The Science of the F&I Sale, Part 2

Taking a deeper look into the behavioral clues exhibited by consumers.

In last month’s article, we introduced the use of behavioral science in the sales environment. In part two, we will take a deeper look into the behavioral clues exhibited by consumers. These clues can be used to align our sales approach with their buying triggers.


There are two truths that make the science of behavior important to our business:

• People like people like themselves. 

• People buy from people they like.

Of the four major personality types, there is one clear standout among the pack. Science tells us that nearly 69 percent of the population has a high “S” or “steady” style. The S-style is characterized by possessing the following traits: 

• They seek acceptance but dislike insensitivity and impatience. 

• S-styles generally like to confer with others prior to making an impactful decision because they value peer group acceptance. 

• Purchase decisions are generally made with high regard for comfort and reliability. 

• Feelings are more important than logic. 

• They tend to be more passive in nature.


Now let’s compare this personality style to our normal sales staff hiring model.


We general look for a verbally persuasive individual because of their ability to influence others to their way of thinking. We target outgoing and optimistic personalities. This is called the “I” style personality.


A bigger personality equals better sales. Right? There is a general flaw in this basic thinking. S-style people do not like people who seem pushy, overly aggressive or demanding. The I-style is looking for an outward response to their persuasion, but S-style personalities can be extremely inexpressive. This usually prompts the I-style salesmen to push harder and the S-style consumer to increasingly withdraw. S-style personalities can view I-styles as egotistical or superficial, but often the relationship will look good on the surface. S-styles are actually extremely attracted to F&I products that mitigate risk. Based on mathematical logic, we should expect nearly 70 percent penetration on products such as vehicle service contracts. So, why isn’t this the case?


I contend we likely talk our way out of more sales than we talk our client into. The modern sales approach is more comparable to chess than tug-o-war. We need to make small moves and watch the consumer’s reaction. We then play our next move according to the theme and rhythm established by the consumer. We must train our staff to recognize and adapt to the consumer’s style in order to maximize opportunity.


The reason we emphasize so much importance on the greet and probe segment of the sale is to allow the consumer to express themselves. The client interview should occur out of the office, well before the contracts come out. During this time, you should be asking questions and being very perceptive to the responses. I mean really listen, watch and react to the consumer’s rate of speech, choice of words, body language and overall theme. The objective is to truly understand your client before you start making statements about what you have to offer. Well-trained sales pros will use the client’s behavior style when presenting an F&I solution.


We will be uncovering more behavioral science selling principles over the next few issues. 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.” MPN

RPMOne is a leading provider of F&I products and dealer development services dedicated to serving the powersports market. Due to its comprehensive experience with dealerships, lenders and insurance companies, RPMOne has created top-tier F&I programs, web-based tools, training programs, and sales and marketing systems to meet the unique demands of the industry. RPMOne’s mission is to increase client profit to its fullest potential.

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