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image of person on computer for distance learning

The Benefits of Distance Learning For F & I Training in 2021

The entire world is learning to adjust to the global COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020. Many businesses and schools are shuttered and been moved online. Thanks to the advent of the Internet, many of us are still able to participate in learning and the workforce from the comfort of our own homes. We surely couldn’t have done this in the 90s. Shelter-in-place hasn’t been easy as we don’t have access to what we did before the pandemic. We miss dining out, going to concerts, having parties, and traveling, for example.

No one was prepared for the pandemic, and as a result, we have had to take some time to adjust to this “new normal”. At the Automotive Dealership Institute, we pride ourselves on not missing a beat. We’re still educating car salesmen all over the United States through our online program. We believe there are enormous benefits to online learning and for that reason, we’ve taken the time to compile a list of these benefits. Read on to learn more.

Flexibility: Learn Where and When You Want

No matter where you are, as long as you have an Internet connection, you can participate in online learning. This is fantastic because we live in a world that is constantly changing. Whether you like to wake up at the crack of dawn or stay up until the wee hours of the night, you set your own schedule and your own dress code. Participate in learning from the comfort of your own home, or when things reopen, go to a café or library to engage in learning. We’re sure you’ll really want to get out of the house as soon as you can!

Save Time: No More Commuting

The time it takes to commute to a training institute is better spent doing other things, like distance learning from home. You save an enormous amount of time by bypassing a brick and mortar institute for an online program that you can do at your convenience. No more commuting, parking, walking to the institute or stopping for gas on the way home. You set your own schedule, too, so there’s no rushing around like a maniac trying to make it to class on time. Online learning gives you more time and freedom to create a schedule that works for you, tweaking it as necessary. This is something you can’t do with in-person learning.

Gain More Retention: It’s a Fact

It’s proven that online learning provides more retention than a boring in-person lecture. Online learning is often filled with fun ways to prove a point, using videos, real-life scenarios, and more. Gaming is often a big component of eLearning, which makes learning fun and motivating. What’s more is when you’re tired and feel you’re not retaining anymore, you can stop and take a break or wait until the following day to resume.

Be Social: This is the Time

During shelter-in-place, people are finding creative ways to be social. An online learning community provides just that. Many of the curriculum developers for our F&I Training course provide ways for you to connect with other learners. This makes eLearning that much more fun and engaging. During this incredibly challenging time, many of us face insecurities, economically and socially. Isolation isn’t good for anyone and many of us are experiencing this at this time. To overcome feelings of isolation, it’s a good idea to socialize with others, even if it’s only online. This human contact can drastically improve a person’s mental outlook concerning the fallout from the pandemic, namely the lockdown.

Learn on the Go: It Couldn’t Be Easier

When you engage in eLearning, you can learn on the go. Listen to audio recordings in the car, prop up your mobile phone and listen to a lesson as you bake a cake, or relax on the couch with a new lesson instead of watching television. If you’re thinking you’re not great at multitasking, don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of learning on the go the more you do it. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and eLearning is something new you’ll have to adjust to if you’ve never done it before now.

Get Ahead of the Game

Right now, there isn’t much to do. We’re restricted in most cases when it comes to dining, entertainment, and traveling. Why not use this time to hit the ground running and get ahead of the game with an online F&I Training course in 2021, especially if you’re out of work or just looking for a new position. With this training course on your resume, you’re sure to impress the hiring manager and get offered a position or even a promotion.

Cost-Effective

Brick and mortar institutes of learning are simply more expensive than online schools. It costs a lot of money to run a campus and that cost is passed down to the students. Not only that, but print textbooks also cost a small fortune. Take these away and you are saving money by opting for eLearning over in-person learning since everything is done online. In some cases, such as at universities, there is a mixture of print and online learning materials, however, our course is done 100% online so there is no added cost for textbooks. Overall, the tuition for an online course is far cheaper than an in-person training program.

The pandemic will eventually end, and we’ll return to a new kind of normal. What will the world look like regarding this new normal? Masks, social distancing, and working from home may become our new norms. One thing is for certain, we can use this time to our advantage by enrolling in an F&I Training course with the Automotive Dealership Institute and reap all the benefits online learning provides. In fact, eLearning is now more popular than ever due to the pandemic, and users are starting to see all of its benefits as they continue to learn and grow.

F&I Manager Helping Car Sales during Covid

How Can F&I Help Support Successful Contactless Transactions?

Today, it’s more important than ever to help your customers feel safe when interacting with your business. That’s why contactless payments are rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, if you don’t offer this option to your customers, it could actually lead them to choose another company that does. This is important for all types of businesses, particularly automobile dealerships. Although many customers don’t necessarily pay via a credit or debit card, giving them the option of contactless payment is essential. The field of automotive finance and insurance is unique, but contactless payment options can still be a valuable asset. The following will show you how your finance and insurance department can make contactless transactions a successful commodity.

