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10 Tips to Being a Successful F&I Manager

Successful F&I managers know that they can always make improvements and constantly look for ways to become more efficient and effective. They know that every failure is an opportunity to learn how to succeed and they will learn from every interaction they have with a customer. The most successful F&I managers have a lot in common with each other, and these tips will help you step up your game and become the best manager possible.

Have Fun at Work

People feel much more comfortable interacting with you if you are in a good mood. They will be more compelled to trust you and agree with you if you can make them laugh and find common ground. If you are bored, stressed, or frustrated, this will come through in your body language and facial expressions. Find ways to make your work fun not only for you, but for your customers, and you will notice the difference in your closing rate.

Recognize the Talent Around You

It is easy for pride to take hold when you meet a problem or challenge that is beyond your skills or knowledge. What can really help you is to utilize the talent that you have on your team and lean on other peoples’ strengths. Do not be afraid to take advice from other people or to look at a situation from someone else’s vantage point. One of your team members could present a ground-breaking idea that will transform your way of doing business in the future.

Help Others Succeed in Their Roles

When representatives are at odds with one another, it can have a negative impact on sales in general. If your sales representatives do not have the tools needed to generate leads and sales, you will have fewer opportunities for yourself. Lending a hand to other people on your team and showing those people that you want them to succeed will ultimately generate good karma for you over the long haul. Remember that if you help someone else make sales, it will generate sales for you as well.

Strive to Improve Regardless of Your Success

Successful F&I managers know that they can always do better, and they hold themselves accountable. Even when they had an easy close, they look over the paperwork at the end and run through the encounter in their mind to determine if there was something they could have done differently. Since no F&I manager has a 100% close rate, every single manager can improve. The effective ones know this and place a priority on personal development and learning.

Stay Positive Even When Times are Tough

If you are too aggressive with a customer, that person will feel the desperation in your tone and words. Some F&I managers may find themselves in a rut and then try to climb out of it by trying too hard with the customers they have. Successful F&I managers know that they will encounter slow sales periods, and they recognize that coming booms will right the ship for them. As long as you do not panic and simply remain positive and calm, the sales will follow.

Focus Less on Yourself

As stated above, the success of others will contribute to your own. If you ignore the needs of others on your team and always place your own success ahead of theirs, it will bring down morale. If you do not make a point of helping your sales representatives, they will leave you for greener pastures. You need to recognize the value of your team and place other people ahead of you to guarantee you will have a steady flow of opportunities for everyone.

Customers are keen to detect a greedy F&I manager as well. If you are focused on what you have to gain from each sale rather than sending the customer home happy, it will be noticed. This can result in lost sales, negative reviews, and fewer opportunities in the future if those customers tell their friends and families about a poor experience with your store.

Take Care of Your Office Staff

Accounting is an under-appreciated department at an automotive dealership. However, the people who work in accounting are also very crucial to your own success. Going the extra mile with them to make them feel appreciated will pay dividends. Making sure to be thankful is a good step, but consider ways to make their lives easier. Giving them rewards for good work, buying them lunch, and finding ways to recognize their achievements will make their lives easier, making yours easier in return.

Be Proud of What You Do

Innovations in technology and increased competition have transformed the automotive industry. Regardless of the opinions people have about car sales, things have changed over the last decade. Many of those changes have benefited employees and the customers that you serve. Promoting what you do is important to your success, so find ways to interact with the community.

Determine What You are Working For

Everyone has something that drives them. Successful F&I managers know that they are working for something. It could be that you want to provide a stable and secure life for your family, that you want to be able to afford to see the world, or that you have a charitable cause you want to get behind. Know what it is that you want to achieve and set goals for yourself so that you are driven to succeed.

Don’t Treat Working as Just a Job

You go to work every day with the same purpose in mind, but you shouldn’t just be working for the sake of work. F&I should be more than work and should be something that you enjoy doing. Dedicate yourself to what it is that you do for your team and customers, and you will find that your drive to be good at what you do alone is fueling improvements in your performance.

Want to Become an F&I Manager? Learn More About Our Training Program

People come to the Automotive Dealership Institute from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter whether you have any experience in the auto industry or not. As long as you have a good attitude, work well with people, and a drive to learn and improve, you can be a successful F&I manager. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call today at 877-998-7200 to learn more about our training program.

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Automotive F&I Manager?

