Should we Outsource F&I Until the Economy Turns?
With the way that sales and lenders are dropping, I’m finding it difficult to keep the pocketbook of my dealership and business manager full. Would you advise that we outsource our F&I until the economy turns around? If not, what do you suggest as an alternative?
I realize that outsourcing the F&I process is always an alternative, although it is not something I would recommend. That is a discussion for another day.
Keeping your dealership and the business manager capitalized is dependent upon sales. F&I managers need deals, sales managers need deals, and sales consultants need deals. The F&I manager is a key position and should be able to earn their own way. It is a commission position, not a salaried position.
F&I manager should work in concert with the sales manager to make every deal possible. The F&I manager today needs to be flexible enough to fill in for the sales manager, to close a deal when needed and to possibly sell the unit. Be aware when you let go of a talented F&I professional, your dealership will suffer a severe brain drain in the management and income producing areas.
Be clear about your production expectations for the manager, provide the needed tools and processes, and monitor the results. Most will rise to the level of expectations. Economic down turns present dealers with an opportunity to reevaluate their staffing. The three “T”s rule comes to mind.
• Train them
• Transfer them
• Terminate them
When times are slow the professional uses the time to skill up – to practice, to follow-up on lost income opportunities. If your F&I team member does not wish to skill up, maybe there is another position in the dealership for them. If so, transfer them.
If education is not the answer, transferring them will not be the answer, then you are faced with option three, termination. Then you will have an opportunity to replace the manager with someone who does want to learn, and grow.
Are your sales consultants prospecting for business or are they showing up waiting for the next walk on to arrive? Perhaps the entire sales department could use some education. I just happen to know where you can call. (smile)
If you have questions for Jan, don’t hesitate to e-mail her at
RV Trade Digest January/February 2009