Great Jobs and Skills That Transition into F&I Management

A job in finance and insurance management offers many advantages, including excellent employment opportunities across the nation, a lucrative salary, job security and much more. Although anyone can pursue a career in this field, possessing certain skills or having a background working in certain fields will make it easier for you to make the transition.

F&I Management Basics

F&I managers serve a distinct and important purpose within an auto dealership. As an F&I manager, you will be responsible for helping each customer obtain the financing needed to purchase a vehicle. You will also complete all the required documentation, and you will help with insurance needs. In addition, F&I managers promote and sell some of the dealership’s most lucrative products, including extended service contracts and other vehicle purchase add-ons.

Working as an F&I manager requires a wide variety of skills. Although you can learn many of these skills in an F&I management training program, having certain characteristics will make it much easier for you to adapt to your role.

Skills and Experience You Need for F&I Management

Some of the skills that will help you to be successful as an F&I manager include:

1. Experience with sales.

One of your primary responsibilities as an F&I manager is to sell the products your dealership offers. The more effectively you can sell these products, the more success you will enjoy as an F&I manager. In addition, because most dealerships will base your pay at least in part on commission, being a capable salesperson will increase your earnings.

While some people are naturally more persuasive and adept at sales, others will need to learn this skill and improve it over time. Having experience in a sales position and/or a natural affinity for sales can help you transition into a career as an F&I manager with less effort.

2. Customer service skills.

As an F&I manager, you will spend a large portion of your day interacting with customers. Understanding how to provide excellent customer service will make you much more effective in your job. If you have had any experience in a customer service role in the past, you will be able to translate these experiences into your new career.

3. Interpersonal skills.

As you are looking for financing, completing paperwork and discussing extra products, you will be working closely with customers. To build strong relationships with each customer, you will need superior interpersonal skills. Some people have these skills from birth, while others build them as they work in customer service positions. If you are someone who already possesses good interpersonal skills, you may have an easier time transitioning into a job in F&I management.

4. Finance and accounting skills.

As an F&I manager, you will be responsible for making a number of important calculations for each of your customers, including loan payment amounts, the cost of vehicle add-ons and more. These aspects of your job will be much easier if you already possess some talent and/or interest in mathematics.

5. Technology skills.

Modern F&I managers need to be able to use a variety of software programs and other tools to do their work on a daily basis. If you have experience using technology, adapting to this part of your job will be simpler. However, it is always possible to learn these skills even if you don’t have any experience with technology.

6. A strong work ethic.

A job in F&I management can be both rewarding and lucrative, but it requires a consistent effort and a strong commitment to your employer and your customers. If you have a solid work ethic, you are more likely to be successful when you begin work as an F&I manager.

Building the Skills You Need

Although possessing some of the skills and experience above can go a long way towards preparing you for a career in F&I management, there is no substitute for the knowledge and skills you can build when you attend a licensed training program. When you attend a training program, you will learn:

  • The basics of auto financing and loan approval.
  • How credit scores and reports work and how they are used to make financing decisions.
  • Skills needed to use appropriate technologies efficiently.
  • Math skills.
  • Interpersonal and relationship-building skills.
  • Sales skills.

The best F&I management training programs will not only require you to spend time learning the skill sets you need, but they will also give you the opportunity to practice your skills in a realistic environment so you can be well-prepared for your job.

F&I Management Training at Automotive Dealership Institute

Automotive Dealership Institute has been the nation’s only licensed Finance and Insurance Trade School for over 30 years. With our program, you can build all of the skills you need to be successful in an F&I management career. Although having certain background experience or personal characteristics can help you in this transition, our institution is proud to accept students from all walks of life.

When you choose to study F&I management with ADI, you can complete your entire program in as little as four weeks. ADI offers both in-classroom training and an online training option to meet the needs of different students. In addition, our institution offers job placement assistance across all 50 states. Our graduates benefit from an over 90 percent job placement success rate within the first 90 days after graduation. Specialized financing assistance is available for U.S. veterans.

If you are interested in a career as an F&I manager, the first step is to get the training you need. Whether you have a background in sales and an affinity for customer service or you are just entering the field, you can be successful as an F&I manager with the help of ADI’s training program. Please contact Automotive Dealership Institute today to learn more or to enroll in a program.

The Ever Changing Role of F&I Managers

Just like most jobs, the position of F&I manager is evolving and changing over time. To be successful in this industry, it is important for prospective and current F&I managers to stay up-to-date on all of the latest developments.

The History of the F&I Department

In the past, there was very little contact between auto finance companies and customers before they came to the dealership to make a purchase. Most research was done from home, and the information and resources available were limited. As a result, customers were required to go in person to the dealership to find out how much they could afford to borrow, what their interest rate would be and other important facts related to financing. Because of this dynamic, the F&I department played a huge and essential role in every financed auto purchase.

