Retail experts offer these best practices for an effective remote F&I experience.
Set an appointment: Inform customers when the F&I presentation will take place and for how long, advises Tony Dupaquier of The Academy. “If we just picked up the phone and called, it was all over the place. Setting up a designated firm appointment to complete out the transaction has helped tremendously.”
Prioritize compliance: Before allowing employees to handle remote transactions, train them properly, says Shannon Robertson, executive vice president of the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals. “Dealers are saying, I need to train my people that are handling these online transactions, but they don’t need to know everything a finance manager does. All they’re doing is disclosing contracts,” he said. “That’s not something we’ve heard of in the past.”
Train the sales team: Get sales on board with passing off a customer to an F&I manager virtually, advises Mike Roehrig, sales and finance manager at Sellers Auto Group. “They can take the iPad right over to the customer and say, ‘This is Judy,’ and introduce her that way,” he said.
Be available: In an accessible area, set up a screen showing the virtual employee. That allows sales employees to see when that person is available to answer questions, says Claire Slaughter, marketing director for Sellers.
Verify identity: Failing to confirm a customer’s identity in remote transactions opens the dealership to liability, says Terry O’Loughlin, director of compliance for Reynolds and Reynolds. Dealerships likely won’t get a free pass because of coronavirus constraints.
Set the pace: Develop a cadence with customers when presenting F&I products, Dupaquier says. Learning when to display the product menu and when to look customers in the eye will smooth the selling process. “When I’m talking to the customer, we no longer share the screen,” Dupaquier said.
Cameras on, if possible: “When we could see the customer, we could see their facial expressions, it helped with objection-handling,” Dupaquier advised.