will have to move the sales manager duties to another person as they grow.
The general manager was encouraged to attend GSA’s F&I Certification training since this is a necessary skill for this management position. He can train others once he has the basic tools and knowledge.
There is no F&I person at this time. The general manager does some F&I work, but most customers are turned over to an outside supplier who works with them over the phone and through a computer monitor. This reduces product penetration and conversions because of a lack of face-to-face selling, and reduces the revenue they receive. They were encouraged to fill an in-house F&I slot as soon as possible.
Sales are being handled primarily by the general manager, another salesperson and the owner. The general manager is the only one following a sales process. Providing sales training and coaching will increase closing ratios and customer satisfaction. GSA recommended sales process training for the entire dealership staff.
Sales has been receiving discounts on P&A and labor so its true profitability could not be determined. Discounts should be removed between all departments to allow for accurate comparisons with industry benchmarks.
They make excellent margins on preowned unit sales. Growing this area of the business will provide more opportunities for add-on sales of P&A and F&I as well as increased unit profits.
There is no showroom log in place and customer information is infrequently captured. No prospecting process or goals for prospect calls or kept appointments exist. Establishing a prospecting process will accelerate floor traffic and sales opportunities. They have installed a door counter. The log and door counter information will help measure the success of their advertising and prospecting activities.
During peak periods, customers rarely have the opportunity to purchase P&A at the point-of-sale. All effort should be made to ensure that this occurs. A Riding Gear Checklist was provided to assist them with key word tracks for selling P&A to new unit purchasers.
The general manager should endeavor to develop realistic monthly sales goals for individual salespeople. Goal-setting is an important aspect of every department, particularly if incentives are provided to improve performance.
Action Items

  • Begin using prospect forms and/or showroom log to track all contacts.
  • Develop and maintain a prospecting process. If salespeople are not face-to-face with a customer, they should be on the phone with prospects.
  • Continue to provide sales training, coaching and counseling to sales staff.
  • Monitor door counts and prospect contacts. Track and measure closing ratios.
  • Ensure customers have the opportunity to purchase PG&A at the time of the unit sale.
  • Ensure 100 percent of customers are turned over to F&I.
  • Put all processes in writing.
  • Present privacy policy documents to buyers.
  • Provide F&I training for the general manager. Bring as much of this business in-house as possible.
  • Lock up all nonpublic documents whenever staff is not present to monitor access.
  • Attempt cash conversions to dealership financing whenever possible. This will increase sales of F&I and P&A products as well as increase participation paid.
  • Utilize a closed office for F&I sales (including outsourced business) to ensure consumer privacy.

    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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