Finance & Insurance (F&I) departments have always been the power behind dealerships' profitability. F&I professionals don't just help customers access financing, they sell add-ons that keep dealerships afloat even during the toughest times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Automobile Dealers Association's latest NADA Data report finds U.S. dealers continue to rely on their finance departments to drive dealership revenue and profitability.
The time and money dealerships spend on automotive F&I training is a direct investment into the company's success. It's up to HR leaders to communicate the importance of this training to business owners in order to improve the dealership's profitability.
Let's take a closer look at F&I training and its substantial benefits.
What Is the F&I Department?
While seemingly secondary to car sales, a strong F&I department is the backbone of any dealership. F&I professionals help customers:
- Obtain financing.
- Review their repayment, risk management, and vehicle protection options.
- Buy necessary add-ons like auto service contracts, credit insurance, GAP (guaranteed asset protection) insurance, and extended warranty.
Their goal is to improve the customer's buying experience while making the sale profitable for the dealership.
The F&I department is actively involved in arranging financing. With about 80% of car buyers obtaining financing through dealerships, F&I specialists must know how to help customers select appropriate financing options.
They help complete and review credit applications before submitting them to lenders, thus maximizing the customer's chances of being approved. Before filling out the application, F&I experts review the customer's credit report and help them gain a clear understanding of financing options.
Accordingly, a trained F&I expert must know how to read credit reports and understand loan structures.
When the customer is finalizing the sale, F&I experts have an opportunity to sell additional products. Doing this in an unobtrusive and helpful manner requires a certain set of skills.
A trained F&I expert shouldn't just have a full understanding of all additional options offered by the dealership but have experience in sales as well.
F&I managers handle a big volume of paperwork needed to finalize the sale. Knowing all types of documents involved in the sales process helps improve customer experience and speeds up the deal.
While filling out the paperwork, F&I experts answer all questions customers have about the sale and make sure they are fully aware of all details.
Accordingly, the F&I department should consist of multi-faceted experts, who can maximize the size of the deal while keeping customers happy. To achieve this, your F&I team requires initial and ongoing training.
What Is Automotive F&I Training?
Automotive F&I training is designed to provide F&I specialists the necessary skills to support the dealership. High-quality F&I training can help the dealership generate higher profits and improve its reputation.
The training can include such aspects as:
- Working with financing software
- Studying retail leasing information
- Working with retail calculators
- Drafting lease agreements
- Learning how to finalize vehicle sales transactions
- Mastering dealership operating systems
- Learning about available finance lenders
- Structuring finance deals
- Learning about internet finance
- Studying laws, rules, and regulations related to financing and additional products
- Understanding prime and non-prime lending
- Reviewing loan structures
- Learning about optional add-on products
While learning new approaches to financing, insurance, and add-ons, F&I experts go through real practice to help them cement the received knowledge.
Since the world of financing and car sales is volatile, it's imperative to arrange training regularly. Keeping F&I experts on top of their game can help you boost the dealership's profitability and reduce employee turnover.
Many customers are dissatisfied with their experience with F&I departments. That's why it's imperative for F&I experts to focus on customer satisfaction. This aspect should also be a part of the F&I training.
Why Does F&I Training Matter For Dealerships?
Proper F&I training has many benefits. Without it, the F&I department could hinder the dealership's profitability instead of improving it. While your competition is training its F&I experts, it's imperative to do the same or lose precious market share.
Unlock Lost Profits
Add-ons sold by the F&I department can make up a large percentage of the dealership's profits. Unfortunately, only a few employees have an in-depth understanding of all products offered by the dealership.
F&I training can help your team get to know all products they are selling to the customers, thus making the process faster and easier. Your F&I team can't maximize sales unless they have a full understanding of what they are offering.
Additionally, F&I training delivers information about F&I compliance in order to avoid problems with complex laws and regulations. Otherwise, profits could be offset by substantial fines.
Improved F&I Product Base
When your F&I department is properly trained, you can improve and expand upon your F&I product base. Taking the right approach to financing, add-ons, and insurance can help your F&I experts find new ways to capitalize on the F&I product base.
Higher Customer Satisfaction
By training your F&I department to handle the sales process, you are improving customer satisfaction and retention rates. Educated professionals find effective touchpoints with customers, helping them enjoy the experience in your dealership.
Trained F&I specialists understand that selling F&I products isn't just about improving profitability. It's about satisfying customers and turning them into brand ambassadors.
Lower Employee Churn
Working in an F&I department can be stressful and complicated. Employees that don't feel satisfied with their achievements are likely to leave. The time and money you invest in searching for and onboarding F&I team members can be substantial. Losing each one takes a toll on the dealership.
F&I training can help boost employee satisfaction rates. In fact, 94% of employees agree to stay longer when properly trained.
Paving the Road to Success with Top-Notch F&I Training
With the F&I department being the major driving force behind the dealership's profitability, it's imperative to keep it in top shape. High-quality F&I training can help your dealership unlock its full potential, survive through tough times, and stay ahead of the competition.
Payroll Network's Dealer People Cloud can help boost employee satisfaction, improve engagement, optimize efficiency, and eliminate manual paperwork nightmares through a consolidated HR and payroll platform. We offer access to a personalized training department through Auto Dealer University, a comprehensive training program for F&I experts of all levels.
For more information, please contact us at any convenient time.