If a dealership averages a hefty $1,500 or so in F&I profit per vehicle sale, it might be hard to come in and boost that by $200 per sale in 90 days, acknowledges Jim McDavid, vice president of North America sales for JM&A Group.
But the company's F&I specialists will give it a shot as part of “the JM&A challenge” to dealerships signing up as customers.
Says McDavid, “If it's $1,000 per retail finance contract, we're saying we'll take it to $1,200. If it's $1,200 we'll take it to $1,400. If it's $1,500 we have to get real good to take it to $1,700. We're confident we can deliver the numbers with our menu selling, our work track and ongoing training.”
If they don't after three months, the Deerfield Beach, FL firm will make up the difference.
“There's no asterisk, no wiggle room, no trying to get out of it,” says McDavid. “If we don't increase F&I profits by $200 per vehicle, we'll write a check for the difference. But we're pretty confident. We want the opportunity to show we can increase the sale of F&I products because we're car people in the insurance business, not insurance people in the car business.”
It works this way: two or three JM&A F&I specialists (whose backgrounds must include at least five years in automotive retailing) go into a dealership and for the first week or so sell F&I products to customers.
“Dealership F&I managers will sit on the couch and watch us do presentations to customers, going through the entire process,” says McDavid. “We don't tell them what to do, we show them.”
Those demonstrations are done in conjunction with menu-selling training tracks and role playing exercises.
McDavid says, “The second week we switch up and watch them do the deals, then discuss what they did right and wrong and what they could do better. After two weeks, the JM&A district manager oversees maintenance, making sure the dealership F&I people stay up to speed.”
Areas of concentration are customer satisfaction, legal compliance and making money. “All three can co-exist if you do it the right way,” he says.
That centers on menu selling, a system that allows for quick, clear non-confrontational presentations of F&I products and prices.
Menu selling began about seven years ago as a way to improve F&I customer satisfaction ratings. About four years ago, menu selling was refined to ensure legal compliance.
About 175,000 JM&A products are sold monthly, says McDavid, a 16-year veteran of the company. His auto retailing career started in 1981 as a salesman for Toyota City in Birmingham, AL.
“Even if we only increase F&I profits by $150, a dealership most likely will stay with us,” he says. “We're looking for partnerships. Our focus is for the dealer to get his. If we do this month after month, we'll get our money. I want the dealer to get his first.”