F&I stands for finance and insurance in the automotive industry. F&I managers usually work in a dealership’s F&I department (also sometimes referred to as a business office). It is through the F&I department that vehicle loans along with any optional financial or insurance add-ons are marketed to the dealership’s customers. Keep reading to learn more about the role of a dealership’s F&I department and the roles that an F&I manager plays in the dealership’s success.

How Important Is the F&I Department?

Without an F&I department or F&I manager, many auto lots and dealerships wouldn’t be successful. Just because someone agrees to buy a vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean they can pay the full asking price before driving the car off the lot. Because of this, and to protect the dealership’s best interest while also increasing incoming revenue, many auto lots offer financing resources; this financing often comes through third parties, such as banks and auto loan lenders. When dealerships connect customers with these banks and loan lenders, it becomes much more likely for a completed sale to take place. Ultimately, by offering F&I services, the dealership’s best interest is protected thanks to banks and auto lenders covering the cost of a purchased vehicle while still taking on the risk of not receiving the loan paid in full by the loan holder.

The success of most automotive dealerships depends on the F&I department and its managers. 

As the automotive dealership industry continues to evolve, so has the role of F&I managers. The sole responsibility of the F&I manager is to protect a dealer from financial harm when selling new or used inventory. To ensure this goal is met, the F&I manager must establish a vast network of financial resources that the dealership can tap into to help customers buy the vehicles they want. The F&I manager does much more than help secure financing resources for the dealer. He or she also leverages tactics to sell optional protective options to customers as a way to establish additional income streams for the dealer.

What Do Dealers Look for in F&I Managers?

It requires a vast knowledgebase of various roles to succeed in the primary role of an F&I manager. Many dealers require F&I managers to have at least two years of experience in automotive sales along with certification from an F&I training program. Most dealers also mandate F&I managers to have significant experience in managerial roles; however, some dealers do prefer filling F&I positions with someone who has no prior managerial experience but is ready to accept such a role. Two of the most pertinent skills needed for an F&I manager to be successful are clear communication and advanced organizational capabilities.

What Is the Most Important Skill Needed By an F&I Manager?

Dealers don’t want to hire F&I managers that they can’t trust. This is why honesty and integrity are cornerstones of the value of F&I managers. The tasks that F&I managers perform to be incredibly extensive and particularly demanding. With the overall purpose being to protect the dealership, including its owners, from any legal issues, the role of the F&I manager becomes all the more important. To do this, F&I managers must always make sure that the customers and financial entities they work with are really who they claim to be.

If an F&I cannot clearly communicate with customers in such a way that they understand each and every detail of the contracts they sign with the dealer or financing agency, then a dealer will likely lose out on sales as well as face a higher risk of financial loss.

Regular Job Duties of an F&I Manager

Most F&I managers spend their time performing multiple tasks throughout the workday. Much time is typically spend providing thorough explanations to customers regarding the protection programs offered by the dealer (these programs are usually offered through vehicle service contracts). There’s also a lot of time explaining to customers what the APR and any finance charges will be if the customer qualifies for a loan. Very crucial to the manager’s role is the discussion of any disclosures that exist in the contract being signed by the dealer and customer and any involved financial entities.

When not interacting with customers, F&I managers spend their time building and maintaining relationships with various lending institutions and insurance vendors. These managers also take on the responsibility of creating and providing training to the sales team regarding the available lease and finance programs that can be mentioned when selling to a customer.

Also performed by the F&I manager is the task of making sure each and every sale is processed accurately. This requires F&I managers to study and stay up to date on the latest technology and security practices used when processing a deal.

How to Become an F&I Manager?

To become an F&I manager, a person can greatly benefit from going to college and earning a business degree. However, many dealerships don’t necessarily require a formal degree. Instead, they want to see managerial experience and impeccable interpersonal and communication skills in the F&I managers they choose to hire. Because F&I managers have to interact with numerous parties on any given workday, they must exhibit superior and first-class customer service at all times. The dealer’s reputation is often determined by the role of the F&I manager. After all, it’s this manager who interacts with every party involved in a sale.

Do Dealers Train Their F&I Managers?

Ideally, dealerships should hire F&I managers with prior experience in the automotive dealership industry, but no experience isn’t always required. In fact, a lot of dealers prefer to hire F&I managers who have no prior experience. Why? Because this allows them to train the F&I managers according to the dealer’s unique and precise needs.

If you’re thinking about becoming an F&I manager, makes sure to check out the various degree and certification programs available. The more experience you have in F&I, the better as this allows you to expand your ability to offer dealers and customers the best service and options possible, which is a win-win for everyone.