The Effects of Technology

Because of the evolution of technology, consumers have access to a lot more information at home than they once did. In fact, a customer planning to purchase an automobile now has the ability to apply for and secure a loan before ever coming to the dealership. As a result of these developments, some industry experts have tried to claim that the F&I department is on its way out. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Even with the emergence of new technologies, the F&I department is still playing an important part in the dealership’s functioning. Although some consumers research loans at home, many customers still prefer to work with a human being when looking for the right financing option. In addition, the F&I department has other responsibilities in addition to financing. For most dealerships, it is the F&I department that brings in much of the company’s revenue through the sale of optional products, such as extended service contracts. Without this revenue, the dealership could not be as profitable.

Adapting to a Changing Landscape

Technology is not the only change in the F&I world. In addition to dealing with this issue, F&I managers are now facing a greater responsibility for compliance with regulations from key government bodies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. Furthermore, to combat burnout among F&I personnel, some dealerships are now instituting altered pay structures that include a combination of salary and commission, as opposed to commission only.

F&I managers need to be prepared to adapt to this changing industry in order to be as successful as possible, both for the sake of themselves and their employers.

To be successful as an F&I manager in a changing world, one must keep the following in mind:

1. Understand the importance of technology.

When working as an F&I manager, you need to be aware of the way technology now impacts your job. Many customers will come into your office with concrete ideas about how much their payment should be based on the math they have already done with their smartphones. When your quotes are not the same, customers are sure to become suspicious.

To maintain rapport with customers, you need to be aware of this issue. Get to know the resources available to your customers, and be prepared to provide an explanation when you know your quotes are not going to match their research.

2. Understand the products and services you promote.

Customers have more knowledge at their fingertips than ever before. If you don’t understand the products and services you are trying to sell, your customers will be able to tell. Become as knowledgeable as possible so you can relate to your customers effectively. If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, be honest and do your best to get the information requested as quickly as possible.

3. Know the law.

As an F&I manager, it is your responsibility to maintain compliance with relevant laws. Know the requirements of these laws so you can keep your dealership compliant at all times.

4. Be ready for more changes.

Just as recent changes have impacted the F&I industry, more changes are likely to occur in the future. As an F&I manager, you need to be continuously on the lookout for any changes that will have an effect on your customers and your job. When new technologies appear, be proactive about learning how to use them. Always be ready to adapt and grow.

Preparing for an F&I Career

It is more important than ever before for anyone who wants a career in this field to be properly prepared before beginning his or her first job.

If you are thinking about beginning a career as an F&I manager, the best thing you can do to ensure your success is to get the proper training. As an F&I manager, you will have a range of responsibilities, from helping customers get the financing they need to selling optional products on behalf of your dealership. In order to perform your job properly, you will need the right information and skills.

Automotive Dealership Institute has been the only licensed F&I training school in the nation for the last three decades. Our F&I training program will teach you everything you need to know to be successful in the field. Contact us today to speak with one of our helpful advisors and to learn more about enrolling.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best F&I Training Program

When it comes to finding a lucrative, exciting field to join for a new career, the F&I industry offers something for everyone. Trained, successful professionals in the field can see a salary over $100,000 on average. Those who work in the field also get to employ a variety of skills and techniques in their jobs. Combining a love of numbers, computers, cars, and sales strategies, the professionals in this field have the chance to pursue their passions. Those who work in the industry know that no two days are exactly alike when working in the finance department of a car dealership.

The excitement of the field also means that those considering beginning this type of career want to carefully consider where they get their education. Those entering the F&I career path need to have a variety of skills and background knowledge before they can serve their car dealerships well. Car dealerships rely on the deals and loans organized by the F&I professional to help the dealership make money while also making their customers happy. The importance of the position means that those preparing to enter a training program will want to think carefully about what F&I educational program will work best for them.

A quick Google search will likely turn up a few different options, leaving prospective students wondering how they should evaluate their options and determine the best educational experience for them. Here are 5 criteria that we think all prospective F&I students should consider when selecting the institution that will give them the best education and the best shot at having a highly successful career in F&I.

Where are the classrooms located and how is the training conducted?

The F&I industry, as already mentioned, requires a lot of background knowledge. Professionals must understand a considerable amount when it comes to the loan industry and banking. They must know how to interpret a credit score report as well as how to construct loans that will appeal to the customer while also generating revenue for the dealership.

Additionally, professionals in this field must also consider their sales strategies. They will need to work together with the sales teams to promote products to customers, including helping them understand why particular deals, packages, and upgrades will benefit them. This involves a keen understanding of what customers want to see.

