April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 85 of sale without having to exit your familiar desktop environment and visit the pro- vider's web-site. Advancements in deal- ership, lender and vendor software also are making the F&I process increasingly paperless, and these electronic advance- ments – such as growing use of e-menus – have increasingly earned the acceptance of consumers. Align your F&I team with the sales depart- ment. Many salespeople don't understand how F&I works, even though their dis- cussions with customers may yield valu- able insights or affect the customer's final F&I decisions. So it is important for the F&I manager to be involved in training and educating the sales team, which can ultimately help lay the groundwork for more successful marketing of the F&I department's protective products. Your compensation strategies should also reflect the importance of F&I product sales, and the important effect that sales managers can have on the F&I revenue stream. Don't forget that training is essential. e Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking more closely than ever at F&I products. In particular, the CFPB has accused some companies of minimizing the cost and exaggerating the coverage of extended service contracts and GAP. In light of this, smart dealers – along with lenders and F&I administrators – know that proper training is the best pro- tection against potential CFPB and other regulatory problems down the road. What's the Bottom Line? As savvy dealers are well aware, the bottom line is this: F&I product sales can dramatically impact their business's overall health. Still, accomplishing this requires com- mitting yourself as a dealer to sales of these products, making that commitment clear to all of your employees, and seeking the support you need – both from internal and external sources – to execute on your F&I vision. e good news is that many dealers are already doing this successfully. Isn't it time you did so, too? 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 Online RV-PRO.com Visit today for the latest news and information! AIR SUPPORT + PLUS RVPApr.indd 85 3/19/14 2:35 PM

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