F&I products are becoming an increasingly important part of the revenue stream for dealerships. It’s a fiercely competitive market, and with companies like Kelly Blue Book and TruCar telling consumers the rock-bottom price they should negotiate for, margins on vehicles are being squeezed more than ever. At the same time, compliance issues make it increasingly difficult to mark up interest rates, further limiting profit margins for many dealerships. For the big dealer groups as well as the smaller operations, F&I product sales have become the best place to augment those numbers.
Education, Not Sales, for Online F&I
It’s hard to get away from the debate about online F&I these days. There are some very good arguments on both sides of the aisle, but I don’t think we can afford to just ignore it anymore. The fact is, people like to shop online. They are researching the cars they plan to buy down to the trim level and accessories before they ever set foot on a dealer’s lot, and F&I can’t really afford to continue to be the lone holdout.
Paper or Plastic? The Evolution of F&I Presentations
The F&I office is evolving. When our industry first started out, every customer was walked through a paper sheet that detailed each product and its benefits. Over time, as the computer became more mainstream, the paper menu was moved to the screen, although many F&I managers continued — and still do today — to print out the results to present. Now, technology has evolved again, with the screens getting smaller and more portable.