April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 85 84 • RV PRo • April 2014 rv-pro.com able offerings that customers need for an optimal RV ownership experience. The beauty of F&I offerings is that they produce returning revenue streams at extremely low acquisition costs. In con- trast, while service bay revenue is extremely valuable, it is also fairly costly to generate. e cost of great mechanics and technicians is high. e bays themselves, along with all of the equipment, tools, parts, lifts, etc., also are extremely expensive. Meanwhile, F&I offerings typically have zero to almost zero costs, other than commissions paid to effective F&I profes- sionals. Additionally, a customer who pur- chases an extended service contract, road hazard protection or other F&I-related products will be coming back to the deal- ership when he or she has an issue with the RV. is, in turn, can drive increased service department revenues. In my experience, RV dealers can increase their average gross revenues per vehicle sale by anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per vehicle, simply by having a robust set of F&I products available for sale, and by being prepared to market and support them effectively. As these numbers illustrate, you can have a dramatic impact on your dealership's bottom line through improved F&I offerings. What Type of F&I Offerings Should a Dealer Consider? Of course, the range of F&I offerings that can deliver value, both to dealers and customers, is widely varied. ese include services and products that dealers can create and offer themselves, like pre-paid service such as oil changes, routine maintenance and winterization packages, as well as third- party services and products for which the dealer is simply facilitating the transaction. Products that dealers may wish to pro- cure from third-party providers range from extended service contracts to protect cus- tomers against the rising costs of repairs, roadside assistance coverage, guaranteed asset protection (GAP) and credit insurance, to paint and fabric protection, protection against tire and wheel damage, and protec- tion against dents or other road hazards. Such services and products appeal to buyers across the spectrum, from the infre- quent RV user to RV owners who live in their vehicles full time. Along the same lines, these services and products can ben- efit buyers from the low end to the high end. At the low end, the typical buyer wants to protect his or her investment, and to ensure that the unit retains its value and repair costs or other unan- ticipated expenses don't ruin the owner's enjoyment of the RV. At the high end, you're talking about a substantial invest- ment that the typical buyer will want to protect, often at just a marginal addi- tional cost. The F&I department also should con- sider pairing up with your dealership's parts and service departments, to make sure the F&I team knows what acces- sories are available to sell. Failing to do so can be a missed revenue opportunity, as the customer is looking to customize the vehicle to his or her particular needs. Where to Begin? Dealers who wish to add to their menu of F&I products and services – or who need to create one from scratch – have a number of resources they can turn to for assistance. Talk to other dealers. Other dealers can be your best resource for adding or enhancing your F&I department's offerings. When you're at trade shows and other industry gatherings, find out what's working well for them, and what isn't. Be sure to ask how they bundle and market their F&I offerings, as that's a critical part of being successful. An additional important ques- tion for those who are thriving is how they compensate their F&I manager. is can be crucial to the success of your offerings. Call your buying group. Seek guidance from peer dealerships in your buying group, par- ticularly those with similar characteristics to your dealership. Call your agent. Your rep for service con- tracts, if you have one, can also be an excel- lent resource. Contact third-party providers of F&I products and services. More companies are offering such products and services, and making them available for dealers to sell to customers. As with anything, these product providers should be evaluated carefully, and you should choose pro- viders with a demonstrated track record of responsiveness, financial stability and a deep familiarity with the industry and customers' needs. You also want third- party providers that will provide support to you as a dealer, through sales training for your staff, marketing materials for your showroom and continuing edu- cation on relevant regulations or other industry changes. Adopt an e-savvy approach to F&I product sales. Increasingly, these third-party products and product suites can even be bundled into the F&I module of your dealership management software, making it possible to review and select add-on options from those providers at the point " The F&i department also should consider pairing up with your dealership's parts and service departments, to make sure the F&i team knows what accessories are available to sell. " RVPApr.indd 84 3/20/14 9:22 AM

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