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Management Guru Peter Drucker once said “Tell me what you value and I might believe you…. but show me your calendar and your bank statement, and I’ll show you what you really care about.” So, what is it that you care about? What matters to you? How are you currently supporting your team? Let’s look at how your F&I department can help you impact the things that truly matter to you.  

There are four common things we hear from dealers around the nation:


1. “I’m making enough money in financing already.”

2. “I have been doing the same thing for many years, and I am happy with the results that I am currently getting.”  

3. “I don’t want to sacrifice sales to make a little more money on F&I.”

4. “I care too much about my customer to make more money on financing.” 

We understand these things extremely well. Sometimes, you’re just happy to get a boat or RV sold and give the customer a great buying experience. However, these beliefs can have ripple effects throughout your dealership. 

We can look at the first two ideas mentioned earlier together. “I am making enough money on financing and I have been doing it the same way for many years and I am happy.” These thought processes make some sense. For some reason dealers can sometimes separate the finance department profit in their minds from other areas of their business. Maybe the reason this happens, at least for first generation family owned dealerships, is because they enter into financing gradually and learn over the years slowly. In the beginning, they are just so happy to make an extra buck on a sale that we file “F&I Profit” in some place of their mind that’s labeled “Be Grateful Don’t Touch.” And, it sits there collecting dust while they focus on the million other things they need to do to keep their dealership running smoothly and not basically catch fire.

1. “I’m making enough money in financing already.

2. I have been doing the same thing for many years, and I am happy with the results that I am currently getting.”

3. “I don’t want to sacrifice sales to make a little more money on F&I.

4. “I care too much about my customer to make more money on financing.” 

But, here’s what you can forget sometimes, though. If you take a little time to open that box it allows you to help every other part and every other person at your dealership.  When our dealers started focusing on their F&I profits, it allowed them to do more things for the rest of their teams. It might allow them to buy a new tractor to move boats around the lot, or purchase new tools that my service department desperately needed, or buy new computers to take the stress off of my office team. It can give you visual proof that you’re making your dealership and your team members’ lives better.

So the next time you have that unexpected big expense that seems to jump out and hit you between the eyes, which happens at every dealership… think about how a little extra profit might go a long way into improving the lives of those around you. 


Now let’s look at the next idea.I don’t want to sacrifice sales to make a little more money on F&I.” Ok so first and foremost, if you are losing sales to make more money on F&I WHOEVER IS DOING IT, IS DOING IT WRONG! As long as it is an issue he or she has control over, there is no world in which it is ok for an F&I manager to lose a sale over backend, rate, records, terms, you name it. Yes, you might have tough negotiations in which a good F&I manager can stand his or her ground and keep the dealership profitable. But you should never lose the sale or upset a customer in such a way that questions your authenticity and commitment to the customer experience. 

It’s crucial to have F&I managers who don’t understand that they are PART of the sales process, and not THE sales process. So if you are losing sales, losing customer trust, or finance is negatively affecting sales itself, this is most likely a personnel problem and not a finance problem. If CSI drops, you have to make changes. F&I managers are there to get units sold and keep customers happy. It just so happens that one of their job functions is to maximize finance profit as well.


But moving on, let’s look at the last idea. “I care too much about my customer to make more money on financing.” In some instances, when we speak to dealers there is almost a tone of morality in this sentence. That being customer focused is at odds somehow with making money from financing. Looking back at what we already spoke about you should be able to see how the extra profit can help your team. But let’s not forget what effects it can have on your customer experience. 

The amazing waiting lounges at car dealerships today, the unique customer driven Apple stores, and Sephora’s hands on beauty product demos were all only made possible by focusing on profit and growth. Profit does not have to be at odds with the customer if it is funneled back into making the customer experience better for him or her. This isn’t to say we all have to have the goal of building million dollar showrooms or national brands. What we are saying is that the extra profit you earn on deals, used in the right way, can still align with your goals of being the ultimate customer advocate. You can use the money to make the overall buying experience more enjoyable for future customers to come.

Contact us if you would like to discuss this further. One of our Recreational Finance Experts can go over your dealership’s goals to make sure that they are aligned throughout the entire sales process and to double check and see if your F&I numbers can help improve any areas you are lacking at your dealership.

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