Fostering an F&I Culture That Sells

Dealership success hinges on the ability to cultivate a strong F&I culture.

Motorcycle and powersports dealers face a myriad of challenges in meeting the diverse needs and expectations of today’s customers. Beyond offering a wide range of high-quality motorcycles and powersports units, successful dealerships understand the pivotal role of finance and insurance (F&I) products in both enhancing profitability and ensuring customer satisfaction. This starts with building a solid F&I culture.

One of the primary benefits of robust F&I product options for dealers is the creation of additional revenue streams. F&I products, such as extended service contract plans, GAP insurance, and tire and wheel protection, all provide dealers with lucrative opportunities to boost their bottom line. These add-on products not only increase the overall transaction value but also contribute significantly to the dealership’s overall profitability.

It all starts with creating the right culture inside the dealership to foster an environment of profit potential, and choosing the right F&I service provider is central to the success of any dealership and its business. Selecting a service provider that understands the nuances of F&I culture is paramount. Dealerships should seek partners who not only guide them through the intricate F&I processes but also contribute to the development and reinforcement of the desired culture. A collaborative relationship with a service provider can significantly impact the successful integration of F&I practices within the dealership.

The Essence of Dealership Culture

The moment a customer walks into a dealership, that person should instantly recognize where he or she is and why he or she chose that specific establishment. The culture of a dealership plays a crucial role in shaping this experience. It goes beyond the F&I products and services offered; it encompasses the atmosphere, values and the overall vibe that sets the dealership apart. Customers are not merely making a purchase — they are seeking an experience, and the dealership’s culture is the driving force behind it.

F&I Culture: A Key to Success

As the industry continues to evolve, F&I has become an integral component of a dealership’s revenue stream. To thrive in 2024, dealerships must proactively cultivate an F&I culture that aligns with its overall mission and goals. This involves not only optimizing financial processes but also instilling a mindset among staff that recognizes the importance of F&I in the customer journey. It may take some time to incorporate changes within a dealership, but the benefit of doing so will pay off with increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Here are a few points to consider when building your F&I Culture Playbook:

  • Sell the fun! From the moment a customer walks through the door, it should be a life-changing experience. Establish a meet and greet, a tour of the dealership, and an introduction to service and F&I.
  • Communicating the “why” behind having an F&I culture within the dealership with all departments provides an understanding of any dealerships’ goals and will drive long-term success. Staff should understand the importance of how F&I products contribute to the overall profitability of the dealership and customer satisfaction. They should also understand how their role contributes to the success of the F&I department.

Training the Right Process Through Continuous Improvement

Dealers should also focus on offering continuous training and education for the staff. Employees should have a clear understanding of F&I products and the importance of compliance. The established F&I culture determines what products to sell, how to sell and who to sell, which are all based on the set goals of the dealership.

Furthermore, establishing sales processes to include F&I is certainly an integral part of a successful F&I culture, and it increases the opportunity to sell more products. Sales personnel should constantly plant the seed for F&I and gather information through customer interviews on the floor to identify F&I opportunities. Sales processes should also include strong service to sales practices that can increase unit and product sales as well as increased customer retention and CSI scores.

Lastly, the right F&I culture allows for accountability by establishing consistent processes, F&I best practices, oversight of performance targets and continuous feedback opportunities for management. Having performance-based pay plans drives success in achieving established F&I targets, and this also keeps the staff motivated for win-win-win outcomes.

Leading dealers will establish a culture of continuous improvement by regularly assessing F&I practices, obtaining feedback from customers and adapting strategies based on market trends. Flexibility and a willingness to evolve are also essential in today’s industry.

Dealership success hinges on the ability to cultivate a strong F&I culture. By carefully selecting service providers, setting clear goals, investing in training, improving communication, integrating technology and prioritizing continuous improvement, dealerships can build a playbook that ensures long-term success. The payoff for embracing and nurturing an F&I culture is not only increased revenue but also heightened customer satisfaction, creating a win-win scenario for both the dealership and its valued customers.

JD Baker is the vice president of sales, specialty for Protective Asset Protection.

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