Sunday, July 01, 2007

F&I Express-Station#7 Documentation:

Tickets Please!

Now that we have the customer’s commitment on the protection they wish to include in the financing, a sale would not be a sale without documentation of the decision.

FIRST VISIT: Present all the items that must be added to the vehicle prior to delivery

If you closed the customer on all the items that must be added to the vehicle prior to delivery, such as protective coatings, a security system, then the associated charges for those items will already be included in the amount to finance. You already obtained a credit application; at this point, the purchase order and policies for the protective coating will need to be completed, if this has not yet been done earlier.

Here is a recommended checklist to complete during the first visit:

• Document receipt of deposit payment
• Complete the credit application
• Obtain copy of driver’s license
• Complete the purchase order
• Complete the due bill
• Complete the policies for protective coatings
• Complete the physical insurance quote
• Document any security systems to be installed
• Set date and time for delivery (set on the 7 minutes, i.e., : 9:07 a.m., 10:17 a.m., 11:47 a.m., etc.)

Setting the delivery time on odd minutes will assist the customer in being on time. Also, this conveys the perception that your delivery time is scheduled to the nano-second because of how busy your dealership can be. You’re letting the customer know, don’t be late, or you may have to wait until “who knows when”. Studies have shown that when an appointment is set on the hour or half hour, people are usually late for the appointment.

What happens when a customer is late for delivery? They are late for the orientation, and this may cause a technician to go into overtime. People get frustrated and possibly shortcut the prescribed process. Set your appointment on the odd minutes. You’ll find that your customers will become more punctual.

I recommend the first document printed be the purchase order. After disclosing this document and collecting the agreed-upon deposit, the remainder of the documentation process moves quickly. If there are any questions on the numbers, it will surface quickly, and a resolution can be found without a reduction in gross profit.


After the customer has left the dealership, the F&I professional will submit the credit application to the lenders via a computerized system. Using technology will enable the professional to obtain a credit decision in the most efficient manner. If you do not have access to any of the web-based processing vehicles, then you are behind the times. Get caught up, get access to the web, and get high speed!

Within minutes, the F&I professional will receive the first credit decision from the web-based platforms. He or she will either receive notice that the deal has been approved, notice of a counter, or denied. Just because the deal or structure has been denied does not mean you should give up. Indeed call the lender and ask how else you can make a deal. Put together a game plan and then work the plan. The mission is to secure the sale and protect the front-end gross profit.


Hopefully, the customer will arrive at the dealership on time. The customer must be greeted by the salesperson. Remember that some time has elapsed between the buying decision and the delivery. The salesperson needs take the customer to the vehicle in order to verify that everything that should have been added to the vehicle was in fact done to the customer’s satisfaction.

After the customer and the sales consultant complete this process, the sales consultant should say, “While the technician prepares to complete your orientation, let’s finish up the financial paperwork in the finance center.” The sales consultant and the customer should then go to the F&I office to take care of this part of the transaction.

The F&I professional will now have his or her second chance at closing the customer on protective coatings, security systems, and/or GPS tracking items.

The presenter should begin the second part of the presentation by focusing on insurance-related policies such as service contracts and tire and rim coverage. This should be followed by equity protection consisting of GAP and then by credit insurance if the dealership is licensed to sell credit insurance.


The installment contract should be in the printer, ready to be printed as soon as you and the customer agree on a payment plan. This contract should be the first document that the customer signs. Make sure to complete the full disclosure. I recommend that the customer sign his or her initials next to each section that details every additional purchase, to ensure that the dealership has a record of the customer’s acknowledgement of every itemized charge. I also advocate having the customer sign their copy of the installment contract separate from the other copies, in original ink.


Think loan documents followed by policies, then internal forms such as “Due Bills”. If nothing further is owed the customer, then the “Due Bill” should include a statement such as, vehicle is sold as equipped, and no additional items or work have been either promised or implied.

Next on the “paperwork agenda” is documentation for the Department of Motor Vehicles. I suggest completing the trade documents first, and then finish up with the title work on the sold unit. F&I is an office of paperwork. Documentation of the sale will declare the dealership either guilty or innocent in the courtroom. Paperwork must be completed accurately and in a timely manner.

Many F&I managers ask me why I prefer to complete the installment contract first. My answer is simple: After the presentation, negotiations, and commitment on a payment plan, the only number that is critical to the customer is the payment amount. I want the customer to see, realize, and pay attention to all of the figures that make up the payment. I want full customer participation during the disclosure.

Customers only give us 20 minutes of undivided attention during any F&I transaction. If you do not disclose the installment contract first,, then I encourage you to give this a try. After the customer signs the contract, the rest of the paperwork will move quickly. Spend as much time as needed in disclosing the contract. The rest will be easy.

Finally, prior to the sales consultant walking the customer back to the technician for the orientation, review the checklist. Verify that all of the necessary documents have been printed and that you have obtained all of the required signatures. If you need a checklist, send me e-mail. I’ll be happy to provide you with one as a PDF.

RV Executive Today, July 2007, P. 31-32