The responsibilities of an F&I Manager are extensive. In this position, you play an important role in the daily operations of your auto dealership. Although your position is rewarding, it can also be stressful. Maintaining good business office etiquette despite the stress not only improves your effectiveness as an F&I Manager, but it can also boost morale among coworkers to create a better overall office environment. Below are some tips to help you improve your etiquette in the office.
1. Stay organized.
Few things are more off-putting to customers and colleagues than a cluttered desk. Not only that, but when your workspace is disorganized, you are more likely to fall behind in your work, lose important documents and feel more tense on a daily basis. Avoid these problems by keeping your workspace as clean and organized as possible at all times.
2. Decorate appropriately.
There is nothing wrong with customizing your workspace. However, resist the urge to decorate your office in a way that would be offensive to clients and/or make you seem too carefree. Instead, choose tasteful minimalist decor that supports a professional work environment.
3. Have a strong knowledge of the software, presentation and processes.
The process of buying a car can be overwhelming for customers, even if they have purchased a vehicle in the past. As such, they rely on salespeople and F&I Managers to break down each step and provide the support they need to feel secure in their purchase. For this reason, it is essential for every F&I Manager to be comfortable with his or her job and the tools needed to complete it.
Before your first day in the office, make sure that you understand every phase of the process and that you are knowledgeable about the software you will need to use as you complete clients’ paperwork. You should also be ready to explain each phase of the process and present different products and services to the client clearly and concisely.
4. Don’t eat in front of clients.
As a busy F&I manager, the occasional working lunch or dinner is unavoidable. However, if you are going to eat at your desk, make sure that you are not eating in front of clients. Instead, have your meals outside of meeting times.
5. Be prompt.
Making customers or coworkers wait is highly unprofessional. Not only is it a waste of time for everyone involved, but it also sends the wrong message. When you have an appointment, do your best to keep it. If a customer needs to meet with you, take the meeting as soon as you are available.
6. Be courteous when interacting with customers.
When meeting with a customer, practice proper etiquette by introducing yourself, shaking the customer’s hand and explaining your role in the sales process. If possible, offer the customer a snack and/or a drink. If the customer has children, offer an activity to distract them, such as a coloring book or toy.
7. Don’t discuss controversial issues.
As you are progressing through the sales process, conversation is likely to stray off-topic from time to time. While it’s perfectly fine to discuss harmless subjects like the weather or the customer’s line of work, stay away from anything that could cause conflict. Examples of topics to avoid include religion, politics and anything else that may provoke a strong opinion.
8. Don’t be negative.
In some cases, it may be tempting to share some of your complaints about the state of the world or common issues with customers as a way of making a connection. However, making negative comments is generally considered unprofessional. Instead, try to remain positive and upbeat so that customers will be more likely to trust you with the important purchase they are about to make.
Working as a F&I Manager requires a distinct skill set and the right personality. Although some of these traits are inborn, others can be learned in the right environment. If you are considering a career as an F&I Manager, the best thing you can do to ensure your success is to spend some time in training.
The Automotive Dealership Institute has been the only licensed F&I trade school in the United States for the past three decades. Our institution can help you gain all of the knowledge and skills you need to succeed as an F&I Manager in any auto dealership. We can also help you learn how to practice good business etiquette at all times. Please contact us today to learn more about enrolling in our program.