Sci-F&I Part 3: Practical Applications

In last month’s article, we discussed some of the facts regarding the S-style (steady) personality, which represents 69 percent of the population. Consider that number for a minute. That’s more than two out of every three of your customers who sits down at your desk to buy a vehicle! Let’s spend some more time discussing how to effectively and profitably deal with this vast majority of your customers.


Let’s look at how our F&I process could be structured to maximize the S-style personalities by first considering the following characteristics of this personality type.


The S-style prefers to complete one project at a time and is resistant to change. Therefore, during the F&I process, it’s important to fully explain what will happen during the F&I process and what you, the F&I person, will be doing for the customer during this phase of the sale. The responsibilities of processing paperwork, taking care of the funding and trying to make it go smoothly and efficiently are important to mention when explaining your duties to the customer. They won’t resist if you do a good job of explaining the project ahead. The S-style loves it when you give them a clear understanding of the procedure and their role in it.


The S-style also loves it when you show genuine interest in them as a person. This is why the interview is so critical. This is your chance to make them believe you care about them by learning more about them. This is the magic element for selling to the S-style later when we pull out the menu and explain why “this is the package we think is best for you, Mr. Customer.”


The S-style is a good listener, patient and empathetic, so when the process is explained at the onset of the customer interview, this personality understands the need for you to be thorough in reviewing the paperwork, and  the options they qualify for.


The S-style holds a grudge, so don’t set unrealistic expectations. Let them know during the interview that you will make this phase go as quickly as you can, but that it does take some time to get everything together. Above all else, don’t make a promise of time or service that you can’t deliver on.


The S-style is motivated by safety and security, so emphasize these. Paint the picture of “what happens if…” when the customer resists the products.


The S-style’s ideal environment includes stability and predictability, so the benefits of products like Priority (prepaid) Maintenance programs are perfectly suited to this personality style.


The S-style is less likely to express emotion, so don’t take a lack of expressed interest as a sign that they aren’t interested in the value of the products.


The S-style’s greatest fear is loss of security, so they’re the most likely to buy F&I products.

 Once again, there are two truths that make the science of behavior important to our business:

1. People like people like themselves. 

2. People buy from people they like.

Considering these truths, our challenge is to change our behavior to fit the requirements of the person sitting across the desk from us, even if we are nothing alike. That’s not an easy thing to do. You have to learn to be a chameleon if you want to be a top performer in this position. You can develop a work persona that’s totally different from the real you. A salesperson and an actor aren’t too far apart from one another.


And again, the practical application of these principles starts with a good customer interview at the onset of the process. It’s where you get to read the customer and gather information to use to sell them something later … they should never see you coming. 


The takeaway from this series should be that people knowledge trumps product knowledge any day of the week. Give your sales and F&I staff an education in relationships if you want to significantly grow your business.


Amateurs train until they get it right.


Professionals train until they cannot get it wrong.  

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