Let's Make an Electronic Deal

Electronic processes are finding their way into dealership finance and insurance offices, says Phillip Battista, a former dealer who now heads a technology firm. Consumers, who have become accustomed to signing electronic signature pads at retail stores, are doing the same thing at some time-conscious dealerships. It is part of a move towards electronic deal jackets. Without them, a deal can get mired

Electronic processes are finding their way into dealership finance and insurance offices, says Phillip Battista, a former dealer who now heads a technology firm.

Consumers, who have become accustomed to signing electronic signature pads at retail stores, are doing the same thing at some time-conscious dealerships.

It is part of a move towards electronic deal jackets. Without them, a deal can get mired in paperwork, becoming tedious and time-consuming for both the dealership and customer.

“Taking into account the length of time necessary for a dealership to complete the sale of a vehicle and the likelihood of inaccuracy inherent in that process, digitization is a natural fit in the F&I office, says Battista, co-CEO of MenuVantage, a firm that provides web-based menu selling systems.

Currently, large dealership groups are showing the most interest in such technology, he says.

Some technology companies have introduced products that have digitized one or more pieces of the dealership sales process. The advent of the electronic deal jacket has taken it to the next level, says Battista.

“Rather than addressing just one facet of the deal, this comprehensive new process digitizes it from start to finish,” he says.

Central to the electronic deal jacket is the real-time e-forms library. It has introduced a higher level of accuracy into the sales process.

“Dealerships can use the e-forms library to electronically assemble the latest versions of all of the forms necessary for a particular deal,” says Battista. That assures F&I managers that only the latest versions are being retrieved and included in the electronic deal jacket.

Once an electronic deal jacket is assembled, the customer reviews each form, and signs it using an electronic signature pad. That streamlined approach can take as few as 30 minutes, enhancing customer satisfaction, says Battista.

“Today's electronic processes should evolve into a completely paperless F&I office environment one day,” he says.

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