The most successful F&I managers all have one thing in common: Most have read "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Year after year it’s a must read book on most business lists and it was written by Dale Carnegie.
In fact, Warren Buffet took Dale Carnegie's course at age 20. But fortunately for us, the material Buffet learned in 1950 was repackaged into one of the best-selling books of all time — "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
Ask any successful person their favorite books, and many are bound to list this. And yes, I changed a few words (and added a few) around and made my own column title. I’m also not very politically correct but I really do have a lot more tact than my title suggests I have.
When I refer to credit criminals it’s not what you think ... not about the scammers stealing credit info online. I’m referring to working people that have marginal credit, bad credit, they got overextended, couldn’t pay their bills or don’t want to pay their bills. It doesn’t really matter to me what their excuse is but my job as an F&I manager is to figure out how to get them approved. There are tons of people out there with poor credit and typically it’s because “life happens.” It’s not up to us to judge but I wanted to share a common trait the top-producers in F&I have.
Here’s a common scenario that happens:
- Customer submits an Internet lead or sits down with a salesperson in a dealership.
- Customer fills out a credit application.
- Credit is pulled.
- F&I manager laughs and ridicules the low beacon score with salesperson and sales manager.
- Customer’s credit application is submitted to a lender, or five.
- Turn down comes back.
- Customer is told: “We can’t get you approved.”
- Customer leaves and never returns.
I think that anyone who wants to be a top-producer in any industry has to read this book and here is where it pertains to F&I. Some of the principles are:
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
I could go on and on with everything important about this book but it would take too much space for this blog. What I’m pointing out is that I just left another one of my F&I managers that used to ridicule his customers behind their backs (still does now and then) but he’s taken a genuine interest in counseling them about how they can repair their credit, come back in six months to a year and buy a new motorcycle.
This F&I manger, I’ll call him Dick, has marginal credit customers coming to see him every single time I’m in the dealership. Does he have slow months? Not really. He began to counsel his future customers a couple of years ago and now you’ll find him with a pretty steady pipeline of people, those who would’ve been referred to as “credit criminals” elsewhere, coming back to buy from him. And when they buy from his dealership guess what else they buy? They’ll take all of the protection that he offers them. Why? He showed a sincere interest in helping them out and he did help them out. Will they buy from anyone else now? Typically not.
I know that some of you will say that you don’t have time to do this ... and you may not, but only if you’re delivering 100 plus units per month. If you’re not doing 100+ units then trust me. You’ve got the time or you need to speed up your process.
Credit counseling isn’t just for the counseling companies out there. It’s part of being a top-producer in this profession. If you want more money and more success then read the book. Want some more help? Watch my video on credit counseling. Quit treating those with marginal credit as credit criminals and try to help them get back on track. There’s a big payoff once you’ve been doing it for six months or so.
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.