A Decline in Sales

Since the Covid-19 pandemic ground the economy practically to a halt, the automotive industry has seen a dramatic decline in automotive sales. There are many reasons for this, including the unwillingness of individuals to go out to interact with others, as well as job loss and other economic factors that made it difficult for individuals to even think about buying a new car. While 24 states allowed their dealerships to remain open, it created many challenges to try to keep the business afloat. About 23 states allow online or remote sales options, which have had a positive impact on car sales, but this is still only about half of the country. While contactless transactions may not be the wave of the future for the automotive industry, it’s evident they will be around for at least the near future as the country struggles to get the pandemic under control while maintaining the economy. Therefore, it’s a necessity for automotive dealerships to at least consider the option to give them a boost in their sales.

According to IHS Markit, the projected sales of cars around the world for 2020 is projected to be down 22 percent, selling just 70.3 million units in comparison to other years. They have projected car sales in the United States will fall overall to 26.6 percent, or about 12.5 million vehicles sold for the year. This is the lowest number since the previous market crash in 2010 where sales fell to just 11.6 million vehicles.

This Is Where F&I Can Step in with Contactless Transactions

One of the backbones of the automotive sales industry is the finance and insurance departments. These parts of a dealership ensure car buyers can get behind the wheel of the car they want for an affordable monthly price and they have the insurance needed to stay legal on the road. This is also where cash needs to change hands, which is why it’s essential for car dealerships to look into options for contactless payments. While many other industries entered the online marketplace years ago, car dealerships have had limited interactions with their customers through their websites. Auto dealership websites were typically places individuals could look at a dealer’s stock and decide which cars they were interested in before visiting the dealership. They still had to go in for a test drive and to file the paperwork for the required financing and insurance. This all needs to change given the current state of affairs in the country.

At the dealership, the main goal has always been to match car buyers with a vehicle that meets their needs and their budget. However, dealerships also have a reputation of hard selling or even upselling, which has sometimes left a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. The use of online sales can actually help overcome these perceptions, even if they didn’t apply to your dealership, even before the pandemic. Providing online access to calculators and financing options allows your buyers to not only find the vehicle they want to take home through your website, but also to complete many of the other necessary steps to complete the purchase. They can still be presented with all of the options, such as extended warranties, service contracts and more, all without the pressure they may feel if they’re sitting in the F&I office face-to-face with your professionals. It allows them to feel more in control. While they always could turn down these offer, it’s often more difficult to do so when you’re sitting in an office with a person.

With as many as 87% of car buyers feeling pressured at the car dealership, being able to offer these options online can be a valuable asset and can turn around this perception. This can turn into even more sales than you previously achieved, which will help give your auto dealership a much needed boost in a time when many industries are struggling to stay afloat and keep the economy running in a positive direction. Consumers won’t have to make an on-the-sport decision. They can research their options and take the time to select the ones they feel will be the most beneficial to not only their needs, but their budget as well. They will be much more likely to complete the sale when they feel more in control of the decision-making process.

Completing the Transaction Away from the Dealership

Another area where your finance and insurance department can truly shine is on the closing of the sale. How can you possibly complete a transaction like a car sale without in-person contact? While it’s true the consumer must still pick up the car or it needs to be delivered to their location, there are a lot of things your auto dealership can do to make this process fast and easy for your customers. With the ability to sign document digitally, consumers can now complete all of the paperwork they need to transfer ownership, register the vehicle, sign up for insurance and qualify for financing without having to leave their homes. Everything can be done through electronic forms with e-signatures that hold up legally just as well as signing a regular sheet of paper. Your staff will be able to review documents with consumers through an Internet connection and complete everything necessary to sign off on the sale without ever making physical contact with the buyer. However, you will need to take the time to set up a reliable, robust digital system to make it happen. Once that’s in place, the transaction process will become that much easier for everyone involved.

Even though this new normal is driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the implications and benefits of moving to a digital platform for contactless transactions can have long-term effects on your business. Even when things return to a semblance of the old normal, you will still be able to offer these options to make the car buying process less stressful and smoother for your customers, which can go a long way toward giving your auto dealership the boost it needs to be successful going into the future. Your F&I employees will continue to have options to work at home as needed and consumers will be able to purchase their next car without the stress of dealing with a salesperson in person. Even after people are more willing to head out and interact with others, it’s a valuable option many people will continue to use and rely on. Not only will it help set customers at ease and help them feel more in control of their car buying decisions, but it will also help build a new level of trust in your car dealership that will last a lifetime.

Times have changed and it’s important for all industries, particularly car dealerships, to embrace those changes and ensure consumers have their needs met in a way that’s convenient and safe for them. Contactless transactions are an important part of this process. Whether individuals are simply wary of the effects of the pandemic or they never felt comfortable sitting in the F&I office at a dealership to complete the car-buying process, everyone will gain the benefits of contactless transactions and a smoother way of buying their next new vehicle.