Students should look for a school that offers real classrooms and an opportunity to learn. Online classes or weekend seminars simply do not have the time or capacity to give students a thorough understanding of the field. Students will instead only receive a brief overview of the different important aspects of the industry. There will be few to no opportunities to actually work with F&I software to learn how to construct real deals. Experienced teaching staff who have worked in the field will be inaccessible. The knowledge imparted through a program like this will be minimal.

On the other hand, a reputable school like the Automotive Dealership Institute offers an intensive 4-week course taught in an actual classroom. At their fully-equipped campus in Scottsdale, Arizona, instruction comes from dedicated teachers who have a successful track record of helping countless other students learn the material and then find jobs in the field. Students have opportunities to work with the actual software they will use when they land their first F&I job. The rigorous exams they take throughout the program also ensure that they are able to retain and demonstrate the knowledge they gain as they go.

Students can be confident that when they finish their course at the Automotive Dealership Institute, they are well-prepared for the job.

What do past students say?

One of the best ways to evaluate the abilities of a particular school to adequately train F&I professionals is by looking at what past students say about the organization. A good school should have student assessments and reviews easily accessible. Prospective students should look to hear both from recent or current students as well as those who have attended in the past.

Do not only look at what these students say about the quality of the lectures or lessons. Students should also see if any of these students have actually gotten jobs in the industry and how they perform in those roles.

The Automotive Dealership Institute can offer prospective students countless testimonials about their program and the career success that their students have gone on to experience. With a job placement rate of over 90%, this school can also clearly demonstrate how the professionals here work to match students up with employers. The high job placement rate also indicates that car dealerships like to hire graduates from the Automotive Dealership Institute — they know they can trust the education the student received.

Does the school have any independent sources of content?

A school that students trust to educate them for an upcoming field should be able to demonstrate their credentials. They should have the knowledge and insight on the field that would lead to their publishing their own unique content.

A school that does not have any of its own copy-written material, particularly one that only uses public information or even training materials from other agencies, does not demonstrate that they can adequately prepare students to succeed.

The Automotive Dealership Institute, however, has literally ‘written the book’ when it comes to Auto Finance. Automotive Dealership Institute has even had their published materials included in the Library of Congress. In fact, many of the smaller F&I “schools” out there simply pull bits and pieces from ADI’s published materials.

Is the school listed and registered in each state’s Bureau for Private Post-secondary Education?

Each state tracks the schools and institutions that offer training or education for students. This system helps to protect students from unscrupulous institutions that try to trick students into paying them for education, but then offer very little substantial learning in return.

For a school to be listed with each state, it must prove to the state that it offers a quality level of education. The bureaus will look at factors such as the standards put forth by the institution and how the school handles complaints.

The Automotive Dealership Institute is registered with Arizona’s Bureau. In the 32 years that this school has worked to educate students in the F&I field, they have received excellent status with these bureaus.

How does job placement work following the completion of the course?

Completing the course is only the first step in this process. Students must also be able to find jobs in the field. They want to be able to put their education to use in this growing, exciting world of F&I.

Finding a job following the completion of a degree or certification is always a stressful process. There are many resumes to write and review as well as interviews to attend. Students often need guidance to successfully navigate these steps, particularly when it is their first time looking for employment in their new field.

However, remember that car dealerships count on these professionals to help them generate income for their dealership. They will, therefore, care tremendously about the training and expertise level of the professionals they hire to work in their finance department.

An F&I school that feels confident in the education they give and their ability to prepare students for their new jobs will also help them with the steps to find a job.

Therefore, students will want to see if the school offers any type of job placement assistance. Consider the type of help offered by the school. Compare that to the assistance you think you will need when you do complete your program and prepare to head out into the field.

If they do offer job placement assistance, look at their success rate. How many students are they able to secure jobs for following graduation and where are these jobs found? This will provide valuable information about the level of trust car dealerships have in the school and the level of investment the school has in the students they teach.

At the Automotive Dealership Institute, students have access to a highly supportive faculty ready to help them reach their goals. The school has placed students in dealerships across the country. They often have professionals in the industry come back to speak to students about work in the field. The students getting ready to apply for jobs, therefore, feel completely prepared to take those next steps.

When it comes to applying for jobs themselves, students can also turn to the helpful staff for help with their resume and guidance with interviews. This will help them get noticed during the application process and help them secure that desired job. This thorough process has led to this school boasting a consistent job placement rate of over 90 percent.

When it comes to finding a lucrative career path, entering the F&I industry can be a great place for people to get started. Taking the time to carefully evaluate possible school options can help students make the best possible decision and the wisest investment in their future. Consider the above criteria when making the decision for you.

Contact the helpful advisors at ADI today to learn more about their programs!