Get to Know Car Dealership F&I Customers

Whether F&I managers use a paper or electronic menu of aftermarket products and services, the process is the same.

Steve Finlay, Contributing Editor

July 1, 2020

1 Min Read
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It’s about a 50-50 split between dealerships that use electronic menus and those who use paper versions, according to a webinar poll of participants.

At the supermarket, it’s paper or plastic. At the dealership F&I office, it’s paper menu or digital menu. Take your pick. But the fundamentals behind either are the same, especially when it comes to a personalized presentation.

During a National Automobile Dealers Assn. webinar entitled “The Modern F&I Office,” attendees were electronically polled as to whether their dealerships use a paper or electronic menu of products and services during F&I sales presentations.

The results were about a 50-50 split, with digital getting a slight edge.

Either way, F&I managers should tailor their presentations to individual customers, says product marketer Jason Swiech of CDK, a dealership information technology provider.   

“What does it mean to personalize?” he says during the webinar. “It is getting to know the customer from the beginning, and use that information from the interview process to order your presentation.”

Other ways to learn about customer preferences is to scrutinize their buying histories (i.e. whether they’ve opted for extended service agreements in the past) or look at purchase patterns of people like them, Swiech says.

Many trainers urge F&I managers to introduce themselves to customers on the showroom floor – prior to the F&I office visit – and ask qualifying questions, such as how many miles a year they typically drive,  

Effective F&I managers then order their presentations based on what the customer  told them earlier, Swiech says. “If customers tell a salesman they’re interested in this but not that, don’t show what they aren’t interested in first, and what they are interested in last.”       

A goal of personalized presentations is to make it relevant, he says. Another is to “make it easy.”

About the Author(s)

Steve Finlay

Contributing Editor, WardsAuto

Steven Finlay is a former longtime editor for WardsAuto. He writes about a range of topics including automotive dealers and issues that impact their business.

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