How To Hit Your F&I Numbers
How can we hit our F&I numbers? It seems that is the question that is asked of us at the end of every month. If that was not enough to spoil your day, we have to deal with compliance, keeping the customer happy, reviewing all the paperwork, and ensure the deal is closed. We also have to bump the customer to make money and do it in 30 minutes or less.
While it seems like an impossible task (at this point you should be hearing the theme song of ‘Mission Impossible’ running in your head), it is what we do. The F&I Manager is the top closer in the dealership and we are the problem solver/trouble shooter that everyone depends on to get the car over the curb. I am sure you know the F&I position is not for the timid or faint of heart! We have no room to make mistakes or to take the position for granted. We must be a student of the industry, know the trends and be able to predict what will take place in our part of the world over the next quarter.
I remember when the F&I position was very much like that of the CEO position. The F&I Manager held all of the other management positions before they enter the F&I office (remember the F&I department is a standalone profit center for the dealership) It was the F&I Manager that knew all the current programs as well as the mover and shakers in the local banking community. The F&I Manager was the “go to person” in the dealership.
So with all of this, why is it we cannot forecast numbers? It might be that the numbers we forecast were really just a shot in the dark, maybe we tossed out a series of numbers and objectives based on our ego. But whatever the reason we have when posting a forecast, if we did not use all the tools we have currently to seriously research what our store has done in the past, review the current talent level we have on the showroom floor, or know our own ability; we will never hit our numbers!!
If you are like me, I do not relish having to review reports or reams of data just to post a forecast. Yet to properly forecast and surpass our objectives we do need to review data from several sources. Below I am providing a very common series of best practices I have seen work in several automotive groups around this world to hit and surpass base lines and objectives. While I cannot promise you success, I can say that if you follow the below practices; you will start to hit the numbers you want. Hey, I will go so far to say that if you care to dig deeper in the subject of forecasting or hitting your numbers…send me a message and we can work on this together.
Take a moment and review a few steps you might want to take to hit your F&I numbers:
• Before you forecast what your PVR, your penetration numbers, and you’re total F&I revenue will be, pull your last 3 MTD reports. Review last year’s numbers, and honestly review your product knowledge on all the current finance programs and products that your company offers.
• Install a 100% T.O. process from the showroom floor with every single deal at the point of sale. Make this a deal breaker with your desk (if they cannot do this, the F&I department cannot be responsible for hitting forecast…okay I know we cannot do that, but I hope you get the passion behind this best practice).
• Measure and track every step of your process. Use the tools you already have in place to review your MTD numbers, your daily trends. Take the additional step and present a daily report of efforts to your management team (that should place a fire under your back side to hit your target).
• Get out of the office and start walking the showroom floor, hang out at the sales desk, be on the move so you are on-deck! You need to know what is happening to every working deal (that goes for the virtual deals as well) so you can keep control.
• Practice you presentation to the point that you know in your heart you can handle any objection that comes your way. Ask your management team to role play with you as you fine tune your presentation.
• Hold a “Save A Deal” meeting at least every other day with your management team (If you do not know what a Save A Deal meeting is, you really need to reach out to me).
• Pull a weekly report showing your PVR and penetration numbers. Meet with your staff to review what you are doing well and what your department needs to work on to stay on track.
If you just to do these few things, you will witness an increase in your overall numbers, your revenue, and who knows you might even surpass your forecast numbers. What I do know, if you do not do these things; you will never be able to successfully forecast a month let alone a quarter or a year.
Now go out and make it a great day!! – RW