Rumors of the F&I Managers’ Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, from Driving Sales.
For several years there has been some banter concerning the demise of the F&I Manager position. A focus on the need to speed up the car-buying process and improve customer satisfaction will inevitably lead to the demise of this role in the dealership, or so it’s said. In the words of Mark Twain, I believe the rumors of the F&I Manager’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
The reality is the F&I Manager’s role is not a one-size-fits-all approach. In large dealerships, most sales departments have front-end gross and back-end gross, and a very clear definition of roles and goals for both. In mid- to small-size dealerships, it may make sense to combine roles and you can frequently find a sales manager working payment numbers and also selling service contracts and products. However, in these scenarios typically the contract and product gross is low.
The fact is there is a need for F&I products. Customers, whether they think they need or want them at the time, and regardless of how fast they want to get out of the dealership, really do need to have these products presented to them. Most customers will recognize and want the peace-of-mind that many of these products offer, if they are properly presented.
Instead of focusing on who should be doing the presenting, shouldn’t the focus be on the F&I presentation itself? Regardless of whether an F&I Manager or a salesperson is in this role, the need for that person to be properly trained and the appropriate technology to streamline the process are critical.